Low-fat chicken biryani

Low-fat chicken biryani

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr, 35 mins Plus marinating


Serves 5
This fragrant Indian chicken curry with rice topping has half the fat of your normal takeaway, and it's low calorie

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal485
  • fat11.7g
  • saturates1.5g
  • carbs51.7g
  • sugars7.1g
  • fibre2.7g
  • protein40.1g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 3 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 5 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 600g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 4-5cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • good pinch saffron



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 4 medium onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
    Rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 5 green cardamom pod, lightly bashed to split
  • 3 clove



    The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety…

  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 280g basmati rice
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp garam masala
    Garam masala

    Garam masala

    gar-am mah-sarl-ah

    Meaning 'warming spice mix', garam masala is the main spice blend used in North Indian…

  • handful chopped coriander leaves


  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and yogurt with some pepper and ¼ tsp salt. Tip in the chicken pieces and stir to coat (see step 1, above). Cover and marinate in the fridge for about 1 hr or longer if you have time. Warm the milk to tepid, stir in the saffron and set aside.

  2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Slice each onion in half lengthways, reserve half and cut the other half into thin slices. Pour 1½ tbsp of the oil onto a baking tray, scatter over the sliced onion, toss to coat, then spread out in a thin, even layer (step 2). Roast for 40-45 mins, stirring halfway, until golden.

  3. When the chicken has marinated, thinly slice the reserved onion. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large sauté or frying pan. Fry the onion for 4-5 mins until golden. Stir in the chicken, a spoonful at a time, frying until it is no longer opaque, before adding the next spoonful (this helps to prevent the yogurt from curdling). Once the last of the chicken has been added, stir-fry for a further 5 mins until everything looks juicy. Scrape any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan, stir in the chilli powder, then pour in 100ml water, cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 mins. Remove and set aside.

  4. Cook the rice while the chicken simmers. Heat another 1 tbsp oil in a large sauté pan, then drop in the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and cumin seeds. Fry briefly until their aroma is released. Tip in the rice (step 3) and fry for 1 min, stirring constantly. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 8 mins or until all the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave with the lid on for a few mins, so the rice can fluff up. Stir the garam masala into the remaining 1½ tsp oil and set aside. When the onions are roasted, remove and reduce oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

  5. Spoon half the chicken and its juices into an ovenproof dish, about 25 x 18 x 6cm, then scatter over a third of the roasted onions. Remove the whole spices from the rice, then layer half of the rice over the chicken and onions. Drizzle over the spiced oil. Spoon over the rest of the chicken and a third more onions. Top with the remaining rice (step 4) and drizzle over the saffron-infused milk. Scatter over the rest of the onions, cover tightly with foil and heat through in the oven for about 25 mins. Serve scattered with the mint and coriander.

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Comments (17)

BrandonJ's picture

I fond of different kinds of recipes. I have a list of several recipes and I added this one to my list. I liked it a lot. Though it takes much time, but no matter, it's delicious and my all family members enjoyed it very much. Thank you Angenla for sharing the wonderful Low-fat chicken biryani recipe.

Mike313's picture

Maybe I need to go to Specsavers but ... what happens to the Garam Masala? It says "Stir the garam masala into the remaining 1½ tsp oil and set aside". Then it never mentions it again! HELP!

clarabell13's picture

It mentions adding the spiced oil halfway through step 5. Hope that helps!

pgant12's picture

Delicious but a bit of a faff

pastypete's picture

As with most people, this took a lot longer than advertised, closer to 3 hours. The onions were beginning to burn long before the roasting time had finished and the stated size for the ovenproof dish was woefully small. Apart from these niggles, the meal went down very well and was received by my guests with lots of contented (happy cow) murmers. Served with the tomato and cucumber raita. Yum!

frenjd's picture

Followed this recipe exactly, took nearly three hours but well worth it. Delicious and everyone enjoyed it, so much so I will double the amount next time.

emmajane1980's picture

The yogurt curdled but it didn't matter...clean plates all round! I would add some flaked almonds and perhaps some sultanas next time. Also served it with mango chutney and shop bought raita. The roasted onions really add an extra dimension of flavour.

mhefferon's picture

Really nice dish although takes some cooking time wise. The whole family enjoyed it.

wowbaker's picture

Really nice and flavorful outcome... I added my own twist for Indian palate.. a bit of coconut milk and tomato puree to the chicken gravy gave it extra thickness and flavor...

pewter's picture

Simply gorgeous !

traceyouthwaite's picture

Absolutely delicious, will definitely be making again

bezza110's picture

Well worth the effort we used 'fry light' instead of oil making it a very healthy fat free dish

treglyn's picture

Made this last night and it was a a great success, the only problem was everyone wanted more so I'll double it next time and serve naan bread and perhaps some curried chickpeas.
It does take a while to prepare though i don't know how many times I kept reading it, but don't let that put you off.
I even had some saffron in the cupboard so it was nice to use it up before the sell-by-date ran out.

ginny62's picture

easy to make and very tasty but took far longer than 25 mins to prepare!
Didn't include the saffron milk either. Served it with the raita and a vegetable curry.

bede1234's picture

Followed the recipe to the letter and everybody including 6 year old loved it. Really tasty. None left for tomorrow!

joankilleen's picture

My family liked this recipe and I would make it again. Baking the onions in the oven is a great idea and cuts down on a lot of fat.
However I would make some changes to the recipe. Firstly, although I used my largest frying pan, my yoghurt did curdle as I kept adding the chicken. So next time I'll remove the chicken after frying about half of it, fry the rest and then add it all back together for the last few minutes of frying. Hopefully that will prevent curdling.
Secondly, I prefer biryani where the rice has been washed thoroughly and then boiled for 6 minutes in a lot of water and then strained. The result is less starchy then the method described here. That would mean adding the whole spices to the chicken sauce rather than the rice.
And I also didn't use spiced oil and didn't miss it. I just added some garam masala before baking in the oven.

tuscanlucia's picture

tried this tonight, really nice flavours. I didn't add the milk infused saffron, but it turned out lovely anyway.

Questions (2)

Nickclarke17's picture

Hi in the calorie part above (485) is this the total for the recipe or per serving?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. The calorie count is per serving. Thanks, BBC Good Food web team

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