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Chicken biryani in a bowl with serving spoon from the front.
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4.94 from 15 votes

chicken biryani - indian restaurant style

Chicken biryani done restaurant style is fast enough to serve any day of the week.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting time10 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken biryani, restaurant style biryani
Servings: 4
Calories: 522kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The rice

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken stock - low or no sodium. Bouillon cubes are not chicken stock.
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 inch cinnamon bark also known as cassia
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Biryani spice mix

  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp kasoor methi also known as dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp kasmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder dried mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

The chicken

  • 5 tbsp neutral oil vegetable or canola
  • 1 cup shallots thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • the biryani spice mix
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste diluted with 4 tbsp water
  • 1 lb chicken thighs - boneless, skinless and cut into three or four pieces per thigh

The chicken biryani

  • the seasoned rice
  • the cooked chicken along with all the tasty sauce.
  • 1 tbsp fried shallot plus more to garnish
  • few strands saffron in a couple tablespoons of warm water
  • cilantro and fried shallots to garnish


  • Before you get started set your oven on to 350F.

Make the rice

  • Want perfect rice every time? Get a rice cooker. I don't like one trick kitchen appliances as a rule but I love my rice cooker. Something to think about...
  • If you have a rice cooker use it. Just combine the rice ingredients and proceed as you normally do. While the rice is cooking cook the chicken.
  • If you don't have a rice cooker this is an easy way to make basmati. You can pre-soak, rinse or whatever you want but this works pretty well as written. Blasphemy. I know. But it works. I did this for years until I got a rice cooker.
  • Pick a pan with a fairly tight fitting lid that's not way too big. Combine the water, chicken stock, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, salt and the rice in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat uncovered. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Set a timer. Seriously. While this is going on make the chicken (see below).
  • When the timer goes off after 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let stand an additional 5 minutes. Uncover. Remove the whole spices. They should be just sitting on top. Party trick. Fluff gently and replace the cover to keep the rice warm.

Make the chicken

  • Make the biryani spice mix. Just combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Dilute the tomato paste. Slice your shallots. Have everything at hand.
  • Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they start to brown. They will brown some more in the next couple steps.
  • Add the cumin seed. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste. Stir it into the oil and cook until it stops sputtering. Watch it. Don't let it burn.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the spice mix. Stir to thoroughly combine the oil in the pan with the spices. Cook for about 30 seconds. Really watch it. There should be enough oil in the pan. If the spices start to stick turn down the heat and add a bit more oil.
  • Add the diluted tomato paste, stir and turn the heat up to medium. Cook about a minute.
  • Add the chicken and cook, stirring regularly until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 150F. You want it mostly cooked. This It will finish cooking in the biryani.

Assemble the biryani

  • Use a pot that's about 9-10 inches in diameter. Make sure it has a pretty tight fitting lid.
  • Put a little more than half the rice in the pot and spread it out in an even layer. Top with the chicken. Add the rest of the rice. Top with the fried onions.
  • If you are using it, dissolve the saffron in a little water. Drizzle this over the top layer of rice.
  • Cover the pot with tinfoil and then the lid. The tinfoil adds a little extra seal. It's not quite as good as the dough seal in a traditional biryani but it will work well enough.
  • Transfer the biryani to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • After the biryani has baked for 15 minutes remove it from the oven and place it on the stove. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • To serve transfer the contents to a platter. It will get a bit messy. That's OK. The mix will look good, especially once you garnish it. It should look just like the pictures because that's exactly what I did.
  • Garnish with more fried shallots and a bit of cilantro. Dig in and enjoy!


Fried shallots
You can buy fried onions if you want to make this easier. But I think they are a big step down. It's not that hard to make them.
Slice the shallots thinly. That's key. After that it's just a matter of heating up a half cup of oil in a frying pan. When the oil starts to shimmer add a handful of shallots.
Don't add too much at once. They will bubble up. Pretty sure you don't want a big grease fire so take you time. 
They will start to colour up after couple minutes. When they are a little lighter than you want them transfer them carefully to a plate with a paper towel on them. Use a slotted spoon for this. They will continue to darken a bit out of the oil.
Repeat until all your shallots are cooked. Fried shallots keep for a week or two in a tupperware so if you are making anything that could benefit from a few fried shallots make extra. Lots of things are better with fried shallots. Curries. Spicy Asian soups. Any time you want onion flavour and a bit of crunch.
Really fast restaurant style chicken biryani
This recipe is more about depth of flavour than speed. If you really want to make this dish as fast as a restaurant would, pre-cook your chicken. Have the rice made ahead of time. Follow the cook your chicken step as described. When you add the chicken you won't have to cook it (it's pre-cooked after all) but rather just warm it through.
Toss the pre-made cold rice in a frying pan with a little ghee until warm. Build your biryani as described but bake it  for about 10 minutes. Skip the resting period or cut it down to 5 minutes. It's not as quite as good done this way. Not how I would do it given the choice.  But fast. Like a restaurant.


Calories: 522kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 1001mg | Potassium: 364mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 226IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg