Lazy Chicken Biryani!

This is my sister-in-law’s recipe and is my go-to recipe for a quick and satisfying meal. This is not the traditional “dum” way of making biryani with meat but it is simple to make and fast too. An authentic biryani takes hours to make but is worth the effort.  Meat is marinated in spices and is cooked in a heavy bottomed pan with half-cooked rice layered on top of the meat.  The whole pan is sealed so steam won’t escape – the meat thus gets cooked both from the heat on the bottom of the pan and the steam on top.  It is very flavorful and as I said is worth the time and effort but for the days that you do not have time but crave biryani this lazy recipe should do the trick.  Serve it with raita (yogurt sauce) and dinner is ready in under an hour.



For the biryani:

  • Onion – 1 big sliced
  • Mint leaves – 2 cups loosely packed (optional)
  • Methi leaves – 1 cup loosely packed (optional)
  • Frozen peas – 1/2 cup thawed
  • Ginger garlic paste – 4 asps
  • Whole chicken – 1 cut up in big pieces
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chili powder – 2 tsps
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – a few sprigs
  • Cashews – broken about 4 tbsp
  • Oil – around 4 tbsp
  • Butter – 1tbsp
  • Basmati rice – 4 cups
  • Whole spices:
    • Bay leaves – 2
    • Cinnamon stick – a 3 inch piece
    • Star Anise – 2
    • Cloves – 6 to 8
    • Whole cardamom – around 5

For the raita:

  • Yogurt – 2 cups
  • Red onion – 1 diced small
  • Green chillies – 1 or 2
  • Carrot – peeled and grated*
  • Cumin powder – a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • A few grinds of black pepper



  1. Wash rice and add it to a rice cooker that is big enough to cook up to 8 cups of rice.  Add 6 cups of water to the rice**
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil and butter in a wide pan.  Add bay leaves and the rest of the whole spices.  Cook until the spices are aromatic and add cashews; cook until cashews brown and add the spices and oil to the soaked rice and mix well.
  3. Add the rest of the oil to the same pan and when the oil is hot add the sliced onions. Cook until the onions are browned and add ginger-garlic paste.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a minute; add frozen peas and cook for a minute or two; add both mint and methi leaves and saute until the leaves wilt
  4. Add washed chicken, turmeric powder, salt, chilli powder and coriander powder.  Increase the heat and cook chicken, while stirring, so it is browned on the outside around 5-7 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the chicken cook for another 10 minutes.  Add garam masala and coriander leaves; cook for a couple more minutes on high heat
  6. Add the cooked chicken (there should not be a lot of water in the chicken) to the soaked rice and mix well.  Add a cup of water to the pan, scrape up the browned bits and add to the rice
  7. Mix really well, adjust the salt and turn the rice cooker on
  8. While the rice cooks keep stirring it often so the meat doesn’t settle on top.  You can also add juice of one lime if you wish
  9. When the rice is done you may have to mix it again just so the meat is not all lumped together at the top.
  10. Serve it piping hot with raita and lime wedges!

** Not all rice are created equal 🙂 Some may require more water and some less.  Please adjust water according to your rice.  Usually basmati rice needs about 1 1/2 cup of water to 1 cup of rice.


  1. Mix finely chopped onions, slit green chillies, grated carrot, salt, black pepper and cumin powder in a bowl.  Let it rest for a couple minutes while you beat 2 cups of yogurt till it is creamy.  You can add a few tbsp of water to make it smooth
  2. Add yogurt to the onions and carrot and adjust salt
  3. Garnish it with coriander leaves or mint leaves and serve

*Cucumber can be used instead of carrot.  Make sure to deseed the cucumber.  Grate it or dice it thin and add it in place of carrot.  Raita can be made plain without carrot or cucumber but I feel good about adding carrots/cucumber … get some veggies in!




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