Biryani, biriani, or beriani is a range of primarily South Asian rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat or vegetables. It was spread throughout the Middle East and South Asia (and Southeast Asia to an extent) by Muslim travellers and merchants, and is popular in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) which means "fried" or "roasted".

This recipe comes from a hand-typed sheet, covered in curry stains, that has been with me since my first Indian cookery course. It's a bit of an involved recipe but well worth the effort. It is best to marinate the meat overnight so prepare this the day before.

Chicken biriani
Servings:Serves 6
Calories per serving:241
Ready in:13 hours
Prep. time:12 hours 20 minutes
Cook time:40 minutes
Recipe author:Chef
First published:3rd December 2012

Best recipe review

Better than any restaurant version


This is the real-deal. And you know it's going to taste so good.

Paul R Smith

This recipe needs advance preparation!


Printable πŸ–¨ shopping πŸ›’ list & πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ method for this recipe

Mise en place


  1. Fry the onions in half of the oil, until golden, then remove half of the onions with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Brown the remainder of the onions, stir in the meat and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on a low heat until the meat is cooked and tender. Add more liquid if needed, but by the time the meat is cooked, most of the liquid should have cooked off.
  3. Add half of the chopped coriander or parsley, season with salt and set aside.
  4. In a large pan of boiling water, cook the washed rice for 10 minutes only. Drain and reserve. The final cooking will be done in the oven.
  5. Grease the base of a large oven-proof casserole with a little ghee.
  6. Using the cooked rice, chicken, coriander, cooked onions, saffron and dabs of ghee, fill the casserole in layers.
  7. Top with raisins or sultanas and sliced almonds, add a few dabs of ghee and cover with tin-foil
  8. Cook for 17 minutes

Serving suggestions

Serve with a lentil curry or salad of your choice.

Chef's notes

Use parsley if you cannot get coriander

See also

Peeling ginger

There is no need to peel ginger. As a result of attending a Thai cookery demo, we have learnt that peeling ginger is unnecessary unless for aesthetic purposes as the skin is high in fibre and full of flavour. However, do remove any bits that have become tough or woody.

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