25 Jul 2024
Recipe of the week: Biryani and raita
Expat Cookbook

Recipe of the week: Biryani and raita

India, the land of curry – but also known for Taj Mahal, Bollywood, yoga, ayurveda and the Indian cuisine. On the 15th August, India celebrated it’s 67th year of independence. YLC has teamed up with Sudipa Duttaroy to bring you the very best of India.


India is a diverse country and so is the cuisine. Therefore the cooking varies a lot across the country depending on the climatic conditions, religious beliefs and historical influences – just to name a few. Indian curry is ubiquitous and today found in every nook and cranny of the world. But curry isn’t the be all and end all, there’s more to Indian cuisine, much more…

This week we give you the main course: Biryani.

Biryani is believed to have been invented in the kitchens of the Mughal emperors. I, for one, certainly feel like royalty eating biryani. I do not remember when I first tasted it but I do know that this is one dish I will never get tired of.

Growing up, all I ever heard was that it entailed quite a lot of hard work and so we only got to eat it on special occasions like weddings and parties. As soon as I was able to, I took matters into my own hands – I wanted to eat it as and when I felt like it and not wait for the once-in-a-blue-moon occasions.

Biryani is a melange of a lot of spices, if followed to a T. But I have been using the off-the-shelf spice mixes for Biryani and they are equally good. Of late, biryani has become a Friday night dinner, bringing in the weekend, á la maharaja style.

What you need:

For marinade of Chicken Biryani:

Chicken – 1/2 kg

Yogurt – 1/2 cup

ginger and garlic paste or grated – 2 teaspoon

salt to taste.

Marinate chicken in the above mixture for an hour or two.

For the chicken curry:

2 tablespoons oil

1 large or 2 medium onions chooped

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes chopped

2 teaspoon cummin powder

2 teaspoon corriander powder

2 teaspoon garam masala

10 whole black pepper

2 bay leaves

5 tea spoon biryani masala

1/2 cup lime juice


2 cups yoghurt

1 cup finely chopped cucumber

3/4 cup chopped red onion

Few sprigs fresh corriander leaves

Few sprigs fresh mint leaves

salt to taste

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


What to do:

Heat oil in a pan, let the black pepper splutter, then add the onion and saute. Add the bay leaves. Once the onions turn golden brown, add the chopped tomatoes and all the spices. Saute for a while and add the marinated chicken. Cover and simmer untill the chicken is cooked. Add the biryani masala and lime juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. There should be some amount of chicken gravy.

For the rice, wash and soak 3 cups of Basmati rice for 15 minutes. Then boil 6 cups of water and add rice and 1 tea spoon oil. 2 teaspoon of butter added to the rice will prevent the rice from sticking. When the rice is 3/4 done (check a grain of rice by pressing between fingers), drain the excessive water.

In a baking dish, pour the chicken gravy, then add a layer of rice, then a layer of the chicken curry. Alternate with layers and let rice be the last layer. Sprinkle with chopped mint leaves, deep fried onion, rose water and butter on the top. Cover the pan and seal with aluminium foil. Bake at 150 C for 20 minutes.

Mix all the raita ingredients above in a bowl.


Straight out of your royal kitchen – Biryani and raita. Nirvana!


Sudipa Duttaroy


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