I got my mom on my youtube channel to share how she makes her famous biryani – with a Kenyan twist. Biryani is an Indian style dish that’s a combination of rich spices, rice, meat and/or vegetables. We added a Kenyan (Swahili) twist in the marination process by substituting cream with coconut milk, and WOW. Talk about flavor galore! They’re also a tonne of ways to make this dish. You can use veggies, beef, tofu, seafood. The options are limitless so feel free to tailor this recipe to your needs.

A few pros about this dish (I know we don’t need any convincing cause the taste definitely speaks for itself!) is that it’s:

  1. Perfect for parties. The one we made was able to serve 8 people and then some!
  2. A one pot meal, so say goodbye to piles of dishes!
  3. Inexpensive. The whole meal was less than $20.

Hope you all enjoy the recipe! And don’t forget to Subscribe to my youtube channel!

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Kenyan Chicken Biryani Recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Biriyani
  • 10-12 chicken pieces (Mix of drumsticks and thighs)
  • 2 cups pre-cooked rice
  • 4 small potatoes (peeled, halved and pre-cooked)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 cup onions
  • 1/2 of spices mix (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 /2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon whole cardamoms
  • 2 (2inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon golden yellow food coloring
Chicken Marinade
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons crushed fresh ginger
  • 1/2 spices mix (recipe below)
Spices Mix
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons chicken masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground chilli
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
Biryani Gravy
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock/water
  • corn starch
  • leftover onion/spices mixture
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Biriyani
  • 10-12 chicken pieces (Mix of drumsticks and thighs)
  • 2 cups pre-cooked rice
  • 4 small potatoes (peeled, halved and pre-cooked)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 cup onions
  • 1/2 of spices mix (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 /2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon whole cardamoms
  • 2 (2inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon golden yellow food coloring
Chicken Marinade
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons crushed fresh ginger
  • 1/2 spices mix (recipe below)
Spices Mix
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons chicken masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground chilli
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
Biryani Gravy
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock/water
  • corn starch
  • leftover onion/spices mixture
Instructions
Prepare the ingredients
  1. Start by preparing the ingredients that you need to assemble the biriyani. Ideally, the prep work would begin a day before.
  2. Prepare the spices mix by combining all the ingredients into a bowl. Half of it will be used for the marinade and the other half used for frying.
  3. Combine all the marinade ingredients and add the chicken pieces. Mix well and let sit in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.
  4. Prepare the rice and leave it to cool, (it's best when the rice is at room temperature so it's not sticky)
  5. Peel potatoes and cut them into halves (medium potatoes) or quarters (large potatoes) and pan fry for 5-10 minutes till slightly tender.
Cook the chicken
  1. Heat oil in the pan then add onions and fry till slightly browned
  2. Add garlic and ginger to the pan and fry for a few minutes till fragrant.
  3. Add in the rest of the spices mix and blend all the ingredients together
  4. Now, add in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and fry together.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste then add in the cardamoms, cinammon sticks and bay leaves.
  6. Cover the mixture with a lid and leave to cook for 5 minutes on moderate heat.
  7. After 5 minutes, the mixture should be thicker. Next proceed to add 1/2 cup of coconut cream and mint leaves.
  8. After 1-2 minutes, add the chicken and mix it to ensure all the chicken is covered in the tomatoes mixture. Add about half a cup of water then do one final stir then cover and leave to cook on low heat for the next 30-35 minutes.
  9. Check back on the chicken after 15 minute intervals and stir to ensure it doesn't burn. (While waiting for the chicken you can color the rice and chop up the rest of ingredients)
  10. After the chicken is ready, scoop out any excess oil that forms on the top of the mixture and move it to a separate container. The oil will be used to flavor the rice when assembling the biryani.
  11. Next, scoop the chicken out of the pot but be mindful to leave the liquid and the onion mixture at the bottom of the pan.
  12. After the chicken has been removed, scoop out the onion and spices mixture, leaving just a little bit at the bottom, and transfer to another bowl.
Biriyani Assembly
  1. Prepare to color the rice by combining water and half a teaspoon of the golden yellow coloring and mix in a separate bowl.
  2. Break up the rice with a fork and make sure its separated. Next, take a teaspoon of the color and sprinkle it into the rice. Making sure that you keep mixing it with a fork so that you can spread the color around so you can get a blend of white and yellow.
  3. After the rice is done, begin assembling the biryani.
  4. Start by adding the rice to the bottom of the pot (make sure there's a little bit of liquid at the bottom so it doesn't burn). Ensure that you cook on the lowest heat possible.
  5. Next, add the chicken pieces, potatoes, drops of leftover oil and top with cilantro (dania), and/or mint. Depending on your flavor preferences. Then repeat.
  6. Finish off the top of the dish with a layer of rice and add the leftover oil then cover the dish and let it heat through for 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the gravy.
Biryani Gravy
  1. Heat up a small saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Take the onion and spice mixture that was scooped out and add into the saucepan
  3. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Create a mixture with cornstarch and water (2 teaspoons to half a cup of water) then add to the pot in 2-minute intervals until reached desired thickness.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Biryani should now be ready! Garnish the top of the biryani with cilantro and Serve with kachumbari! Enjoy!
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