Indian Cuisine: Masala Biryani Rice

Ready? I have a good one!

A few months back, Alp was taking care of the organisation of a two week hearing in a luxury hotel. One day they had a bad experience, when they were working at i-don’t-know-how-long-into-the-night, they were miserable with no water, no coffee and lots of dirty dishes. So he sent a nice (!) mail to the responsible person. The next day the responsible person came to apologize and afterwards they always had someone to take care of them. But the apology apparently wasn’t enough that they also visited the office after the hearing with small gifts such as USB drives for everyone. They left a package addressed to Alp and said they believed he would like it. He was delighted to find Vineet Bhatia’s “Rasoi: New Indian Kitchen

The book is not for the faint hearted occassionnal cook. You need to be curious and courageous. The book actually says something to that sense! In almost all the recipes there are not one but two marinades, and several references to other pages for spice mixes or sauces. Once when I was lost between these references, I ended up cooking two different recipes in once dish like Rachel’s English Trifle! Luckily they had similar spices and no one noticed!

Don’t worry though, we double checked this recipe and only decided to share after eating and adoring it. We modified the original to add almonds and chicken breast. I will precise these changes in the recipe so you can choose between my version and the original.

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Masala Biryani Rice

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 15-30 mins
Yields: 4


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 table spoon olive oil
  • 250 g rice (basmati)
  • 1,5 lt salted water (boiling)
  • --
  • 2 chicken breasts (boiled, put in a pressure cooker when you start the preparation.) (My addition to the recipe)
  • --
  • 3 table spoons ghee (or butter)
  • 1 tea spoon fennel seeds
  • 1 blade of mace (or some nutmeg)
  • 1.5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • --
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander ( I replaced this with coriander seeds)
  • 2 table spoons greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron (let it rest in 2 tablespoons of warm milk for 30 mins)
  • 2 green chillies (slit open)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon frest mint (I used dried)
  • 2 tablespoon frest coriander (I used dried)
  • 2 tablespoon fried onions (if you cannot find from asian shops etc, chop onion, cover with flower and fry)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • Splash of rosewater
  • Salt
  • Toasted almonds


  1. Dice the onion, dice the tomato. Sautee the onion with olive oil until soft, add the tomato, sautee for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Rince the rice with cold water, let it soak for half an hour and drain.
  3. Cook the rice in boiling salt water until cooked, drain and set aside.
  4. In a pan, toast whole spices in butter until fragrent and colored.
  5. Add onion and tomatoe mix and sautee for 2-3 mins.
  6. Add ground spices and mix.
  7. Add yoghurt and salt, cook for 2 mins.
  8. Slice and add boiled chicken and mix. (My addition to the original recipe)
  9. Add saffron milk, green chilli, lemon juice, rice. Gently mix it all.
  10. When warmed, add mint, coriander, fried onion, garam masala and rose water. Also add toasted almonds (my addition), mix and serve.

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