Traditional Chicken Biryani

rice dish

Indian food is known for its appetizing aroma as well as its vibrant colors. One good example is Chicken Biryani, which is a very savory rice dish loaded with caramelized onions, a bit spicy chicken, and flavorful rice. It contains everything that is good about Indian food, and it’s a perfect lunch meal. You can make it the night before or early in the morning, pack it, and just reheat it before you eat it later.

A Brief History of Chicken Biryani

Although Chicken Biryani is on top of the list when it comes to Indian food, this dish actually came from Persia. In fact, the term ‘Biryani’ is derived from ‘Birian’, a Persian word, which means ‘fried before cooking’ as well as the term ‘Bririnj’, which refers to rice.

There are many theories associated with the origin of Biryani and its types. Many believe, though, that it really came from Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals. It was basically created to provide the Mughal soldiers then with a balanced diet.

rice dish

Back in the day, Biryani used to be cooked in earthen pots over charcoal. But now, you can easily make it on your stove and oven using your favorite pot.

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rice dish

Traditional Chicken Biryani

  • Author: Myles
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Traditional Chicken Biryani is made with chicken, rice, herbs, and other spices…The result is a delicious meal loaded with flavors.



2 cups basmati rice

1 1/2 pounds chicken legs

1 ginger (minced)

1 red chili (sliced thinly)

5 yellow onions (sliced thinly)

2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cup raisins

1 bay leaf

1 1 /2 teaspoons ground turmeric

3 tablespoons oil

salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse rice and boil a large pot of water seasoned with salt. Add rice and cook for about 8 minutes, then drain.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add more oil to the skillet (about 2 tablespoons), reduce the heat, and cook the onions until golden as well. Set aside half of the onions.
  5. Put the heat back to medium and add ginger, garam masala, chili, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes or until the fragrance is released.
  6. Add yogurt, water, turmeric, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil before adding raisins. Put the cooked chicken back, too. Simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes to allow the chicken to cook through.
  7. Put half of the rice in a baking dish along with half of the chicken mixture and half of the reserved onions. Do the same with the other half.
  8. Cover and bake for half an hour.


Serve it with sliced almonds, parsley, or sliced lemon and fresh onions.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Cuisine: Indian

For this recipe, you can substitute the chicken legs with thighs or breasts. But for me, legs are the best! 🙂

chicken biryani

Closing Thoughts

Making Chicken Biryani is easier than you think. Spending less than two hours is definitely worth it. You’ll have a sumptuous meal for lunch and even dinner if there is any leftover. It is also excellent to serve during special occasions. It sure is a winner!

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