• Quick and easy biryani (Asia Unplated with Diana Chan)Source: Asia Unplated with Diana Chan

Ok so Sashi Cheliah's quick and easy biryani still has a few steps to work through but they're crucial if you want to enjoy the real thing.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (215 votes)


Chicken masala

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, quartered lengthways
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • ½ stick cinnamon, broken
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup curry powder
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, quartered
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 10 curry leaves


  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) unsalted cashews
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ stick cinnamon 
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato
  • 30 g raisins
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot
  • 200 g (1 cup) long grain basmati rice
  • 100 ml evaporated milk
  • pinch saffron threads

To serve

  • fresh coriander and mint

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time: 10 minutes

1. For the chicken masala, heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, chilli, star anise, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the tomato and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the curry powder, reduce the heat to low and cook until the oil separates from the paste. Add the chicken, salt and sugar and turn to coat the chicken well with curry paste. Add the curry leaves and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is browned, then remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, for the rice, melt the ghee in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cashews, star anise, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for 3-4 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add the onion, tomato, raisins and pandan leaves and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the onion is light golden. Add the rice and stir to combine well. Remove half the rice from the pan and set aside until needed.

3. To assemble, place half the chicken masala on top of the rice in the pan, then cover with the remaining rice and chicken. Combine the evaporated milk, saffron threads and 300 ml water in a jug, then pour slowly down the edge of the pan. Bring the rice to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid, cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

4. To serve, use a fork to fluff up the rice, then scatter with the coriander and mint.



Diana Chan is exploring the many dishes of Asia within Australia in the brand-new series, Asia Unplated with Diana Chan.