Bringing the Spice: Cheat’s Biryani

Please excuse me, I know it has been a while. But… we’re back!

Of course, it’s only right to kick off the summer with a SORTEDFood recipe. Here it is: Linnea and Giulian’s take on their Cheat’s Chicken Biryani.


For starters you’ll need:

  • 250 g basmati rice – we used 1 1/3 cups, which is about 255 g
  • 1 red onion – the recipe calls for two, but one is mainly for garnish and yikes that’s a lot of onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 g ginger
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on – we only made 2 thighs this time but we’ve made it before with more
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 small handful of raisins
  • 125 g of spinach – I opted for more, because spinach is great
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 100 ml chicken stock

For garnish: a lemon and plain yoghurt

Preheat your oven to 350° F and let’s get on with it.

Throw your rice in a bowl with cold water to soak for a bit. If you’re short on time, you can just rinse it through a few times, but we like to let ours have a nice soak when we can. Put a pot of water for the rice on and bring it to a boil. While that’s going, slice the onion and mince the garlic and ginger. Find a nice big oven proof frying pan and heat about a tbsp of butter on medium-high until it’s foaming. Season the chicken with salt and place them into the pan, skin side down, to crisp up for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the chicken fries, get the rice cooking. Drain it from the bowl it was soaking in and add it to the boiling water. Boil for 6 minutes, until barely cooked and still slightly crunchy, and then drain.

Next, get your tomato puree, raisins, and spices ready. Garam masala is a spice blend that you should be able to find if you actually live near civilization, but here in our little cornfield we didn’t have any. So, we did our best.


Here’s as close as I could get, using the spices on hand. I used this recipe as a guide, but my proportions were pretty approximate and we were missing two or three things all together.

Once your chicken is golden, add the onions, garlic, and ginger and allow them to soften for 5 minutes or so.


Once they’ve gone soft, add the spices (garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder), tomato puree, and raisins and give it a good stirring. Let that fry for a few more minutes and then take the chicken out of the mix.

Here’s where you throw the spinach in to wilt a little, then stir in the rice until the spices are nicely marbled through. Place the chicken back on top, pour the stock over the whole dish, and scatter little cubes of butter across the rice (about 1-2 tbsp worth in total). This all goes into the oven for 15 minutes until the rice goes dry on top.


When it comes out, garnish with lemon wedges and more sliced red onion, if you wish. Have some plain greek yoghurt on hand as well. It’s pretty damn good.

Thanks to AllClad for this amazing pan and SORTEDFood for the constant food inspiration.



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