Chicken tikka biryani combines the best of both worlds with its fusion of Indian basmati rice and masala spices. Discover how to make this flavorful recipe today.
Chicken tikka biryani is an Indian dish consisting of marinaded chicken in a heavily spiced curry sauce layered with fragrant basmati rice.
It combines two dishes – chicken tikka masala and biryani – into one, resulting in a creamy and hearty meal that temper the spiciness of a typical biryani. It’s one of our favorite diced chicken recipes, and soon it’ll be yours too.
The good news is that this fusion of two classic dishes is easier than it looks. Here’s how to make chicken tikka biryani from scratch.
What Makes a Biryani a Biryani?
An authentic biryani requires long-grain basmati rice, plenty of fragrant spices such as saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and star anise, a protein like chicken, shrimp, or lamb, and a thick gravy.
The protein is marinated in a yogurt sauce that, when cooked, combines with cooking oil or ghee, creating a gravy. Uncooked basmati rice and water get added to the cooked meat before it is allowed to simmer to absorb the juices and spices.
Most biryani dishes come topped with caramelized onion.
Made more biryani than you or your family could eat? You can store leftover chicken tikka biryani in an airtight container in the fridge once it has reached room temperature.
You might be worried about how long your biryani will stay fresh. Chicken tikka biryani will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
When reheating leftovers, start by sprinkling a little water over the food. This step helps the rice rehydrate, so it’s soft and fluffy instead of crunchy and hard.
You can also drape a damp paper towel over the plate, preventing the sauce from splattering inside the microwave.
Be sure only to reheat the serving you plan to eat, rather than the entire container. Microwaving can affect the potency of the spices and dry out your meal.
Is Chicken Tikka Biryani Healthy?
Chicken tikka biryani is OK to eat in moderation, but it is heavy in fat and calories from the oil, yogurt, and clarified butter.
You can limit the number of calories by using low-fat yogurt or leaving off the caramelized onions.
Chicken Tikka Biryani
- 5 chicken breasts boneless & skinless; cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups yogurt
- 1 lemon juiced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil for cooking
- 2 tbsp ghee
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp yogurt
- ½ tsp fresh ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups water plus more for soaking and rinsing
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Place cut chicken pieces into a large, deep bowl. Add all chicken tikka marinade ingredients and mix well, ensuring each piece is well-coated on all sides. Set aside.
- Pour basmati rice into a bowl and add cold water until the rice is completely covered. Set aside for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, drain your basmati rice in a colander. Rinse until the water runs clear.
- Combine 4 cups of water, the salt, and a bay leaf in a pot. Bring the water to a boil before reducing the heat to low. Add the uncooked, rinsed rice, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Do not cook it all the way through.
- Drain the rice in a colander and set it aside.
- Add one tablespoon of oil to a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
- Carefully add the chicken, reserving the leftover marinade. Cook for 3 minutes on each side until browned. Turn the heat low and cover until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165º F. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Using the same skillet, increase the heat to medium. Add two tablespoons of oil or ghee, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, salt, and ginger. Stir for 15-30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add diced onion, stirring until translucent and golden.
- Add ginger and garlic and continue stirring for 1 minute.
- Stir in the leftover marinade, tomato, and water. Increase heat to medium-high and let the sauce come to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the cooked chicken and yogurt. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove the chicken tikka from the heat.
- To layer your chicken tikka biryani, scoop half of the chicken tikka from the skillet and set it aside. Add half of your semi-cooked rice, then the remaining chicken tikka, and finally the rest of the rice.
- Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the stove and serve.