Lemon Chicken Briyani is a vibrant, aromatic one pot meal inspired by centuries old Persian and Indian recipes ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

This Lemon Chicken Biryani recipe is a delicious gift that comes to us from Persia, via India ~ the fragrant basmati rice is flavored with a blend of spices and the juices from the chicken that cook along with it…cashews, currants and sliced almonds round out this lush one pot meal

Lemony Chicken Biryani is a lush comforting one pot meal ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Biryani is my standing order whenever I dine in or take out from an Indian restaurant ~ it’s carby and comforting with lots of interesting favors and textures.  Originally Persian, and then adopted by India, biryani is a much loved dish made with basmati rice, caramelized onions, spices, and yogurt, along with meat, chicken, or seafood.  It can also be vegetarian, which is my usual choice.  The rice is layered with the other ingredients before baking so all the flavors get a good chance to mingle together.   There are more versions of biryani than you could possibly imagine, and believe it or not, this one is on the simpler side.  A hint of lemon makes it special.

Lemon Chicken Biryani is a lush, comforting one pot dish made with basmati rice, lots of spices, and chicken thighs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

It’s the spices that set biryani apart from a regular Western chicken and rice casserole.  This recipe features coriander (in leaf and seed pod form,) cumin, fennel, both black and green cardamom, peppercorns, and turmeric, along with fresh ginger and garlic.  You’ll toast the spices in a dry pan for a minute or so to bring out their flavors before grinding them up with the ginger and garlic to form a paste.  A mini food processor works perfectly for this, although if you’re more low-tech, you can use a mortar and pestle.

TIP: All these spices for this Lemon Chicken Biryani are readily available in your grocery store with the exception of the cardamom pods.  These are well worth tracking down, the flavor is incomparable.  If you don’t have a local specialty or gourmet store, try buying them online

Making Lemon Chicken Biryani, a comforting one pot meal ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

One of the defining characteristics of a biryani is the layering of the ingredients.  The browned chicken is layered into the onions and par-cooked rice so that the juices permeate everything as it bakes.

TIP: A wide shallow cast iron casserole with a lid is perfect for this dish.  These can range from very pricey, to less pricey to very reasonable.

Lemon Chicken Biryani ~ chicken thighs baked in an aromatic spiced rice ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Basmati is a long grain rice from India that you’ll find right in the rice section of your supermarket.  I love it because it has a beautiful aroma and flavor, and always cooks up fluffy and separate, not sticky.  I’ve used it before in my Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants and Herbs, and in Mejadra, a comforting Middle Eastern dish made with basmati, lentils and spices.  It also stars in one of my favorite dishes, Persian Jeweled Rice

TIP: Many stores carry imported basmati rice from India, and I highly recommend giving it a try.  The fragrance and flavor is far better and more pronounced than you’ll get with American varieties.

This recipe is adapted from Thomasina Miers in The Guardian

Lemon Chicken Biryani

Lemon Chicken Biryani

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups (350g) basmati rice
  • 27 ounces or just under 3 1/2 cups (800ml) hot chicken stock, divided
  • olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs, or a combination of legs and thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 black cardamom pods, seeds removed, husks discarded
  • 15 green cardamom pods, seeds removed, husks discarded
  • 1 thumb-sized knob fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup whole cashews, raw preferred
  • approximately 1/4 cup (50g) ground almonds
  • 8 tbsp Greek yogurt (whole milk)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
    garnish
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • pomegranate seeds
  • lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 350F
  2. Put the rice and 1 3/4 cups of the stock (400ml) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and cook for 8 minutes, then take off the heat and set aside.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat on medium high until hot. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and then brown, in batches, for 5 minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside on a plate and cover with foil.
  4. Add the onions and shallots to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until softened.
  5. In another dry skillet toast the spices over medium heat for a couple of minutes, keeping them moving the whole time. Take off the stove and grind them in a small food processor. Add the ginger and garlic and process together into a rough paste.
  6. Add the paste to the pan with the onions, along with the cashews and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring almost constantly so the garlic doesn't brown.
  7. Stir in the almond meal, yogurt, turmeric, currants, lemon juice and zest, along with the rice, and combine everything well. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
  8. Now you will layer the rice and chicken in a large casserole dish. Start with 1/2 of the rice, and nestle down 1/2 of the chicken. Add the rest of the rice and chicken, and arrange evenly.
  9. Add the rest of the hot stock (make sure it is hot) and pour over the casserole. Cover with a clean dishcloth and cover tightly.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. This will depend on the size of your chicken pieces. If you have a thermometer it should read 160-165F.
  11. Fluff the rice a bit, rearrange the chicken, and garnish with the almonds, coriander leaves, and pomegranate seeds. I like to serve with a few lemon wedges on the side, too.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/lemon-chicken-biryani-recipe/

notes:

  • Serve the biryani with a side of yogurt and chutney.
  • This is quite good the next day.

