Isn’t it odd that although life should always come before one’s blog, a strange pang of guilt manifests itself within one’s gut following every unannounced hiatus? To tell you the truth, I had found a good blogging-groove and was rather comfortable posting every other day. However, on Friday I jumped aboard a coach bound for Cardiff, in order to see my friend Tom. He played the part of host rather well and even cooked me a rather tasty prawn caldine, something which I hope to make frugal at a later date. The trip was just what I needed; an opportunity to get away from Aberystwyth and to do a little chilling. Since my eagerly awaited return I have found myself full of a kind of arrogant, yet not oppressive, verve and I intend fully to blog your socks off.
Regular Sunday roasts have always been a tradition in my family. Of course, what this means is that at the beginning of most weeks in the month we are left with a great deal of chicken meat and a carcass. As one might expect, the carcass invariably ends up in the stock pot with some bay leaves, veg and peppercorns; there is no better way to use it. However, the leftover meat has the potential to supply our dinner table with a far greater variety of food. Though variety can sometimes be a curse, as we’re always looking for different and interesting ways to use it up, throwing it away would be the antithesis of frugality. Indeed, there are certain dishes which are better suited to pre-cooked chicken than they are to great big hunks of uncooked chicken breast; this biryani is just one such dish. Of course, one may opt to use fresh chicken in this curry, but it certainly isn’t necessary.
The secret behind a perfect biryani, if there is such a thing, is that it should be light and fluffy, as opposed to dense and saucy. It is for this reason that I always try to make fragrant biryani; the flavour and texture work far better this way – the choice of rice is very important. If one opts for a cheap, shorter grain of rice the dish will end up a little claggy. Instead, one should always choose a longer grain of rice, ideally basmati. Of course, the method by which one prepares the rice is also important and one of two will do just fine. Indeed, the method used in last year’s sweet potato and mushroom biryani works just fine, as does the technique used by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – his method will be used in this particular recipe. This really is rather a delicious biryani and I urge all of you to consider it. Enjoy!
Fragrant Chicken Biryani
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
• 1 cinnamon stick, ½ tsp ground cinnamon will do
• 2 bay leaves
• 4 cardamom pods, bashed
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• 1 tsp chilli flakes
• A small knob of ginger, grated
• 2 cloves of garlic
• Rapeseed oil
• 200g basmati rice
• 2 handfuls of leftover chicken
• 1 lime
• A handful of coriander
• Salt and pepper
1. Begin by frying the onions in a little oil with the cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, bay leaves, turmeric, chilli flakes, ginger and garlic. Cook for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the rice thoroughly and boil in enough water to cover it by 2cm, until the water has evaporated. Once that has happened cover the pan with a tea towel, pop the lid on and turn the heat right down.
2. Preheat the oven to 160C. Add the chicken to the onion and spices, mix thoroughly. After 5 minutes, fluff the rice and stir into the biryani. Add the juice of the lime and then throw the rest of it in for good measure. Season and pop in the oven for 20 minutes until hot and fragrant. Serve with a little chopped up coriander.
Cost: Using left over chicken is so much cheaper that using packaged chicken breast. Indeed, by my reckoning this entire biryani should set one back a mere £2, at the most. It really is difficult to go wrong at such a pleasing price point.
102 replies on “Fragrant Chicken Biryani”
Nice and spicy! Looks and sounds good Frugal.
Thanks, Rosemary. It was so yum.
Oh perfect!! I’ve been waiting for THIS one!! I actually looked up recipes for Biryani recently but they all seemed too bothersome……can’t wait to try this!!
Hehe – I hate bothersome cooking…
I’d love to leave a comment about how wicked awesome that chicken biryani looks, but I’m too busy looking for my socks…
Haha! Oh no! I do hope they are found.
I felt compelled to google ‘prawn caldine’ and I wish I hadn’t because between that and your biryani, tonight’s pie is looking mighty insubstantial. (“prawn face” was one of the options google presented me with and I regret being curious because a google image result of the close up of a marine crustacean’s maw is fairly terrifying – I’ll return to staring at how pretty your crockery is. You do have very pretty crockery.)
