Frugal Foreigner: Indian Biryani Recipe

Indian Biryani Recipe: Spices
Spices used in Biryani

I’ve had a few requests for Indian . I’ve had a hard time figuring them out because no one measures, or writes anything down. I watched very carefully a few times while my house helper made biryani and now I can pass this recipe on to you.

A few notes: Biryani usually contains vegetables or chicken, or beef, or mutton. For some reason vegetables are never mixed with the meat. I break this rule and just add chicken in with the vegetables. You can do either or both if you like.

Indian food uses a lot of different spices, which makes the ingredient list overwhelming.  If you don’t have something, feel free to leave it out. We leave out the cardamom because I can’t stand it. You can also add more chili powder if you like heat. This amount is not spicy at all. Garam Masala is an Indian spice mix. I have seen it at Walmart, believe it or not. Also, you can buy packaged garlic-ginger paste and use 2 teaspoons of that instead of fresh.

Veg and/or Chicken Biryani Ingredients
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced or pureed
1 teaspoon ginger, minced or pureed
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon coriander leaf (cilantro)
1 teaspoon mint leaf
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup sliced green beans
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 lb cubed chicken
1 cup rice
2 cups water

How to make Indian Biryani

1. Heat a heavy pot over medium heat.

2. Cook bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom and onion in oil until onion is soft.

3. Add garlic and ginger pastes and tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add yogurt, cilantro, mint, and dry spices.

Frugal Foreigner: Indian Biryani Recipe

5. Stir in veggies and/or chicken.

6. Add rice and water.

7. Cook until rice and chicken are done.Frugal Foreigner: Indian Biryani Recipe

Raita is a condiment served with spicy dishes to cool the palate. To make Raita, just mix all of the ingredients.

Raita Recipe
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
dash salt

If you’re new to my posts, read all about what we’re doing in India here! You can read all previous posts in the series here.


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