Chicken Biryani cooked in Coconut milk

chicken biryani cooked in coconut milkThis is yet another biryani variant. Here we cook the rice and marinated chicken in coconut milk and whole spices which yields a delightfully mellow, aromatic biryani and perfectly seasoned, succulent chicken that has soaked up all the wonderful masala. This biryani tastes great with raita, boiled eggs and a hot spicy gravy. I used only half the chilli powder that I’ve specified in the recipe so that my kids don’t find it too hot. But feel free to adjust it as per your taste. Biryani is the firm favourite of the entire family and we make it at-least once in 2 weeks. My kids are so fond of biryani and they’re so familiar with the usual party menus that embarrassingly enough every time we go to a party, my kids loudly demand biryani and that even before the buffet is open. Vegetable biryani or pulav is also biryani to them.

Every home has its own biryani recipe and biryani is always made in that way and in no other way. I’d strongly recommend that you try a new biryani recipe every time you make biryani. Really, there are so many ways to make biryani, that you may find a recipe that’s even better than your standard recipe. I can safely say that this won’t be the last variant that I am posting.

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 5-6


Chicken – 1/2 kilo
Basmati Rice – 3 cups
Coconut milk – extracted from 1 medium coconut – roughly 2 cups
Onions – 2 large sliced thinly
Tomatoes – 2 large chopped
Cloves – 3
Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
Star anise – 1
Marathi Moggu – 1 inch piece
Green Cardamom – 2
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Kalpaasi/Sea weed – a big pinch, roughly 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp (optional)
Oil – 4 tbsp
Ghee – 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnish
Salt to taste


Ginger – 2 inch piece
Garlic – 6-8 cloves
Green chillies – 3 chopped
Fennel seeds/Sombu – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


1.      Rinse basmati rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak the rinsed rice in water. Set aside.

2.      Wash and clean chicken, cut into big pieces and set aside.

3.      Grind together the ingredients called for under marinade except the spice powders to a smooth paste. Dump the marinade in a large bowl, add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt, mix well. Tip the chicken pieces into the marinade and mix well so that all the chicken pieces are evenly coated with the marinade. Cover and let marinate for half an hour.

4.      Extract coconut milk and set aside.

5.      In a pressure cooker, add 4tbsp oil and 4 tbsp ghee and when hot, add the fennel seeds and fry till fragrant. Then add the whole spices – cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, kalpaasi, star anise and Marathi moggu and stir around.

6.      Drop in the sliced onions and sauté till translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes are soft and mushy.

7.      Tip in the marinated chicken along with the marinade and mix well. Add 1 tbsp red chilli powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder and garam masala powder if using. Mix well and use an upturned cooker lid to cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and stir around at intervals. By this time the chicken should be cooked and the oil separated.

1.      Drain the water and add the soaked basmati rice. Mix gently. Pour in the coconut milk. Stir gently. Use your index finger to measure the water level above the rice mixture. It should be just a little above the first line on your index finger (about an inch or so). If the liquid is less than this, add water. Stir, taste and adjust salt.

8.      Cover with the pressure cooker lid and cook on high till steam emanates. Then reduce to low, plug in the weight and cook for 10-12 minutes. Whether you hear a whistle or not, switch off after this time.

9.      Let the steam escape. Uncover and drizzle 1 tbsp ghee along the edges on the cooker. Drop in the chopped coriander leaves. Use a fork to gently fluff up the rice so that the rice doesn’t clump up as it cools down. Cover again to keep warm.

10.   Serve hot with raita and boiled eggs.