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

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 13 reviews

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

 

 

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Comments

  1. This recipe is so tasty but the recipe itself is SUPER duper confusing and not stepped out clearly. Maybe a revision is needed.

    1. Ok, Odette, I will take a look! Thanks for the feedback- Did you use the recipe card?

  2. I have a question: the black gram dal for tempering the oil….is that black lentils? I ordered some on amazon and just want to check. I’m looking forward to making this. Thanks

  3. Amazing! This was a big hit for our Sunday family dinner. I will definitely be making it again. I was confused about when to add the raisins and cashews, but finally found that in the photo descriptions above. Thanks for another amazing recipe!






  4. This sounds delicious! Any advice on how to adapt this to cook with an instantpot instead of a slow cooker?
    Thank you!

    1. Great question Donna. I like the idea of using the instant pot. Would need to experiment a bit with this before offering advise. If you try it, let us know…

  5. My husband is Indian and I have learned most of my recipes from his father. I wanted to try your recipe because it was very easy to follow and l could tell you knew what you were doing. It was AWESOME! My husband loved it even more than his families Biryani. I was in the kitchen for about 4 hours but you warned us ahead of time it was a weekend meal and I’m glad I listened hehe. I already have all the Indian spices so that part wasn’t an issue. This will be my go to recipe when making Biryani 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your passion and gifts with the world! Already have 4 other recipes from you lined up to try next. Making one today for my family for father’s day.






  6. Hi, I love this recipe I just have one question when you say coriander leaves do you mean cilantro leaves?. I cant seem to find coriander leaves anywhere I go.
    And are the mint leaves optional?

  7. Thank you for the fantastic recipe, Sylvia! I have made this dish twice now, and it is superb. I love your site and recipes!






  8. Thank you for this lovely dish, Sylvia! I have made it twice now and it is superb. Love you site and wonderful recipes!






  9. Just made this for dinner tonight, and OH MY GOODNESS! The flavors in this dish all pop and say yum in your mouth. And the sauce, what a perfect compliment. This recipe is a keeper!






  10. Bonsoir Sylvia
    Je cuisine BEAUCOUP,et TOUS les matins,car j’adore manger et surtout j’adore découvrir des recettes.
    Je cuisine vietnamien, chinois,un peu indien(mais malheureusement,j’ai des difficultés pour trouver des recettes de qualité et en français.),thailandais¨( même problème),mais pour ce dernier,j’ai 2 bons blogs.
    Je passe mon matin entier devant la plaque de cuisson,mais cela ne me dérange PAS.
    J’ai donc fait cette très belle recette,avec un grand plaisir. Il ne me manquait que les feuilles de curry,introuvable ici. Depuis 2 ans seulement ,je trouve des feuilles de combava congelées, et nous n’avons pas de magasin indien,ni japonais et que 2 chinois qui n’ont que des produits surgelés.,car les restaurants ne font presque pas de plats maisons. C’est triste,alors qu’à Paris,c’est l’inverse.
    On mange très très mal à NICE.
    Je profite de ce message pour te demander où je peux trouver l’index de toutes tes recettes???particulièrement indiennes.
    Merci pour le retour et Merci à toutes les deux pour ce partage apprécié. Bises Chris 06

  11. Hi Sylvia

    I’ve made this twice since I found the recipe a a few weeks ago. I cook a lot of Indian-inspired dishes and this is one of the best I’ve made. The combination of the biryani and the coconut raita is fantastic, the flavors really pop!

    I boned and skinned the chicken thighs – skinning them cuts down the often excessive fat on farmed chickens, boning them means I can eat the whole dish with a fork and no distractions!

    I made two modifications – I use tinned whole San Marzano tomatoes (about 6 or so roughly chopped from the can) – I think they have reliably the best flavor for cooking, and I substituted chopped dried plums for the raisins for an extra punch of sweetness. I like my food very spicy, so the sweetness really balances that out. I use three to four plump jalapenos (seeds intact) in the biryani, one in the raita.

    The first time I made the raita, I didn’t have any frozen shredded coconut, so I used fresh, the second time I’d been to the local chinese market and used the frozen baby coconut, which was better for some reason, I can’t quite put my finger on what was different though, but I think the texture was better.

    One little change was with the dal I used in tempering – I used a “lentil trio” mixture from my local Kroger market – a mix of brown, green and black lentils which added even more variety to the spice mixture.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I love spending Sunday mornings in the kitchen cooking while I watch sports on my kitchen TV. This recipe is one English Premier League soccer game plus the first quarter of the early NFL game!






    1. Hi Steve, thank you so much for your feedback on this. I love hearing how you have adapted it… and I am so glad someone is enjoying it…I know it’s a longer, more involved recipe, but so delicious! All the best to you.

  12. It’s a wonderful recipe. Even with some modifications (read simplifications), it tastes so great! Thank you 🙂

    1. Thanks Prateek! Can you tell us how you simplified? It would be useful to other readers as well!!

  13. I made this recipe this weekend, what a beautiful blend of flavors! I added eggplant, because I had it on hand, but otherwise didn’t change it much. The leftover yogurt sauce was great with raw veggies, too. Thanks!

    1. Oh…I am SO glad you enjoyed it. A labor of love for sure. Love the addition of eggplant, it sounds divine!!

  14. I am of Srilankan background, and this is the first time I have seen a recipe it calls to put the Rice in the curry and cook it. I must say it is very interesting, i think this could give more flavors to the rice, hmm.. never thought about it. I am definitely going to try it. Thank you.

  15. I made this today, and it’s worth the time! Chicken is super tender, and the yogart sauce is such a great finish. Thanks for sharing this. I love it!

  16. wow- what a beautiful detailed and delicious looking recipe- I look forward to making both the chicken and the chickpea version soon.
    Thank you Sylvia

  17. Dear Sylvia and Niecy – I cannot wait to try this! We are hunkering down for a very crisp few days here…and I’m one of those people who love to relax with a few hours in the kitchen. I’ll be making this very very soon! xo Kate

  18. this looks like an amazing and unique way to enjoy chicken!!!! I gotta try this soon! pinning for later 🙂

  19. This looks heavenly! I love the alchemy of all the exotic Indian spices mingling together. It really is magic! I can’t wait to try this gorgeous recipe.
    xx Sydney

  20. Sylvia I’m so impressed with how you transformed my chicken-scratch notes into a beautiful recipe! That was such a fun afternoon! I can’t wait until we can spend the day cooking together again! Much love❤️

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