An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Chutney! If looking for a  vegetarian option, make this Vegetarian Chickpea Biryani! 

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. A Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com #chickenbiryani #indianrice #indianchicken

Let the beauty of what you love… be what you do. Rumi ~

I’d like to believe some of us who love to cook, purely for cooking itself. To whom the idea of spending an entire Sunday afternoon in the kitchen would be the perfect way to relax and unwind.

If so, this is a recipe for you – Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. This is the real deal – authentic and full of flavor. It’s not a quick and easy weeknight meal, and yes, it has a long list of ingredients, but I assure you, it’s worth your time and effort because in the end, it’s truly incredible!

It was shared with me by my friend Neicy who grew up in India, and it’s hands-down the best version I’ve ever had. If going meat-free, substitute chickpeas for the chicken for a tasty vegetarian alternative.

Recently, I spent a beautiful sunny afternoon in Neicy’s kitchen as she and her daughter Elie walked me through a series of Indian recipes, step by step.

chicken biryani

What I love about Neicy, besides her amazing spirituality and creativity, is that she’s just a joy to be around. You know how there are some people that radiate so much happiness and positive energy, it makes you feel better, just being near them? this is Neicy and she has the best energy ever- and here is her art. My house is filled with it!

Ingredients in Chicken Biryani

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

How to Make Chicken Biryani

In a large dutch oven, over medium-high heat, melt the ghee then add the whole spices — cinnamon sticks, smashed cardamom pods and a few whole cloves. Then add the diced onion.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

After the onion cooks down a bit, add the ground spices– cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Add a few green chilies, that are just split down the side.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Lower heat and continue cooking until the onions caramelize and are golden brown.

chicken biryani- Neicy-202

In the meantime, blend fresh cilantro, mint, ginger, garlic and yogurt.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

 

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Once the onions are golden, add the blended yogurt herb mixture to the pot.

Then add the fresh tomatoes.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Simmer over medium heat until the tomatoes start to break down and the oil separates about 15-20 minutes.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Then it’s time to add the chicken thighs. Use bone-in, skin-on for the most flavorful results, or boneless skinless works too. Chop into big pieces. Salt them. Don’t use chicken breast for this recipe, it will get dry.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Continue cooking the chicken until it is tender, about 15 minutes.

Then add the washed rice and salt.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Add the water, and then let simmer uncovered until most of the water has evaporated. Be patient.

Once it looks like this picture below, only then,  is it time to cover it and let it cook through.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. | www.feastingathome.com #chickenbiryani #indianrice #indianchicken

Add a few cashews and raisins.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. | www.feastingathome.com #chickenbiryani #indianrice #indianchicken

Dampen a kitchen towel or cloth, turn the stove off for just minute ( or remove from stove) and cover the dutch oven with the moist cloth.

chicken biryani- Neicy-236

Place the lid on top.

chicken biryani- Neicy-237

Then pull up the corners of the towel and place on top of the lid.

chicken biryani- Neicy-239

Then simmer on low, until the rice is cooked through, another 40 minutes to an hour.

Make the Cilantro Coconut Yogurt Chutney

While the Chicken Biryani is cooking …..make the flavorful Cilantro Coconut Yogurt Chuntey. This sauce is also called  Thenai Thair Pachadi, or Coconut Curd Salad, and I have to say, this recipe is exquisite.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

 

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

It’s full-flavored and may introduce you to a few new ingredients like curry leaves, brown mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and black dal.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Curry leaves are available at many Asian markets, but if you can’t find them, don’t let it stop you from making this.

So to start, add cilantro, coconut, ginger and chilies to the blender, and blend with just enough water to help the blades get going.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

cilantro yogurt sauce-203

Neicy recommends buying fresh shredded coconut that has been frozen, available at most Asian markets like here below.

But as an alternative, flaked, unsweetened coconut is OK, as well.

cilantro yogurt sauce-304

Then add yogurt and salt.
cilantro yogurt sauce-204 cilantro yogurt sauce-213

Blend it up and set aside in a serving bowl. Now, you could stop here, and it would be OK, but the finishing touch is what really elevates this — adding a “tempering oil” to the top.

In a small skillet, heat oil.

cilantro yogurt sauce-206

Then add black dal, brown mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and cumin seeds, and few fresh curry leaves.

cilantro yogurt sauce-209 cilantro yogurt sauce-214

Then pour this flavorful oil right over the yogurt sauce.

Cilantro yogurt sauce - and an authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Look how pretty this sauce is!

Together with the Chicken Biryani, it’s mouth-wateringly good.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Vegetarian option included as well as detailed step by step instructions. | www.feastingathome.com

Here are some of the other dishes we made that day that will have to wait for another post.

