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Arabic style chicken biryani

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  • 1 chicken with skin, cut into 8 pieces
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 2 dry lime
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 0.25 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 250ml plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 0.25 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 0.75 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the decoration (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 handful cashew nuts
  • 1 handful almonds
  • 1 handful raisins
  • Cooking Time
    25 mins
  • Serving
    Serves 7
  • Skill Level


I absolutely love biryani, who doesn't? I have made boneless chicken biryani, chicken biryani and mutton biryani before, all are delicious recipes to try. If you want something that has the biryani theme to it, but without the spice, with depth of flavour and is straightforward to make, then this arabic style chicken biryani is perfect for you!
  1. In a large pot, add your chicken, the hot water, dry lime, chicken stock cubes, cinnamon stick, cardamoms and bay leaves over medium heat. Cover, and let it simmer away for 30 mins. 
  2. In the meantime, wash your rice a few times until the water is clear, then soak with water and set aside
  3. In a bowl, add the saffron threads and grind a little. Add the boiling water over the saffron, cover and set aside
  4. Once the chicken is done, remove from the broth and set aside. Drain the rice and add to this broth and let is cook over medium/low heat for 6 mins (you only want it 3/4 cooked). Then drain the rice and set aside
  5. In a separate pot, which you will be cooking your biryani, heat the ghee over medium heat. Once hot add the onions, cook for around 5 mins or under golden in colour. Add the chicken and allow it to gain some colour
  6. In a bowl, mix the minced garlic, yoghurt, salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cinnamon. Add that over the chicken and mix well, reduce the heat to low
  7. Add half the rice over the chicken, top it with half the saffron water. Add the remaining rice and then top with the remaining saffron water. Cover with foil, then with the lid, and put it on the lowest heat for 25 mins. Once cooked, turn off the heat and leave it for 5 mins
  8. Whilst you leave the rice to stand, in a small pan heat the oil over medium heat, fry the cashew nuts turning them constantly, until they become golden. Remove onto kitchen paper. Repeat for the almonds and raisins. 
  9. Place the rice and chicken onto the serving dish, and top with the nuts and raisins

Serve with salad, plain yoghurt, or on its own! It is very yummy, and an easier take on the desi style biryani. This is also good for those who prefer less spice. I hope you give this a go and enjoy! :) 


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