Healthy Hints

Contrary to popular belief, a Biryani can be made healthy by avoiding deep fried onions and potatoes. The oil in this recipe has been significantly reduced by opting for fresh onions, fried in less oil versus fried packet onions, and shallow frying the potatoes. Watching your salt intake? Consider using less salt and adding more herbs to boost flavour. Complement you portion of Biryani with a healthy green salad to create a more balanced meal.



250 g (1 cup) plain yoghurt, 2% fat

2 large tomatoes

½ tsp cumin powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp mace

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

2 green chillies, finely chopped

8 dried plums

1 tsp saffron

2 extra large onions

3 tsp salt

1 whole chicken, skinned and cut into 8 medium pieces

570 g (3 cups) basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 20 mins

85 ml sunflower oil

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

6 green cardamom

6 black peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp cumin seeds

50 g (1 cup) fresh coriander, rinsed and chopped

50 g (1 cup) fresh mint, rinsed and chopped

What does this chart mean?

Serving Weight 360 g
  • Calories609kcal
  • Protein24.0g
  • Fat15.3g
  • Saturated fat2.5g
  • Trans fat0.2g
  • Cholesterol43.0mg
  • Carbohydrate93.7g
  • Sugars (Total)8.5g
  • Fibre5.8g
  • Sodium960.00mg
  • Salt2.4g
  • Iron2.6mg
  • Vitamin A92.6RAE
  • Vitamin C62.1mg
  • Vitamin D0.2mcg
  • Vitamin B120.4mcg
  • Potassium1055.0mg


  1. In a large bowl, Mix together the yoghurt, tomatoes, spice powders, garlic, ginger, green chillies, plums, half a teaspoon of the saffron and salt.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and mix thoroughly to ensure that all the chicken pieces are coated. Cover and set aside to marinade for 2 hours.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Drain the rice and add to the water.
  4. Allow the water to boil and cook for 5 minutes, until the rice is par-cooked. Drain the rice into a strainer and allow to cool.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Fry the potatoes on a medium to high heat for 6 minutes. The potatoes should be half cooked through and light golden brown in colour. Remove and set aside.
  6. Warm the milk and add the remaining saffron. Stir and set aside.
  7. In a large saucepan, heat all but 1 teaspoon of the oil on a high heat. Add the onions and stir. After 4 minutes add half of the whole spices, excluding the cumin.
  8. Fry until golden brown. Stir frequently to ensure they brown evenly and do not stick to the base. 
  9. Add the chicken pieces together with all the marinade and stir. Cook over a low - medium heat for 12 - 15 minutes until the chicken is nearly cooked through and is starting to come away from the bone. Stir frequently to prevent the mixture from sticking. Ensure the chicken mixture does not dry out too much. 1-2 tbsp of water can be added. 
  10. Reduce to a low heat. Add the potatoes to the chicken, together with half of the coriander and mint. Lightly mix so as not to break up the potatoes.
  11. Layer the the drained rice over the chicken and potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of warm water to the milk and saffron. Stir and pour over the rice.
  12. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a small frying pan and add the remaining whole garam masala and cumin seeds. Allow to fry briefly and pour the oil and spices over the top of the rice. Add the remaining coriander and mint. 
  13. Cover the pan tightly and cook over a low heat for 20 - 25 minutes. The rice will will finish cooking and will puff up and take on some of the flavour from the chicken and spices. Ensure that the chicken is cooked through. 
  14. To serve, remove the rice on to a large serving plate, and layer the chicken over the top of the rice. 
  15. Optionally, halved hard boiled eggs can be added to the biryani.

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