Recipe: Swahili Chicken Biryani

MumsVillage Kenya
5 min readJun 24, 2016

Lovers of traditional Kenyan Coastal cuisine love the delicacy that is Biryani. This Chicken Biryani recipe is your passport to instant popularity! Your culinary skills are bound to be a hit among friends and family.

The Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg chicken ( remove skin)
  • 4 cans of crashed tomatoes ( 8 to 10 tomatoes chopped and blend )
  • 2 small cans of tomato paste
  • 4 large onions
  • Teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon of Ghee butter ( or cooking oil )
  • 1/2 glass of plain yoghurt
  • 6 eggs
  • Mint, corriander, mixed biryani spice, garam masala spice, curcuma (turmeric)
  • 6 Stock cubes
  • 3 cups of basmati rice (for 6 people)
  • Orange food colouring
  • 2 bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon, 6 green cardamom pods
  • Cooking oil and salt

The Rice:

  1. Wash your rice until the water from the rice is clear. (I used 3 cups of rice for 6 people.)
  2. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes.
  3. To cook the rice, pour water in a large cooking pot. (Put any amount of water as long as it completely covers the rice. There is no need of measuring water since the rice is only pre cooked in this water, then drained. The rice is baked until fully cooked.) Add green cardamoms, cinnamon and star anise, 1 tablespoon of ghee and salt to taste.

4. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes only since the eggs will continue cooking in the Biriyani sauce then cool them and peel then set aside.

5. Boil the water. Add the soaked rice in the boiling water , let it cook for five minutes. Or until the water start bubbling again (drain the rice as soon as you see the first bubbles of boiling). Do not cook the rice all the way.

6. This is how the halfway cooked rice should look.

7. Then transfer your rice on a baking try. Spread evenly.

8. Mix your food colouring with milk, I only used 1/2 a tea spoon with 1/2 glass of milk . You can use water if you wish. Sprinkle the food colouring mixture randomly on the rice . At this stage don’t mix the rice until it’s completely cooked.

9. Cover the rice with foil. Bake at 170 DC for 35 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and let the rice cook for the remaining 5 minutes.

10. Remove the rice from the oven and delicately mix with a big spoon to evenly spread around the Orange and White rice.

The Chicken Biryani:

  1. Prepare your chicken ( I used 1.5 kg ), remove the chicken skin then add a teaspoon of ginger paste, garlic paste and 2 to 3 stock cubes.

2. Add water to the chicken level. Boil the chicken until blood stops oozing from the bones. Do not cook the chicken all the way because it will continue cooking in the biryani sauce.

3. Chop 4 large onions.

4. Heat some oil. When the oil starts smoking, add in your chopped onions.

5. Brown your onions. This is how your brown onions should look like.

6. Heat 6 tablespoons of cooking oil.

7. Add in your crushed tomatoes. I used three medium tins. You can use 8 to 10 chopped and blended tomatoes.

8. Stir to blend the tomatoes and the crashed tomatoes.

9. Add in a small can of tomato paste or 2 tablespoons.

10. Stir and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

11. Add in your spices, teaspoon of garam masala, biryani masala and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.

12. Add in 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 2 to 3 stock cubes, salt to taste .

13. Stir and cook for a few minutes covering with a lid because the sauce keeps splashing . You will know that the sauce is ready for the chicken when the oil starts coming up . Please make sure the sauce is well cooked before adding boiled chicken. This is to make sure that the tomato sauce and the spices are well cooked. If the sauce starts sticking on the bottom of the cooking pot add some cooking oil and stir.

14. Add in the browned onions.

15. Add in the drained boiled chicken . Do not add the chicken stock in the sauce . Keep it and use it for other recipes.

16. Stir and add 1/2 glass of plain yoghurt.

17. Stir from time to time to avoid sticking and burning and let the chicken cook until very soft. Remember to keep the lid on while cooking.

18. Add the boiled eggs and cook for further 5 minutes.

19.Add the chopped mint and coriander and put off the heat. Mix well and set aside.

20. End results of Chicken Biryani.

Bon appetit!

By Chef Rose Mathieu.

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