Chicken Biryani American Style

One of my favorite newer cookbooks is Pam Anderson’s Perfect ONE-DISH Dinners. I’m working my way through it slowly trying “new to me” recipes and experimenting with some ethnic dishes she has included. Anderson’s recipes are  well thought out with detailed instructions which makes it easy to cook with new ingredients. It’s so rewarding and fun to try new recipes! Eating the same old foods all the time gets boring but when you throw in some new flavors it’s so much easier to stay on a healthy diet!

While shopping in Whole Foods earlier this week Katy picked up a package of Tandoori Naan which is a traditional Indian flat bread. Since I had this Chicken Biryani recipe on my list to try and we had the Naan bread needing an Indian inspired dish, an awesome culinary experience was born!

You can get whole wheat naan or flavored ones as well. Trader Joe’s and Costco also sell it. It’s not exactly a calorie friendly item! Each piece of Naan is pretty big so half a piece is just right.

If like me, you are just starting to make some Indian inspired dishes you will need to buy some new spices. The garam masala I have seen at most grocery stores. The saffron is quite expensive at the grocery store, so seek out a better source like Trader Joe’s or Cost Plus World Market. At Cost Plus it sells for $4.99 for 0.02 oz, 0.5g.  It just happens to be the most expensive spice by weight in the world! It adds flavor and color so don’t skip using it but do handle it with care. You can’t afford to spill any saffron!

Indian food is not something that I have had a lot of but the few dishes I have tried have been excellent! The seasonings and flavors are complex, aromatic and spicy! That pretty much describes this Chicken Biryani dish. Now, I must say I have never had a traditional Indian style Chicken Biryani so I have no idea why this one is American Style. It is however an incredible tasty dish with ton’s of flavor! The only thing I would do different next time is to sub apricots for the raisins just because we like apricots better. Son David was the only one who didn’t love this dish. The seasoning-garam masala has cinnamon in it and that flavor didn’t work with chicken for him. The rest of us loved it and it’s a good thing because this recipe makes a huge pan full! The recipes says 6 servings but the four of us had it for lunch and we only ate about one third of it so it would easily feed 8 people for dinner.

The chicken and the rice are cooked separately and then layered. The recipe calls for baking it in a large oven proof skillet but I opted to layer it in a nice large baking dish. It called for chicken thighs but in the interest of keeping the fat content down I used half chicken breast meat and I trimmed the thighs of all visible fat! That is a yucky job! It was worth the work though as the end result was spicy, aromatic and filling! We had a little plain non fat yogurt with this dish to help balance the spicy heat! Fabulous!

Chicken Biryani American Style

“bir-ee-ah-nee” – a wonderfully aromtaic Indian chicken and rice dish.

  • 1 pound chicken breast, no skin, no bone, ready to cook, trimmed of all fat
  • 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, ready to cook, trimmed of all fat
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger root — minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes — crushed
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice — fresh
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice ( or jasmine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth — divided
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cashews, raw — toasted in a pan over medium heat
  • 1/4 cup cilantro — fresh, chopped

Generously sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large (11-12 inch) deep oven proof skillet over medium heat.

Add half of onion with ginger,and pepper flakes and cook stirring until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garam masala and continue to cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add chicken and, stirring constantly cook until it loses it’s pink color, about 5 minutes. Add yogurt and lime juice and cook, stirring to loosen brown bits, until juices thicken slightly, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken mixture to a bowl.

Wipe out pan with a paper towel; return pan to medium heat. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter, add remaining onion, and cook, stirring, until soft 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in rice and saffron. Stir in coconut milk, 1 cup broth, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover with heavy-duty foil or a lid, bring to simmer, and cook undisturbed until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (At this point chicken and rice can be covered and set aside separately at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Then proceed with the layering and baking instructions. Perfect for entertaining!)

About 45 minutes before serving, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop about one third of the rice into a bowl. Spread remaining rice evenly over bottom of skillet. Pour chicken and juices over rice in skillet, then top with remaining rice. Pour remaining 1 cup broth over rice and cover pan with foil. Bake until heated through and rice starts to crust around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cashews and cilantro.

Yield: 8 Servings:

Per Serving: 406 Calories; 14g Fat (31.2% calories from fat); 31g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 95mg Cholesterol; 316mg Sodium. WWPP 10

Yield: 10 Servings:

Per Serving: 325 Calories; 11g Fat (31.2% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 76mg Cholesterol; 253mg Sodium. WWPP 8

Adapted From Perfect One Dish Dinners by Pam Anderson

Nutmeg Notes

We feel like we are living in a bubble as the windows are all still covered for the exterior painting. All of that should come down today! We never realized how much we enjoy looking outside until we couldn’t. The exterior colors looks awesome, the master bath, texture & painting is finished and it turned out even better than I had hoped! We can’t put clothes back in the closet for another 24 hours so things are still a mess but we are getting closer to the finish line!

