|March 18, 2023

CHICKEN TIKKA BIRYANI: BIRYANI AND CHICKEN TIKKA FUSION

Take one of the best-loved chicken curries — i.e., Chicken Tikka Masala — and layer it into a pot of sumptuous, mouthwatering chicken biryani! 

Agreed, it is a labor of love but in the end, you’ll have the mother of all party dishes, that combines the best of both legendary dishes – the fantastic Chicken Tikka Biryani!

Chicken Tikka Masala Biryani or Murgh Biryani (also called Chicken Breyani in many parts of the country) can be rightly called “the best of chicken and biryani”. Here, fluffy, separate grains of long-grain basmati rice is gently layered with fresh herbs and succulent pieces of chicken in a curry that has a mild hum of heat. 

When you’re done, you will have prepared a feast for the ages. You can cook the chicken tikka (i.e., chicken pieces) either on a stove, under the broiler, or the best option of them all, on the grill.

But what exactly is Chicken Tikka Masala Biryani?

If there's one dish guaranteed to be on the menu of almost every Indian restaurant, it has to be Chicken Tikka Masala. Here, the chicken curry consists of grilled or broiled chunks of chicken enveloped in a creamy spiced tomato sauce.

You’ll find several varieties of Chicken Biryani across India. For instance, Tamil Nadu has the iconic Chicken Biryani Tamil that is commonly eaten everywhere across the South Indian state. Then there are other variants like chicken biryani instant pot, butter chicken biryani, and tandoori chicken biryani. There’s even a chicken biryani with a Chinese twist called the Chicken 65 Biryani! 

That’s the legacy of this lip-smacker!

And with the advent of online food ordering platforms, you can now easily and quickly order Chicken Tikka Biryani from the comfort of your home. Just type in “chicken biryani near me”, “best chicken biryani near me” or “biryani chicken biryani” and you’ll be instantly greeted with the list of the best restaurants offering chicken biryani in your immediate vicinity.

What's behind this dish's tremendous popularity?

There’s a good enough reason. Tomato sauce has universal appeal. When the chicken biryani masala is eaten with naan bread, it feels like an Indian version of pizza!

With this recipe, you are just 45 minutes away from a lip-smacking chicken dum biryani that is also tastier, fresher, healthier, and cheaper than anything you can take out!

So, the combination of a delicious chicken curry layered with fragrant, fluffy rice can be described as a “marriage made in heaven”. Scroll down for instructions on how to make boneless chicken biryani in stages.

After you have made biryani once or twice, you will slowly start enjoying the rhythm of it and have that oh-so-full-of-flavor Chicken Tikka Masala Biryani to wow your guests and send them into culinary ecstasy. And make quick 4-ingredient raita to go alongside.

This recipe is written for both beginners and advanced cooks alike, with all the tips and tricks you need.

CHICKEN TIKKA BIRYANI: BIRYANI AND CHICKEN TIKKA FUSION

If there's one dish guaranteed to be on the menu of almost every Indian restaurant, it has to be Chicken Tikka Biryani. This article describes everything about lip-smacking chicken tikka biryani that is also tastier, fresher, healthier, and cheaper than anything you can take out!
Print Recipe

For the Chicken Marinade

  • 2 pounds - Skinless boneless chicken thighs (If you’re grilling the chicken, leave the thighs whole. Else, cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup - Plain whole-milk yogurt (Greek-style, if possible)
  • 2 tbsp - Oil
  • 2 tbsp - Finely minced garlic paste (2 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp - Lemon juice
  • ½ tsp - Table salt (Or 1 teaspoon Kosher salt)

For the Fried Onions

  • ½ cup - Oil
  • 2 Cups - Thinly, evenly sliced onion

For the biryani sauce

  • 2 tbsp - Ghee or oil (you can use the leftover oil from frying the onions)
  • 1-½  cup - Finely minced onions
  • ½ tsp - Sea or table salt (Or 1 teaspoon Kosher salt)
  • 1 tbsp - Ginger paste
  • 1 tsp - Finely minced green chili (Optional. You can add more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp - Ground coriander (or Alcoeats Coriander Powder)
  • 1-½ tsp - Ground cumin (or Alcoeats Cumin Powder)
  • 1 tsp - Alcoeats Kashmiri red chili powder, or ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne (More/less as per taste). 
  • 1/2 tsp - Paprika
  • ½ tsp - Smoked paprika (or additional ½ teaspoon of regular paprika)
  • 1-½ cups - Tomato sauce or purée (Or freshly chopped tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup - Water
  • 2 tbsp - Butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup - Heavy cream
  • ¼ cup - Chopped cilantro (½ cup more for layering)

Ingredients for biryani rice

  • 6 cups - Water
  • 2 cups - Aged basmati rice
  • 1 - Cinnamon stick
  • 8 - Whole cloves
  • 4 - Whole green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp - Sea or table salt

For Layering your Biryani

  • 3 tbsp - Chopped mint
  • 3 tbsp - Chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp - Ghee (Or melted butter)
  • Fried onions (listed above)

Ingredients explained

  • Ground spices: Coriander, cumin, Alcoeats Kashmiri chili powder (or cayenne), and paprika
  • Whole spices for additional flavor: Cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom
  • Aromatics: The usual triumvirate of ginger, garlic, and onion is an absolute must. 
  • Fresh herbs: The combination of mint and cilantro add a unique freshness and aroma that takes your chicken biryani to a different level altogether.
  • Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes work the best. Avoid diced tomatoes. You can also use canned tomato sauce that’s found in local supermarkets.
  • Chicken: The best cut of chicken is the thigh. In this recipe, you will want skinless and boneless chicken. Although you can also use chicken breast, you’ll need to be extra careful so as not to overcook it.
  • Rice for the biryani: Ideally, long-grain premium Basmati rice should be the first choice for biryani. As rice is the star of the show, always be sure to find a top-quality brand that you like. 
  • Optional ingredients: Ghee, cream or half and half, and lemon juice.

