Low-fat chicken biryani

Low-fat chicken biryani

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(22 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 cloves, 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



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • 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 onions



    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 pods, lightly bashed to split
  • 3 cloves



    A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

  • 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, questions and tips

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mrsjroberts's picture
16th Nov, 2017
What a delicious recipe! Well worth the time and effort. I hadn't cooked biryani before so I was very happy with the results! I used fry light and fat free yogurt to make this even healthier. I questioned the amount of onions but I think it could have taken more for the layers. The fried onions did need the 45 minutes but I turned them 3 times during cooking. I will absolutely be making this regularly especially if my husbands 2.5 helpings are anything to rate it by! Think I will add a layer of spinach next time to up the green count.
11th Jun, 2017
This took a long time and was labor and pot intensive. I roasted the onions for 20 mins at 170 followed by 20 mins at 200 degrees, they still dried out and went brown enough for me. next time i would add more chili powder but it was really tasty, there will definitely be a next time.
16th Feb, 2017
Very bad on recipe and on ingredients, Where is the Mint on the list? 2nd to this the oven is far to high for the onions. 4 onions, take two and slice keep two aside for later. This step 2 this and step 3 that makes no sense at all. I am half way through trying to sort this recipe out. I hope it tastes good because the recipe is lacking.
14th May, 2014
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.
7th Apr, 2014
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!
6th Oct, 2014
It mentions adding the spiced oil halfway through step 5. Hope that helps!
26th Jan, 2014
Delicious but a bit of a faff
8th Jan, 2014
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!
5th Jan, 2014
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.
21st Apr, 2013
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.


6th Jan, 2014
Hi in the calorie part above (485) is this the total for the recipe or per serving?
goodfoodteam's picture
13th Jan, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. The calorie count is per serving. Thanks, BBC Good Food web team
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