Mom’s Chicken Biryani

Moms chicken Biryani |

Each time I’m missing my family I tend to want to make a more traditional dish. Besides the fact that these always have tons of nostalgic value, mom’s old recipes are always so delicious. My husband and son love them too. One such recipe, that we as a family are particularly fond of is a traditional South Indian style of the classic Indian Biryani!

Apart from being one of our favourites there are so many additional benefits to a great Biryani. The fact that the main ingredient is rice which is slow burning carb complex which means it makes a delicious and nutritious lunch for the family. You may be thinking that this could be a problem for those picky husbands that don’t like their meal re-heated, like mine. But rice is great for re-heating, which means you can cook a bigger batch over the weekend and refrigerate or freeze a few extra portions for the week. If you want you can check out this easy video on reheating rice at Generally speaking you should comfortably be able to store rice in your fridge for 3-5 days and in the freezer for even longer (depending on the dish).

So What Kind of Rice Should you Use?

Well, this is a tough question as each household will most likely have their own preferences based on taste, nutritional value and importantly availability. This can be a little trickier if you are in a country which imports all its rice such as Canada. Well luckily, in additional to the good selection you may have at your local supermarket; you may be surprised to know USA is a big producer of rice, which gives you a good selection of affordable rice brands. This is as locally sourced as you will find in Canada. 

Mom's Chicken Biryani


A. Biryani Meat

    1. Marinating the Chicken

    • 1 Kilo Chicken Pieces (thighs) 2 lb
    • 90 ml Brandy 1/3 cup
    • 375 ml Curd / Plain Yogurt 1 ½ cup

    2. Masala to Grind for Chicken

    • 50 gm Desiccated coconut ½ cup
    • 1 tsp Khas Khas / white poppy seeds
    • 1-2 Green Chilli
    • 2-3 Cloves
    • 2 inch Cinnamon Stick Cinnamon powder 1/2 tsp

    3. Preparing the Chicken

    • 2 tbsp Ghee
    • 3 tsp Ginger and Garlic Paste
    • 2 Green Chilli
    • 2 Bay leaves
    • 2 tsp Salt to taste
    • Marinated chicken 1. Marinating the Chicken
    • Ground Masala 2. Masala to Grind for Chicken

    B. Biryani Rice

    • 3 tbsp Ghee
    • 1 stick Cinnamon (2-3 inch)
    • 2 Star Anise
    • 2-3 pods Cardamom
    • 2 Bay leaves
    • 1 Onion
    • 400 gm Uncooked Basmati Rice 2 Cups
    • 1000 ml Water 4 Cups
    • 2-3 sprigs Mint leaves
    • 2-3 sprigs Coriander leaves
    • 1 tsp Turmeric
    • 1 tsp Salt

    C. Garnish

    • 2-3 tsp Ghee
    • 25 gm Raisins
    • 50 gm Cashew
    • 1/2 Onion
    • 1 Stick Cinnamon
    • 2-3 Star Anise
    • Mint and Coriander for extra garnish

    D. Sides

      1. Raita

      • 250 ml Curd / plain yogurt 1 cup
      • 1/2 Onion
      • 1/2 Green Chilli

      2. Pineapple Jam

      • 500 gm Pineapple 2 cups
      • 75 gm Sugar 3/4 cup


      A. Biryani Meat

        1. Marinating the Chicken

        1. Add the cleaned chicken, brandy and yogurt in a bowl. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

        2. Grinding the masala

        1. Add all grinding spices in a blender or a magic bullet and grind till it is a paste.

        3. Chicken for Biryani

        1. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add and heat the ghee and ginger garlic paste. Sauté for a couple of minutes. 

        2. Add the bay leaves and chilli and sauté for a minute.

        3. Cover and Cook the marinated chicken thighs in yogurt for about 15 minutes. Remove the cover and let it cook for another 10 minutes, so that the sauce thickens. (Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken piece) 

        4. Keep in mind that the chicken needs to be slightly undercooked before you add it to the rice. 

        5. Add salt to taste. There should be enough sauce with the yogurt to cook the meat

        6. Remove the pan from the heat and keep it aside until needed. 

        B. Biryani Rice

        1. Soak the uncooked basmati rice in water for 10-15 minutes before cooking. 

        2. In a separate pot. Add the ghee, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, bay leaf, star anise, chopped onion and tomato. 

        3. Let it all fry until the onions are translucent. Drain the water from the rice and add the rice into the pot. 

        4. Sauté the rice for a couple of minutes and add the water for cooking and turmeric. 

        5. Let the rice cook until almost cooked. (5-10 more minutes left for it be fully cooked)

        Assembling the Biryani

        1. In the pot with rice, add 90% of the cooked chicken. (Keep a few pieces in the pan)

        2. Add ½ cup of the yogurt sauce into the rice. Using a ladle mix the rice, meat and sauce thoroughly.

        3. Add the mint leaves, coriander and salt to taste. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes.

        Chicken Masala

        1. Finish cooking pieces of chicken in yogurt sauce that wasn’t added to the biryani rice

        c. Garnish

        1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a small sauce pan, add raisins and cashews and brown them. Remove from heat and set aside

        2. Heat 2 tbsps of ghee, add the onions and fry it until its brown. Add the cinnamon and star anise, sauté for a couple of minutes.

        D. Sides

          1. Raita

          1. Chop the onion and chilli into small pieces. Add it to the yogurt, mix well and serve with hot Biryani.

          2. Pineapple Jam

          1. Chop the pineapple into small pieces, add the sugar. Let it cook down for 20-25 minutes on medium low in small pan. Remove from heat once it starts to thicken

          Recipe Notes

          • Garnish the Biryani with ghee roasted cashews, raisins and spices. You can also garnish it with some chopped coriander and mint leaves.
          • Serve it with chicken masala, papadoms and hard boiled egg.
          • Serve raita and pineapple jam on the side.



          Moms Chicken Biryani |

          Happy Holidays 


          This post was done in collaboration with USA Rice Canada.



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