How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala Biryani

This recipe can be broken into 7 distinct stages. Let’s start now!

Marinade the chicken

Mix all the marinade ingredients (except the chicken). Trim the thighs. Now, if you’re grilling the chicken, leave them whole. Else, cut them into a few chunks depending on their size. Stir into the marinade and coat well. Cover and put it in your refrigerator. Try to marinate the chicken as long as you can, or up to 48 hours.

Fry the onions

Ideally, your fried onions should be one step away from being dark and crispy enough to move to a paper towel. 

Prepare the chicken sauce (i.e., the masala)

Starting with the onions, cook until the edges begin to turn golden, then add the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for several minutes, then add the spices. Cook for a minute and then stir in the tomato sauce and water. Finally, cook the entire mix for about 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

How to Make Biryani Rice

In around 6 cups of boiling water, add the whole spices, salt, and rinsed rice. Simmer it uncovered on medium heat for around 8 - 10 minutes, or until the rice is well-cooked with just a tiny opaque core.

Cook the chicken

The chicken for your biryani can be either grilled, broiled, or sautéed on the stovetop. For chicken tikka biryani, ideally, the chicken should be cooked all the way through.

  • If you’re Grilling: If you prefer to use the grill, cut the thighs into bite-sized chunks, and put them in the grill.
  • If you’re Broiling: Heat the broiler. Now, line a baking sheet with foil and top it with a well-oiled cooling rack. Place your chicken pieces on the rack and broil for 4 minutes on either side.
  • If you’re using the Stove: Add some oil to a frying pan, over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add the chicken pieces and cook on either side for around 3 to 5 minutes. Keep cooking till the chicken turns a nice brown and is cooked all the way through.

Layer the biryani

This recipe has four distinct layers i.e., 2 layers of rice and 2 layers of sauced chicken.

  • Layer 1: This layer would consist of half the chicken masala with 2 tablespoons each of mint and cilantro stirred in.
  • Layer 2: This layer should have half the biryani rice, garnished with a drizzle of 1 teaspoon of ghee. On top of this, sprinkle 2 tablespoons each of the mint and cilantro, and also add 1/3rd of fried onions.
  • Layer 3: This layer would be the 2nd half of the chicken. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons each of mint and cilantro here too, and another 1/3rd of the fried onions.
  • Layer 4: This is the top layer. Here, gently layer the 2nd half of the rice. Then drizzle the remaining 1 teaspoon of ghee, and sprinkle 2 more tablespoons each of mint and cilantro, and the final 1/3rd of the fried onions. 

The last 25 minutes

  • If you’re using the stove: In this final stage, cover your biryani with a tight lid and cook on a medium-high flame for around 2 minutes. Then dial down the heat to medium to low and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Finally, turn the heat off and let the biryani rest untouched and undisturbed for around 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If you’re using an oven: Preheat your oven to about 350°F (i.e., 180°C) and ensure that the rack is in the middle of the oven. Now, cover the oven with a heavy lid (or top it with aluminum foil), for a tight, secure seal. Heat the chicken tikka biryani for about 20 minutes so that the rice and chicken can steam together.

FAQs on Chicken Tikka

What is the difference between chicken tikka biryani and chicken biryani?

Chicken tikka biryani is a delicious rice-based dish made out of basmati rice, boneless chicken, and several exotic and flavorful spices. Chicken Tikka Biryani is generally spicier & creamier than normal Chicken Biryani.

What is the difference between biryani and pulao?

In biryani, long-grain basmati rice is cooked separately and then layered with either mutton or chicken. But in pulao, the rice is added to the pot along with meat and sauce and everything is mixed and cooked together.

What is special about chicken tikka?

Chicken tikka masala is a rice dish that consists of marinated boneless chicken pieces that are traditionally cooked in a tandoor and then served in a spiced tomato-cream sauce.

What is the difference between tikka and tandoori?

Chicken tikka generally is made from skinless and boneless chunks of chicken usually taken from the breast, whereas tandoori chicken can be prepared with both half and full chicken. When preparing Tandoori Chicken, usually, legs, breasts, and wings are used. Tandoori chicken is not boneless.

Is chicken tikka healthy?

Like many Indian dishes that were originally low-fat, the modern recipe for chicken tikka masala is anything but healthy. An average portion of Chicken Tikka Masala has a whopping 1,249 calories and a huge 90.8 grams of fat. A lot of these calories and fat come from the ghee and heavy cream used in preparing Chicken Tikka.

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