Today the downstairs bathroom gets a coat of paint, the front door gets painted and the other bathroom gets primer paint. Of course that means that we have to wait until Monday for the last bathroom to be painted. Anything worth wanting is worth waiting for right?

The painter’s have enjoyed the baked goods. So far this week I have made chocolate chip pecan oatmeal cookies, apricot bars, chewy pecan bars and buttermilk spice muffins. Maybe that’s why they want to come back on Monday! 🙂 I only tried one cookie and have left the rest of the goodies alone. I love to bake and for me it’s a great way to channel my nervous energy when I am trapped at home. As long as I don’t eat it I’m okay. So far so good!

Tonight we will be putting our closet and bathroom back together. We need to go find new mirrors and art work for it. Fun! Fun! We got new towels already. You know how these kind of remodel jobs go, once you change one aspect of a room other things no longer look as good. The project ends up snow balling into even more changes!

I have to have my coffee and then get out for my walk before they arrive at 7:00!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Add Your Thoughts

Do you like Indian cuisine?

Do you have a favorite ethnic food?



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3 pings

  1. tj says:

    I made this dish once (meat free for the picky boy!) and I was not a fan. BUT, I wouldn’t say no to an invite over to your house for dinner! lol It looks delicious & I love Indian food! 🙂

    Worst job ever- removing the fat from boneless skinless thighs. It turns my tummy! I’d rather have the breasts any day!

    Hope you have a great weekend Tami! Sounds like the house is coming along!

  2. renee@mykitchenadventures says:

    Like you….Indian food is my unexplored territory! lol I not only have not cooked much Indian, but I haven’t eaten much either…but I have been slowly trying my hand at a few things. Hubby is not a fan of the sweet mixed in with the savory though, so I have to take care of the dishes I choose to try. I, however, love every Indian dish I have tried so far! So flavorful!

    I seem to do well with Italian and Mexican cuisines though.

    And I totally agree…world market is a GREAT place to buy spices!!! I also tend to shop the Hispanic section of my grocery store for dried spices as well….they are incredibly cheap compared to Mccormick…but of course, they are limited to spices used in Hispanic type dishes.

  3. Helen says:

    We LOVE Indian food and I make various things quite often! You know what would be better than plain yogurt with that? Raita. It’s yogurt with shredded cucumber and mint stirred in. Sooooo yummy!

    Nothing like some paint to really freshen things up and make them seem brand new. Have fun putting it all back together.

  4. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    I guess in our house we are more Mexican fans than anything else. Seems I have many recipes and my husband would choose that for a restaurant. Also, Chinese. My teen asked for it for dinner last night… the take out version:)

  5. Dawne says:

    Having lived in Bangladesh for over 3 years, I am a huge fan of biryani, curries, etc. I must say, I gained a lot of weight over there – with chapati bread everyday. Chapati is not as thick or puffy as Naan, but is used in the same way.

    Biryani is a special dish – for family get togethers, and is always served at weddings in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The preparation style is also different from region to region. In Bangladesh, there is always an egg with your biryani. Pakistani biryani is my favourite.

    My entire family LOVES it

  6. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I love Indian food but sometimes spices I don’t have keep me from making new recipes. I’ll have to mix it up a bit more!

    Can I come paint your house, too? 😉 Your goodies for the painters sound wonderful! Good for you that you can stay away from them…

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    You amaze me with your cooking skills & all the different things you try! I am SO SIMPLE!

    The painting – good lick! The smell of paint makes me sick – but yes, it has to be done at times. 😉

  8. Marisa @ Loser for Life says:

    I’m starting to delve into Indian food and cooking. Sadly, no one is a fan of it in this house, but me! I would love to try this dish. I’ve had the biryani rice from TJ’s and thought it was good, so I bet I would love this dish!

  9. Roz says:

    Oh Tami, this recipe looks like a keeper. I LOVE Indian food. And yay for the paint disruption ending soon. Have a great weekend.

  10. Carol says:

    Love some Indian food and do make my own curried chicken. I don’t like foods too spicy though.
    My favorite ethnic food is Greek with Italian a close second!

    Hope your painting is soon to an end….almost like a brand new place when it’s all finished!

  11. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    Not a big fan of Indian food, but I’d be willing to try! We do mostly Mexican and Italian as those are our favorites.

  12. linda says:

    Trader Joes carries frozen Naan which is very tasty. They have plain and garlic flavors and it has only 2 grams of fat per Naan. I will send you the complete numbers.

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