20 Ways to Prepare Poultry: Chicken Biryani

Kari Lund


Recipes, Nutrition


Chicken and turkey are popular for being high in protein and low in saturated fats making a mealtime staple for athletes as well as in many healthy eating households. Falling back on the same old recipes starts to become mundane and a little too routine. Finding new ways to cook up the standard bird and keep it interesting (and keep your taste buds dancing) is time-consuming but in this series of recipes, I will highlight many different ways to prepare your poultry so your meal rotation is anything but boring. So whaddya say? Let’s play chicken!


Middle Eastern cuisine is known for its intense flavor profile. Chicken biryani is no exception. Biryani is a brightly fragrant dish popular throughout the Middle East particularly in India and Pakistan. The aromatics in chicken biryani come from a blend of cardamom, peppercorns, and curry spices. The rich orange-yellow hue is produced from turmeric and saffron.



For ease of preparation, I’ve used a pre-blended garam masala in the marinade as well as a yellow Indian curry spice blend for the cooking stew that contains turmeric and other commonly used curry seasonings. Using a pre-blended spice allows this dish to come together more quickly while still having the rich flavor attributes that make this cuisine popular.


Saffron is a hand-harvested spice derived from a particular crocus flower common in the Middle East. Originally used for medicinal purposes and later noted for its other health benefits, saffron was traditionally used only for special occasions due to its rarity. Using saffron in the rice base is optional but it gives the whole meal a sense of speciality.


Chicken Biryani

Biryani Chicken

Calories 583, Protein 41g, Carbs 67g, Fat 18g


Prep time: 20 min plus marinating time

Cook time: 30 min

Serves: 4


Marinade Ingredients:


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Biryani Ingredients:


  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter, or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons yellow Indian curry powder (not Thai curry)
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice (like basmati)
  • 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or cashews (toasted if desired)


Preparation Instructions:


  1. In a bowl, toss together the sliced chicken, garam masala, onion, garlic, ginger, yogurt, and salt until chicken is evenly coated.
  2. Marinate chicken in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  3. In a wok or large sauté pan, heat ghee and add onion. Cook onion until it begins to soften.
  4. Add chicken, cardamom, peppercorns, bay leaves, curry powder, rice, broth, and saffron to the pan and stir to combine.
  5. Cover pan and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 20-30 minutes.
  6. Serve with cilantro and sliced almonds or cashews as garnish.


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