This is a cheat, One-Pan Chicken Briyani recipe that does not discount on flavours! This recipe gets you a full, delicious meal in just 30 minutes.
What is Briyani?
Briyani (Biryani / Biriyani) is a traditional Indian rice dish cooked with flavoured, dry curry spiced meat. In Singapore, this is a well-loved dish for locals, and is a fixture amongst the Malay and Indian community here.
Briyani originated from India, and consists of a meat curry cooked with fluffy basmati rice in the same pot. The rice will cook along with the curry, absorbing all of the delicious flavours from the curry underneath.
The briyani is served as is, perhaps with a side of raita. In Singapore and Malaysia, we typically prefer a side of gravy or curry to go with our briyani. This Chicken Briyani recipe yields a moist rice dish, as opposed to dry and light rice, – so there’s no need for the additional curry! If you want a gravy still, I have an easy shortcut chicken curry recipe here.
How to Make One Pan Chicken Briyani
Real deal briyani requires the separate cooking process of par-boiling the basmati rice first and cooking the curry. Halfway through cooking the curry, layer on the basmati rice, layer on the curry, and stacking on top more of the rice. Water is added last before allowing the rice to fully cook.
This cheat one-pan recipe removes a lot of the tedious processes and guesswork! You dump all the ingredients in a pan, and come off with a delicious briyani meal in just 30 minutes.
Step 1: All of the flavours is accomplished in one simple step – the marinating process!
A lot of the curry flavours will be from the chicken curry, so this is the most important step. I like to marinade my chicken overnight for best results.
Step 2: Pan frying the chicken and sauteeing the curry paste until fragrant.
Step 3: Adding rinsed basmati rice, and stirring in with the curry.
Pro Tip: Have a rice cooker? For even more foolproof cooking, add the combined rice to a rice cooker before topping with liquid. It’s an extra piece of equipment, but it guarantees perfect rice with zero effort and guesswork.
Step 4: Carefully add water or stock, making sure rice is submerged. The general ratio of rice to water for stovetop cooking is 1:2, but here I did a 1:1.5 ratio. The curry and marinade has liquid in it, so I accounted for it so as to not have soggy rice. Moist, however, is good.
Step 5: Allow stock to come to a boil, before closing the pan with a tight lid so rice can cook. Make sure no steam escapes.
Pro Tip: Use a heavy-bottomed pan or pot that can hold heat evenly. This will ensure your rice cooks all the way through evenly! On the same note, you want to make sure your heat from the stove can reach all of the rice. Try not to use a pan that is too large for your stove.
Step 6: Allow rice to cook for 20 minutes. At the 20-min mark, peek to see that rice has cooked. Turn off the heat, and close back the lid to allow rice to finish cooking in the steam and soak up the liquids.
Step 7: Garnish with more fried shallots and coriander or cilantro. Serve!
What Chicken To Use for One Pan Chicken Briyani?
The best chicken to use would be chicken thighs! I like to use boneless chicken thighs for easier serving, but bone-in will work here as well. We are cooking the chicken with the rice, so you want a good, fatty part of the chicken that will not dry out and turn rubbery in the cooking process.
You can use chicken breasts too, but do not pan fry it for too long in the initial stage as you do not want to overcook it.
What Rice to Use for One Pan Chicken Briyani?
Basmati Rice is the go-to rice for briyani. It’s a long grain rice with a delicious nutty flavour that pairs well with curry. With basmati rice, you do need to soak it in water for about 30 minutes before cooking. This will ensure more even cooking in the pan.
Alternatively, you can also use other long grain rice like jasmine white rice! With jasmine rice, I find you do not need to pre-soak it.
The Spices for One Pan Chicken Briyani
This is an EASY one pan recipe because the bulk of the flavour and hard work is coming from the marinade! Well, ‘hard work’, since all you need to do is add everything together and that is it.
Due to this, the ingredients are quite crucial… but not hard to acquire. The list here I have is quite long, but don’t get intimidated by it Really, the only dry spices you need are the garam masala, turmeric powder and sweet paprika (or your chilli powder of choice). Other typical spices included in briyani would be cumin powder and coriander powder.
Want to cheat even more? Use chicken curry powder! I added it in this recipe as well, since that is what I have (and never say no to more flavour!), but you can simply just use your favourite brand of chicken curry powder and omit the powdered spices altogether.
Key Cheat Ingredient: Fried Shallots
Briyani has the distinctive flavour of fried shallots. I added ready made fried shallots in my marinade to skip this process!
If you do not have fried shallots, then you want to add shallots or onions in the first step, and fry it over low heat until it caramelises before adding the marinated chicken. Careful to not burn it; there’s a fine line between sweet and savoury fried onions, and bitter, burnt onions! This is why I prefer using ready-made fried shallots! Zero care to make perfectly tasty chicken briyani.
Dry Whole Spices
I added dry whole spices as well, that is bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom. These, of course make the dish even more delicious and true to the original flavours of Briyani, but feel free to omit! As mentioned, the bulk of the curry flavours are coming from the marinade, these are bonus flavours.
More Recipes Like This
One-Pan Chicken BriyaniCourse: Recipes
- Marinating the Chicken Curry
400g Chicken Thighs
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp Ginger (grated)
1 tsp Garlic (minced)
1/2 Onion, sliced
1/2 cup Fried Shallots
1 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Sweet Paprika
1 tbsp Curry Powder
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves
1 tbsp Mint Leaves
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
1 tsp Lemon Juice
- Briyani Rice
2 cups (200 g) Basmati rice (soaked for 30 mins)
3 cups Water
1 tbsp Cooking oil
1 tbsp Ghee or Butter
2 tsps Salt, or to taste
1 cup Raisins
- Dry Whole Spices
1 Cinnamon stick (3-inch piece)
1 Star Anise
2 Bay Leaves
Coriander Leaves or Cilantro
- Marinade boneless chicken pieces with yoghurt, garam masala, turmeric powder, chilli powder, ginger and garlic paste, onion, fried shallots, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Marinade 30 minutes, overnight best.
- Rinse basmati rice until water runs clear. Soak rice for about 30 minutes and completely drain.
- Melt butter and oil in a good, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the dry whole spices and saute until fragrant.
- Once fragrant, add the chicken pieces and empty out all the marinade into the pan. Stir fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant and the chicken surface is no longer pink.
- Add the soaked basmati rice and salt to taste next. Stir to combine and then level out in the pan.
- Gently add the stock or water, making sure the rice is submerged in the pot. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot with a tight lid. Make sure the steam does not escape or else rice will burn at the bottom.
- Cook for 20 minutes, or until rice cooks. The rice should be moist, but no liquid can be seen in the pan. Turn the heat off and let rest another 10 minutes, with the lid still on. The rice will continue to cook in the resting time and absorb the remaining liquid in the pan.
- Fluff the rice with a fork. I like to take the chicken pieces out, and place on top of the rice so it looks more presentable. Garnish with fried onions and chopped cilantro or parsley before serving.