Chicken and rosewater biryani

Chicken and rosewater biryani

The rice in a biryani should be so dry and fluffy that when you throw a handful on the floor, all the grains should separate. The secret is to parboil the rice so that the surface is soft and cooked but the centre is still hard, and also to make sure that the main ingredient, i.e. the chicken, mutton, seafood or vegetables, is intensely flavoured but not surrounded by too much ‘gravy’, which will make the rice soggy when the final cooking in a sealed pot takes place.


For the marinated chicken

For the crisp fried onions

For the gravy

For the rice

  • 600g/1lb 5oz basmati rice, soaked in cold water for an hour
  • 1 tsp salt per 1 litre/1¾ pint of cooking water

To assemble

  • 100g/3½fl oz ghee
  • pinch saffron soaked in 4 tbsp warm milk for 15 minutes
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • 20g/½oz cashew nuts and 20g/½oz shelled pistachios, dry-roasted in a hot pan until golden-brown
  • raita, to serve