Biriyani: Aromatic Chicken/Vegetable Rice


This spicy, hearty and zesty dish is a melting pot of flavors of Indo-Persian origin. The meat caters to the protein value, the vegetables to the vitamins and minerals, the spices add a ton of antioxidants and medicinal value to the food, and the grains contributing to healthy carbs/energy. This combination makes it the perfect one-pot wholesome meal.

The traditional name is Biryani, and is the favored dish for most celebrations because of the rich taste and flavor of the food. Because of its richness, it is paired with a more subtle side like yogurt salad (yogurt with onions, tomatoes, chopped cilantro).

Making Biriyani in MEC is so much healthier and also easier as a. only 1/6 of the oil is needed, b. no need to marinate the chicken for a long hours, c. no need to cook rice in a different pot/pan. Rice will cook beautifully in the same pot, without getting mushy. d. and the recipe overall takes less time to cook! And of course the fundamental benefits of cooking in MEC: your food is not contaminated with toxins, and nutrients are not damaged so the food is nutritionally dense.

Serves 5 People | Cooking Time: 40 Minutes



Marinate chicken for about 30 minutes in:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. of MEC yogurt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (an aromatic mixture of ground spices used in Indian cooking, usually containing black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp salt.

You can use either bone in or boneless chicken. We prefer bone in chicken!

Other Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-sized onions, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized potato, chopped to approximately 1″ size
  • 1 medium-sized tomato (optional), chopped
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup peas (optional)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice – wash and drain rice and set aside.
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • Salt to taste, oil – 2 tsp.


  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed slightly
  • 3 cloves cardamom
  • 1/2 cup fresh-washed mint leaves, chopped finely (if using dried mint leaves, use 1/3 cup)
  • 2 chopped 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander powder
  • 2-3 bay leaf
  • 1-3 red chilis (mild, medium, or spicy)
  • 1″ ginger, crushed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed

Vegetarian Version:

Instead of chicken, choose 2-3 cups of 4 different veggies from the following:

  • Carrots
  • String beans
  • Snow peas
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms

How to Cook Aromatic Chicken Biryani:

Start stove on low heat.

  1. Add 2 tsp. of pure cooking oil to the pot, then add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, onions, ginger, and garlic.

2. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 5-7 minutes covered.

  • Add chicken, mint leaves, coriander leaves, and red chili. Stir, increase heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, and if adding other veggies – add now along with chili powder and garam masala.

3. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes

  • Add basmati rice (washed and drained).

4. Stir thoroughly with spices in the pot.

Add water and salt to taste. