Chicken Biryani

This isn’t a recipe I’d expect to find in a cook book from the late 40s, I am slightly dubious about some of the ingredients, well one in particular..



I had to start this much earlier in the day to allow the rice to soak for the allowed time. I only had long grain brown rice, and wondering if the soaking softness it and helps it to cook quicker?

Also I started the chicken this afternoon but 2 hours seems far too long to cook joints of chicken in water, so I let it simmer for about 30 minuets and then turned the heat off and left the chicken and onions and spices in the pan to help absorb all that lovely flavour.


I was halving this recipe and the amount of margarine is still obscene!! I was meant to use 168g of the stuff! I hate margarine! I do use stork loads in baking but I’m definitely a butter person. So the thought of cooking my dinner in that much margarine just seemed wrong! So I started to weigh it out and gave up at 50g!

When the recipe talks about the cooking the chopped onion in the marg, I’m assuming that’s the onion that was cooking with the chicken. It’s lovely and soft and smells good! So that’s chopped up and cooked in the disgusting marg until brown.


Then I add the water and simmered that for a few minutes before adding the chicken, then the peppercorns, and I did think I had cumin seeds in the cupboard but I had to use ground instead..

Then in goes the liquid the chicken was cooked in, followed by the rice and saffron, and some of the dried fruit.

After only about 20 minuets the liquid had been absorbed by the rice and it was all smelling pretty good and the rice was feeling nicely cooked. I piled it onto a plate and topped with browned almonds (not salted) and more dried fruit..

Even by halving this I think there’s enough to feed a family of 8! It’s not the colour I expected after adding the saffron, but taste wise its fantastic! The flavour from the spices is quite delicate but really good. The chicken is super soft and the rice is just the right sight of stodgy!

Over all this is great, just as well as I think we’ll be having this for lunch for the rest of the week!

Would I make this again? Yes!


4 thoughts on “Chicken Biryani

  1. I am glad to know you’re still going strong with the Good housekeeping book. You really inspire me when i get lazy. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  2. Ok, so this recipe was a bit of a roller coaster for someone like me who makes biryani quite a bit. Yes, soaking the rice helps it soften a bit. This recipe isn’t what traditional Biryani usually though. Originally, Biryani is full of way more aromatic herbs and spices. But it makes a valiant effort so I applaud it for that. I do have a Biryani recipe on my blog if you just wanted to check out how I as a Pakistani make Biryani.

    • Hi. Thanks for you comment! I remember you doing a fab looking biryani, just been to have another look. Looks so delcious. I do sometimes wonder about some of these recipes from this book and also worry that they completely deviate from traditional recipes!

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