Lemon Chickey Biryani is an aromatic one pot chicken thighs and basmati rice dish that comes from centuries old Persian and Indian recipes ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

 

don’t forget to pin it!

Lemon Chicken Briyani is a vibrant, aromatic one pot chicken thighs and basmati rice meal ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

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26 Responses to Lemon Chicken Biryani

  1. JR says:

    Sue,
    This Lemon Chicken Biryani looks and sounds wonderful. I would really like to make it, but a little clarification of the second part of the directions on Step #9 would be appreciated.
    These are the directions as shown in the recipe on your website: “9. Add the rest of the hot stock (make sure it is hot) and pour over the casserole. Cover with a clean dishcloth and cover tightly.
    Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. ” Cut & Pasted directly from your website.
    My confusion starts with the instructions to cover the casserole with a clean dishcloth & cover it tightly. Then being instructed to bake the casserole in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
    First, I am not sure how you would cover a casserole tightly with a dishtowel. Second, It doesn’t seem very safe to place a dry dishtowel (even on top of a casserole) in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

    I am hoping that some part of the directions are missing or that I totally missed an important detail.
    At any rate, your posts, recipes and assistance is appreciated.

    JR

    • Sue says:

      You do cover the casserole with a dish towel, and then put the lid on top of that. I set the casserole on a baking sheet and put it right in the oven. The dish towel technique is common in Middle Eastern pilaf recipes, and it should be fine in the oven. If you’re concerned, I think you could just omit it and cover the casserole with a lid, or foil if you don’t have a lid. I think the towel is meant to absorb excess moisture.

  2. Mary says:

    I made this for dinner last night. Enjoyed by us both and was lucky enough to have ‘leftovers’. I used Quinoa in place of Rice as one of us doesn’t eat rice!! I guess that changes it from being Biryani but it was delicious. Thankyou for another enjoyable feast.

  3. Such a gorgeous and fragrant recipe, Sue! This is exactly the kind of meal I’ve been craving for dinner!

  4. Alexandra says:

    This is such a light but wholesome and fragrant supper for the whole family and setting it in the center of the table will only bring out the good part of ourselves. What a great meal you put together, Sue!

  5. So bright and colorful. I know my kids would love this one!

  6. cheri says:

    Gorgeous dish Sue, love all the flavors and textures here!

  7. Robin says:

    Once again, great minds think alike. You seem to have a knack for that! This is exactly the type of dish my husband and I have been craving, but didn’t have a recipe. Will be trying it tomorrow evening. It seems like when I have a craving for something, you have the recipe for it, thanks!

  8. Ardith says:

    In my mind I can smell the aroma of this dish, so I can’t wait to make it. Thank you, Sue. Oh, thank you for the reminder to pin the recipe. For the first time, I would have forgotten to otherwise. Cheers, Ardith

  9. Emma says:

    I always order my curry with lemon rice so putting it in the curry itself is a great addition!

  10. I’m a big biryani fan, too. And love the combo of chicken and lemon! So you made this just for me, right? :-)

  11. Mahy says:

    Great looking Biryani!! Love the addition of lemon ere–so un traditional but oh wow sounds so good!!

  12. Katrin says:

    One pot meals are just the best. This dish looks absolutely divine. Biryani is one of my favourites!

  13. This looks amazing and so pretty with all the colors, textures, flavors etc. What a great cook and serve pan!

  14. Gorgeous colour from the turmeric..and I bet the flavour is amazing too.

  15. What a beautiful dish! Love all the flavours, combined with the lemon chicken. Putting this one on the menu soon :)

  16. This looks absolutely amazing! Those colors and flavors — i just want to reach into the screen! Beautiful photos!

  17. Platter Talk says:

    Looks and sounds divine. I love the lemon mingled with the rest of the flavors. I will try this!

  18. Oh I am all over this dish! It is absolutely beautiful and I bet the taste is out-of-this world delicious! What a great oven-proof dish too – gotta have one!

    • Sue says:

      Thanks Tricia ~ I use that shape pan all the time, everything cooks quickly and evenly and I love the final presentation.

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