Haha! Dreadfully sorry, Juls. I love my crockery :D. I may get some more this week. That terracotta pot was only £2.99!
Lovely recipe and beautiful photos.
Thanks! I’m getting the hang of it I think.
Looks great. And it is funny how we start to feel some guilt if we take a break from the blog for a few days. It almost feels like tending a garden…
Thanks! I know, it’s my baby 😀
I love biryani, but never thought to make it with leftover chicken before. Probably because with two teenage boys, there rarely is leftover chicken. 😉 Maybe next time I’ll hide a drumstick and make this recipe – it looks delicious. Love your serving ware too! 🙂
It worked very well. That’s fair enough though. Good idea :D. Thanks, I’m slowly collecting bit and bobs.
Excellent on two counts. One, it looks great. Two, you are back in my reader.
Thanks! Oh I’m very glad it worked 😀
A little bit impressed by your blog! Okay, so that was an understatement! This is on the hit list… imminently…
Thanks! I’m so glad :D.
Oh yes, it was – the smell was fantastic.
I want to try this. leftover chicken is also great with leftover risotto, all pan fried the day after…
You are doing a great job with the photos. It´s a full time job sometimes to make a nice photo to go with the blog, so Kudos!
You should! That’s a good idea. Thanks! I do take quite a while sometimes.
My friend makes biryani.. nice to see your take on it. I’ve never tried it because she does it so well… I’m thinking I’d take a shot at it now:) Great photos btw!!
You must, Smidge! That’s an order – I know you’d love it.
I tried this tonight… Yummy. Thank you. None of the recipes I have found before were as simple. But – I used Jasmine rice – done in an asian steamer basket and it was nice and fluffy. I also omitted the chopped coriander and put a bit of fresh tarragon.. Now I need to go play with my curry recipe. Cheers!
I’m glad you liked it so much. I do like simple cooking. Thanks.
Lovely, I am all for using left overs the next day.. this would be perfect! c
Thanks, Cecilia! Leftovers must be used!
Very nice! I know what you mean about the pressure to post, though. We’ve been having work done in our kitchen plus I went to my high school reunion, and now I’m feeling really far behind.
Thanks, Michelle! You ground out that post well though :D.
The mix of spices sounds lovely. I usually make chicken enchiladas with leftover chicken roast (I don’t roast chicken once a week, though. =]), but I think this will have to be my next left-over meal!
Thanks! That’s a great idea, perhaps I’ll get round to that 🙂
Pray tell us Yanks what “claggy” means, Nick. The chicken biryani looks lovely. The one I make is tomato-based, from the Ajanta cookbook.
Yes please do, and then proceed to blog our socks off. I’m going to attempt achicken-less version as yours is stunning and I can see will do fine without it. I swear I can smell it from here.
Haha – I’ll do my utmost. Oh yes, I’m sure it would be yummy even without the chicken! To be honest, you probably can’t 😛
Caught. You’re right, but I could imagine the smell wafting from your photos 😉
Haha – I’m glad it had that effect.
Umm. It is a very specific word. Perhaps the best way to describe it is dense and tricky to swallow… I’ll have to try a tomato based one.
Thank you, Nick — always like to improve my international vocabulary.
Don’t we all? 😀
The mixture of spices must have made your kitchen smell amazing!
They did, Stephanie. Particularly the lime actually.
Now how did you know I had some cooked chicken to use up today (and a huge craqving for curry)?! Perfectly timed and a great recipe 🙂
I’ll confess, I didn’t… Thanks!
Wow! I can’t believe making briyani is that cheap! I always thought the spices alone would be very costly. Can’t wait to try out your recipe. Would you recommend cooking this in a rice cooker?
Nah – spices are relatively cheap! Umm. I have no idea, since I’ve never used one. Give it a go?
Oh wow, that looks fab, i think i may have to make that soon, possibly Saturday night.
