Chicken biryani and cucumber raita

Serve this hot and spicy dish with the cool cucumber yogurt sauce for an impressive Indian meal.

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking times: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 450g chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 10g fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small red or green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • seeds from 10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 415g no-salt-added chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml reduced-salt chicken stock
  • 50g sultanas
  • 210g basmati rice, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 100g peas, boiled
  • a handful toasted flaked almonds to garnish

For the cucumber raita:

  • 200g natural low-fat yogurt
  • ½ large cucumber, coarsely grated and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • pepper to taste

Recipe method

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the chicken and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until browned all over.

2. Stir in the ginger, chilli, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time to ensure the spices do not burn.

3. Add the tomatoes, the stock and sultanas. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the rice in a saucepan, add 600ml of water and the turmeric, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer very gently for about 7 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Drain off any excess water.

5. Layer the chicken curry and rice in a casserole dish. Cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, checking after 20 minutes and adding a little more stock if needed (there should be enough liquid for the rice to complete cooking). Also add the cooked peas.

6. Meanwhile, make the raita. Stir together the yogurt, cucumber and mint. Season with pepper.

7. When the biryani is ready, stir it well, then scatter the toasted almonds on top. Serve with the raita.