Chicken Biryani


Biryani is a main course which is very popular and appreciated by all Mauritians.

This is just a basic guideline.  You can experiment using this recipe as a guideline.  For example, add vegies like bean, carrots, peas or sultanas…..use your imagination :)

  • Prep Time:
    60 min
  • Cook Time:
    60 min
  • Ready Time:
    2 hour, 0 min


4 servings


  • 500 grams Chicken breast
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt About 220Gms
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic

For fried Onions

  • 10 Onions thinly sliced

Other important spices

  • 2 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 Cardamoms green
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
  • 3 Green Chilies or Ground chili 1tsp
  • 1 bunch Coriander chopped
  • 500 grams Basmati rice
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons Ghee or oil
  • 3 Potatoes
  • A pinch Saffron Strands
  • 1/2 Nutmeg preferbly grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cumin seeds black

First before you start doing anyting; what you should do is to soak a pinch of the saffron into hot water.  You will need this when putting everything together.

Getting the Chicken ready. For best result, marinate the chicken overnight.

  1. Heat up the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Deep fry onions until brown or dark brown in color.  Transfer onions on paper towel;  keep aside. They will get crispy as they cool down.
  3. Using the same frying pan, heat up extra 3 tablespoons of oil.
  4. Add chili, cumin, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cloves, crushed ginger and garlic, curry leaves and cook for another 2 minutes or until you start getting the nice spices smell.
  5. In a bowl, mix chicken with the cook spices.
  6. Also add yogurt,  chopped mint and coriander, Anise star, grated Nutmeg and leave to marinate, in the fridge, overnight if possible or at least 30 mins.  Ohh don’t forget the salt. Taste the sauce to check the amount of salt.  Add as per your requirements.

The trick here is putting it all together.  I suggest you start cooking the rice and while waiting for the rice (which most likely will take roughly 15 mins), int hat free time, start getting you deep pan ready.  Yu can cook your biryani in two layers, which I’ve found the easiest way to do.

Remember, very important, your first layer of rice (which is at the bottom of your deep pan), should be the almost half cook.  The rice on the top should be just above half cook.

Parboil the rice

  1. Wash the rice until the water is clear.
  2. Cook the rice, in salted water and cinnamon stick, for about 10 mins or almost half cook.
  3. This is optional: – you can also add a pinch of saffron in the boiling water.

Putting everything together.

Some people like to fry the chicken or the potatoes, just to seal it from outside, it’s all up to you.  Now that you have the rice ready, onions nicely fried, chicken ready, let’s proceed into making the biryani.

  1. Peel the potatoes and slice into half.
  2. Salt and deep fry the potatoes, just to seal it outside.
  3. You can do the same for the chicken.

Layering the biryani.

Layering the biryani, is a very important part of cooking the biryani.

  • Grease the bottom of a deep pan with some melted ghee.  Make sure the pan has a cover and has a heavy bottom to avoid burning the chicken.  If you can get a non stick one, that would be good.
    • Your first layer would be your chicken.
    • Add some of the fried onions on top.
    • Add all the potatoes or some of it (sultanas if you are using any).
    • A layer of your just under half cook rice
    • Another layer of patatoes if you want
    • All you vegies, sultanas if any
    • A thin layer of the fried onions.
    • And you just over half cook remaining rice.
  • Pour the saffron water on top and any leftover fried onions.
  • Voila!! you are almost done.
  • On a high flame, start cooking the biryani.
  • As soon as you can see water vapor coming out of the pan, close and seal the lid, lower down the heat.
  • Cook for one hour or until the rice at the bottom of the pan is nicely cook on a very low heat.

Enjoy!  My mouth is watering already :) Ohh when it’s all cooked, it doesn’t hurt to at the chopped coriander on top of the rice.

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