Indian Eggplant Recipe

Melting and delicious slow-braised eggplant, called Ennai Kathirikai, from Southern India.

Green papaya Salad with cucumber, mint and chili salt | www.feastingathome.com

And this refreshing green papaya salad with cucumber, mint and chili salt.

An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. | www.feastingathome.com #chickenbiryani #indianrice #indianchicken

If you enjoy cooking in your spare time, I encourage you to try this Authentic Chicken Biryani. It’s a special meal to save for a lazy weekend, and the leftovers get better and better.

Have a beautiful week, Enjoy the Chicken Biryani!

More Recipes you May like:

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An authentic & insanely delicious recipe for Chicken Biryani with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. | www.feastingathome.com #chickenbiryani #indianrice #indianchicken

Chicken Biryani Recipe


Description

An authentic and delicious recipe for Indian Chicken Biryani and a flavorful Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Perfect for a Sunday dinner. Go here for a vegetarian option! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 smashed cardamom pods
  • 1 extra large onion (1 lb) diced
  • ——
  • 1 cup yogurt (don’t use low or no-fat)
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ——-
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ——–
  • 34 sliced green chilis (split lengthwise)
  • 1 lb diced tomatoes (3 medium tomatoes)
  • ——
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 pounds chicken thigh meat (either boneless skinless, or bone-in, skin on) cut into pieces, salted. or substitute chickpeas, 3 cans rinsed and drained.
  • 3 cups washed Basmati rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • ——-
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • —–
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and Cilantro Coconut Yogurt Sauce:
  • ———–

Cilantro Coconut Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut or fresh grated coconut ( see above)
  • 4 green chilis
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ——-

Tempering oil for Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black gram dal
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • a few curry leaves

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven (one that has a tight-fitting lid) melt ghee over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon, cloves, crushed cardamom pods and diced onion. Saute 2 minutes and turn heat down to medium, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place yogurt, cilantro, mint, ginger and garlic into the blender and blend, adding a little bit of water to get blender going, if necessary. Set aside.
  3. Add dry spices and salt to the pan with the onion- turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder and salt. Stir for a minute or two, then pour in the yogurt mixture from the blender. Add the tomatoes and the split chilies. Cook over medium-low heat about 10 -15 minutes, or until oil separates.
  4. Cut and salt the chicken, and add it to the pot, and continuing cooking, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes, until chicken begins to brown and becomes tender. Slowly stir in ¼ cup oil.
  5. Add the washed Basmati rice and the water. Double-check you’ve added the salt.
  6. Stir just a bit. Bring to a boil. Continue simmering over medium heat, uncovered until most of the water has evaporated. Be patient. Once it looks like the photo above its ready to cover.
  7. Lower the heat to lowest setting.
  8. Cover the pot with a moist cloth, and place the lid over top, bringing the corners of the cloth towards the lid handle (to prevent a fire). Cook on the lowest heat for 30 minutes, then at this point, check rice for tenderness or continue cooking until the rice is tender ( another 10-20 minutes).
  9. Make the Cilantro Coconut Yogurt Sauce: Place the yogurt, coconut, chilies, cilantro, ginger and salt in a blender and blend. Place in a bowl and make the finishing oil.
  10. In a small skillet, heat the oil, and add the spices. When the mustard seeds begin popping, after 30 seconds or so, pour over the yogurt sauce.
  11. The Chicken Biriyani is done when the rice is tender. Once tender, give a stir, and adjust the salt, adding more if necessary. Serve with the yogurt sauce on the side and fresh cilantro leaves.
  12. Enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 490
  • Sugar: 8.5 g
  • Sodium: 676.4 mg
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.3 g
  • Protein: 22.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 116.4 mg

Keywords: chicken biryani, best chicken biryani, authentic chicken biryani

 

 

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  1. I made this on a lazy Memorial Day weekend and it was much appreciated by company! Leftovers taste even better.
    I burnt the bottom rice a little so would use less heat next time. Ricer was ready in less time than mentioned here.
    Do not skip the sauce, it is heavenly!

    1. Thanks Noor! So happy everyone enjoyed this. I will note the recipe about the rice time. Did you cover it with a towel and cook on the lowest setting?

      1. I did cover with a moist cheesecloth and out on low heat setting(not lowest), perhaps a towel would have been more suitable.
        Making it again tonight with slight more patience!

  2. I love this recipe! Chicken Biryani is my partner’s favourite. Thinking of making this for their birthday party. Hoping to make it in advance, how do you think it would go?

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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