Thanks, Joanne! You should – it was so yum.
My husband LOVEs chicken biryani. I have to make this for him!
Yes, you should – it was cracking.
Looks just incredible Frugal – wow! We’ve missed you yes – bring on the curry dishes!
Thanks, Shira. I’m glad you like the look of it.
I want this. REAL bad. Must make!
Do, Amanda – it was yum!
What an inviting dish! The combination of spices sounds incredible.
And I know exactly that guilty feeling – my blogging has slowed down in lieu of other life stuff. Which, of course, is more important, but it does nag at the back of my mind…
Thanks, willow! It does – it’s probably because we crave success 😀
Very nicely done … Biryani is one of my wife’s specialties 🙂
Thanks! Ahha – does she make it similarly?
This recipe looks so full of flavor and completely delicious! I love these kinds of recipes, especially when I can use leftover chicken. Have a lovely week Frugal!
Thanks, Karista! You too 😀
Duuuuuuuuuuuuuddddddeeee, you are making me so hungry right now! I need to eat breakfast 🙂 Nick, this looks unbelievable! You better believe that homegirl is making this!
Haha, thanks, Cara… who is homegirl? Is that you?
I’ve never made anything like this, but it sounds fantastic! And it’s making me hungry!
Thanks! I’m sure you’d love it!
LOVE this recipe. Biryani is one of my favorite go-to dishes when out. Definitely bookmarking this one friend!
Thanks, Jacqueline! I hope you like it 🙂
Sounds positively scrumptious. I’m pinning this for a future (near future) dinner!
Awesome! I really hope you enjoy it, Spree.
Made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic!! Thanks so much for this, it will be in regular rotation in our house from now on!!
Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
WOW, this sounds fantastic! Pinning this for dinner at some point… 🙂
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it, Korena!
I am always looking for ways to spice up some rice and this looks fantastic! I can’t wait to make it.
Thanks! I’m glad you think so.
YUM! I love biryani! I’d definite trying this out 🙂
Oh you should! It was great!
This looks great! I have chicken I need to use tonight. Chicken Biryani it is!
Thanks! Yes, I hope you enjoyed it!
This looks wonderful – recipe and pics. I am certainly going to do. I don’t know if you do this or have the space, but when chickens are on a really good sale (the nice ones without those hormones and such), I buy several and cook by putting in my pressure cooker – less time and less cooking gas. I then strip the meat and put in in two cup packages seperating dark from light meat. The broth of course goes in the freezer along with the unseasoned broth, all ready to pull out at a moment’s notice. I have found no difference in taste or texture of “freshly cooked” or leftover chicken. So I am going to put out chicken to thaw and use for this for Sunday dinner tonight. Thank you for this recipe! I hope you will come again and visit me. I love company! Thank you for liking my blog on Tater Cakes.
Thanks! I don’t have a pressure cooker. It’s a good idea, but I don’t think I eat enough chicken either :D. I shall surely visit again!
I can certainly understand that. My family are the main meat eaters! It save me time and money looking after them. I am making the Biryani this weekend, with and without chicken to take to potluck dinner. I think it is going to be wonderful and different from the usual Southern fare.
It must do! I really hope you enjoy it!
FF — Thank you for the like on my blog on Wild Caught Salmon in Browned Butter!
No problem! It looked great!
I also had the sensation of being able to smell the biryani! I look forward to trying the recipe, which looks scrumptious. AND had a tough time with my most recent post, which started out about a bean salad and became a research project into soaking beans and phytates. I am sure we give more thought to our food than any generation ever — my blog is all about thinking about it — , whether for good or ill!
Haha – very strange :D. It’s good to think about what we eat, but I’m a little too lazy to do it thoroughly.
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Awesome – enjoy!
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I just made this the other evening and it turned out really well. I tweaked some spice measurements and added leftover potatoes, but otherwise pretty much stuck to your directions. Thanks!
[…] A British roast can be easily transformed into a fragrant biriyani with the help of a few simple spices. Get the recipe here. […]
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