This recipe is brought to you in partnership with The USA Rice Federation. Thanks for supporting foods and brands I use and love!
When the weather starts to cool down, nothing satisfies as much as a pan of chicken and rice. This Easy Chicken Biryani recipe is an Indian-inspired version of chicken and rice. It’s full of fragrant spices, bright colors, and delicious flavors. And the best part — it’s cooked in one pan, and it’s full of shortcuts.
It’s the most delicious way I can think of to celebrate September and National Rice Month — a celebration of the US rice industry, including farmers, producers, and manufacturers.
Let me be clear, even though I love Indian food, I don’t pretend to know the first thing about authentic Indian cooking. So this recipe is my version. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal and if you have leftovers, you’ll love them, even more, the next day.
Biryani is an Indian rice dish that’s layered with onions, garlic, LOTS of spices, chicken, and/or vegetables. The star of this dish is U.S-grown basmati rice. Did you know basmati rice grows in the US?
You bet! It’s grown in California, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
Why I Love U.S-Grown Basmati Rice
I always have a large jar of brown basmati rice in my pantry. Here’s why it’s my absolute favorite variety of rice:
- It’s so freakin’ fragrant and tasty It imparts such a lovely nutty, slightly spicy, floral fragrance to your dish. In fact, the word Basmati means “queen of fragrance.”
- Basmati has the lowest glycemic index of all varieties of rice. That means, compared to other varieties of rice, it has the least impact on your blood sugar.
- Brown basmati rice is a complex whole grain, so it provides long-lasting healthy carbs that fuel you for hours.
Traditional Biryani rice recipes are quite labor-intensive and require a very long list of spices.
Nope. Not for me, thank you. I knew I wanted an easy chicken biryani recipe, so I used a basic one-pan chicken and rice method. And I reached for my jar of Garam Masala in my spice rack.
What is Garam Masala?
Garam masala is a spice blend. It’s extremely aromatic and full of so many different flavors used in Indian cooking. It’s a great shortcut for when you don’t want to buy (or measure) lots of different spices for an Indian-inspired recipe.
A few teaspoons of garam masala takes the place of measuring small amounts of all these spices:
- Red Chili powder
SO. Much. Easier. You’re welcome.
That one spice mix makes my life so much easier. I hope it will for you too!
I did still add an extra pinch of turmeric because I love the yellow color it gives the rice. And antioxidants. You can’t beat turmeric for a hefty dose of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Easy Chicken Biryani
- 1 medium onion sliced thin
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs about 1 1/4 pounds
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/4 cups US grown brown basmati rice
- 2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup cilantro minced
Yogurt Sauce (optional)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt nonfat or low fat
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint minced
- In a large saute pan with a tight fitting lid, saute the onions and jalapeno in the olive oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions start to turn golden.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Push the onions and jalapeno off to the sides of the pan, and place the chicken pieces in the middle. Let them cook for about 3 minutes per side to brown. Don't flip them until they lift easily.
- When the chicken pieces are lightly browned, add the ginger, garlic, and garam masala to the pan. Stir until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the rice and chicken stock. Stir to submerge the rice in the stock. Add the cinnamon stick and carrots, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to ow and cover the pan.
- Let the chicken and rice simmer for 30 minutes. Check it periodically to make sure it's simmering (slow boil) slowly, and stir it so the rice cooks evenly.
- Add the peas after 30 minutes. Cover, and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender. If it seems too dry, add more chicken stock or some water.
- When the rice is tender, remove the pan from the heat. Add extra salt to taste and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
- Serve immediately with yogurt sauce if desired.
- Combine the yogurt, garlic, and herbs. Season with a pinch of salt to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Do you ever cook Indian recipes? What’s your favorite type of rice? Make sure it’s U.S-grown!