College Cooking: Chicken Biryani

Photo Credit: Eliot Gentiluomo

Indian food has always been tricky for me because the flavor profile can be changed so easily depending on the spices used. This was the best version I could come up with using the fewest spices. The most important spices here are the garam masala, coriander, and cumin. Another way to make it is to simply cook the chicken and have rice done on the side. Though it is not officially chicken biryani, it does lend itself better to other types of rice and side dishes.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • ½ medium onion
  • ½ cup parsley
  • Vegetable oil



  • Into a large bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, crushed garlic, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin and about ½ cup of water.
  • Once combined, cut the chicken thighs into quarters and add to the bowl.
  • Mix until well coated and let marinade for at least an hour, up to overnight.


  • At least a half an hour before cooking, wash the basmati rice until the water runs clear.
  • Cover completely with room temperature water and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain completely and set aside.

Chicken biryani:

  • Thinly slice half an onion and set aside.
  • In a large pot, cover the bottom with a generous amount of vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add in the sliced onions and cook the onions until soft and translucent.
  • At that point, take the chicken out of the marinade and sauté for about 5 minutes. Do not put all of the marinade in at this time.
  • Once the chicken has finished cooking, add in the marinade into the pot and stir until thickened.
  • Pour in the soaked rice on top of the chicken, do not mix together.
  • Pour in just enough water to cover rice, about 2-3 cups of water. Cover and let simmer until the rice is cooked through and there is little water left. This should take about 10-20 minutes. Add in more water if necessary.
  • Once done, remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes covered.
  • Gently fluff the rice and serve.