For a rich and delicious taste of India try Reza Mahammad's flavourful biriyani, a classic Indian rice dish
By Reza Mahammad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus overnight marinating
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 chicken, jointed
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted

For the marinade:

  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 onions, ried
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 5 green chillies, chopped

For the rice:

  • 600 g basmati rice
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 handfuls fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 large onions, hopped and fried
  • 2 handfuls of melon seeds, roasted
  • 2 tsp ground saffron
  • 4 tsp rose water


1. First make the marinade. Mix together the garam masala, garlic paste, ginger paste and salt.

2. Cut slashes in the chicken portions, to help the marinade penetrate. Coat the chicken with the garam masala paste.

3. Mix together the fried onion, chillies, water and yoghurt. Coat the chicken with the yoghurt mixture.

4. Cover the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Heat the melted ghee in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the chicken pieces (reserving 3 tablespoons of the marinade) and fry for 20 minutes, browning on all sides.

6. Meanwhile, to prepare the rice, wash the basmati in hot water and rinse it 6 times in cold water. Set it aside to soak in salted water for 20 minutes.

7. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the drained, soaked rice, 1 tablespoon of ghee, cumin seeds, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, a large pinch of salt and the coriander. Cook briskly for 20 minutes; drain thoroughly.

8. Mix the egg yolks into the rice mixture.

9. Place half of the rice mixture in the base of a casserole dish and pat smooth.

10. Layer over one fried onion, a handful of chopped coriander and a handful of melon seeds. Sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of saffron and 2 teaspoons of rose water.

11. Place the fried chicken on the rice in the casserole.

12. Top the chicken with the remaining rice and pat smooth. Layer over the remaining fried onion, coriander and melon seeds. Sprinkle over the remaining saffron and rose water.

13. Sprinkle over the reserved marinade and drizzle the ghee around the edges of the casserole dish.

14. Cover the casserole with a damp cloth, then the casserole lid and cook over a very low heat for 40 minutes, until the rice and chicken are cooked through.

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