Biriani – Biryani

Biryani (4)

Biryani just like Pilau is a rice-based dish known for its unique aroma and flavor. It is basically cooked with spiced chicken, mutton, beef, fish, eggs or vegetable. This exotic dish is among the specialties along the Kenyan Coast.

Below is a chicken Biryani recipe, enjoy!

Ingredients for Chicken Biryani Sauce

8-10 skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into large pieces
5 potatoes, peeled, washed and quartered
2 hard boiled eggs
½ cup of vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime
180 ml natural yogurt
2 tablespoons grated raw papaya (optional)
4 medium onions, diced
4 fresh tomatoes, sliced or blended
1 Can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
4 tablespoons of biryani mixed ground spices
1 tablespoon fresh ginger paste
1 tablespoon fresh garlic paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste and fresh ground pepper
1 cup of chicken broth or hot water


In a mixing bowl, add yogurt, half of the lime juice and grated papaya, half ginger paste, garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken and marinate for 2 hours or overnight
In a preheated oven, roast the marinated chicken for 45 minutes. Set aside once it is done
In the meantime, heat oil in a wok or frying pan, deep fry potatoes till soft and crispy then set aside
In the same wok or pan, fry onions till soft and golden brown, set aside as well
On a medium heat, preheat a larger sauce pan, add some vegetable oil in it, pour sliced/blended fresh tomatoes and fry  till very soft. Add Can tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Little oil may be added to prevent the sauce from sticking on the pan
Add biryani mixed ground spices and the remaining spices, stir well to blend in spices with the tomato sauce
Add chicken, potatoes, fried onions and hot water or chicken broth. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes

Ingredients for the rice

1Kg Basmati rice
4 cups of hot water
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
A pinch of saffron or food color
2-3 bay leaves
Salt to taste

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Wash rice then soak for 30 minutes
Soak a pinch of saffron or food color in some water and set aside
Bring a big pot of water to boil, add salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and 2-3 bay leaves
Drain the soaked rice and add it into the boiling water. Partially cook rice until it is about 80% cooked. Strain any remaining water and set aside
In a large baking dish or aluminum foil, spread some oil and layer half of the rice. Sprinkle some saffron or food color and some oil on top
Repeat this process with the remaining rice not forgetting to sprinkle the remaining saffron or food color and oil on the top
Cover and steam cook the rice on low heat or put it in a preheated oven on 180°c for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with the Biryani sauce on top

Alternatively, rice and the biryani sauce can be cooked together on layers by first placing rice on a large baking dish, followed by saffron or food color, some oil and the biryani sauce. Repeat the layering till done and steam cook for 15 minutes. This process infuses the tasty biryani spices into the rise as it steams.

Enjoy ;-

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16 thoughts on “Biriani – Biryani

  1. Biryani is my favorite rice dish, nothing comes close. As it is time consuming to prepare, I often make pilau instead.

    I’m glad you suggested an ‘alternative’ way to cook biryani by layering it and baking it in the oven. This is the only way biryani should be prepared and served. When served separately it’s simply curry and rice.

    On another note, your blog is fantastic. Outstanding pics, really making me drool.

    1. admin

      Hello Ronnie B.
      I think there is a huge difference between curry+rice and Biryani. One cannot compare the two simply from the way either is served!
      The “alternative” way of preparing it is just to infuse the tasty spices into the rice as it steams.

  2. After marinating,do you use the spices used in marinating the chicken or you pour away those?

    1. admin

      Hello Gladwell,
      The best is to divide the marinating spices into two as mentioned above. Use one half to marinate the chicken and the other half for cooking.
      Happy Cooking.

    1. admin

      Hello Zuwena,
      The layering one is also one of my favs! I’ll do a recipe with it soon
      in the meantime, Happy Cooking..

  3. Hi Tina
    I’m Kaja from Switzerland, and like you I miss Kenya.
    I’m Swiss originally, but I have lived in Kenya for several months in the past and it’s become a second home to me.
    Now, I would like to cook Biryani for my flatmates and myself, but it’s only the three of us. How many people is this recipe for? As 8-10 chicken breasts sounds like a bit much for just three people 🙂
    Would love to hear from you!
    Love, Kaja

    1. admin

      Hi Kaja,
      This recipe is meant for 3-4 people.
      You can buy the smaller chicken breasts from coop or migros, the Biriani will be soo good that you’ll wish you even made more.
      I am in Zürich incase you need more help with the preparations just let me know.

      Happy cooking and enjoy.

      1. Hi Tina
        Thanks very much for your reply! I’m planning on cooking this dish tomorrow but I haven’t found out where I can get the biryani mixed ground spices from. Where do you usually buy them in Switzerland?
        Hope to hear from you soon! 🙂

        1. admin

          Hey Kaja
          Sorry for not getting back immediately, I get my spices in Indian shops. Check shops like Agrawal, its a chain of indian shops around Switzerland. They should have the spices.
          Happy Cooking.

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