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Aida Khan's Biryani

Food to Aida is love, it's a way of coming together! This is one of her traditional dishes from their home.

Naani Biryani (Grandma’s Biryani)

Serves 6

Prep 20 minutes

Cook 1 hr 15 minutes


400g basmati rice

200ml sunflower oil

150g red onions, sliced

30g garlic paste

30g ginger paste

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 cinnamon stick

200g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped

400g tinned tomatoes, pureed

200g potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp salt

2 tsp turmeric

½ tsp white pepper

Pinch ground nutmeg

Pinch mace or one small blade

500g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

250g full-fat natural yogurt

30g chopped coriander leaves

250ml good quality chicken stock, plus a little extra


1. Rinse rice a few times until the water runs clear and leave to soak.

2. Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4.

3. In a heavy-based ovenproof pan sauté the onions, garlic paste and ginger paste in the oil until fragrant.

4. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cinnamon stick and fry for another minute until the oils release.

5. Add fresh and tinned tomatoes, potatoes, ground coriander, salt, turmeric, white pepper, ground nutmeg and mace. Give it all a good stir over a medium heat and cook until a thick curry consistency is formed and potatoes are half cooked, about 5-6 minutes.

6. Stir in the chicken and make sure it is coated in the sauce.

7. Once the chicken starts to cook (5-6 minutes) stir in the yogurt and let the curry simmer on low heat for a further 6-8 minutes.

8. Mix in fresh coriander leaves.

9. Strain the rice and add into the curry, do not stir too much to prevent breaking up the rice grains. Add half of the stock to make sure there is enough liquid in the rice and chicken. Adding the rest of the stock if the biryani dries out too much when cooking.

10. Bring to boil on high heat.

11. Remove from the heat and cover and transfer to the oven.

12. Naani Biryani will be ready in about 40 minutes.

13. Remove from the oven and gently fluff rice and serve with raita if liked (see recipe below).

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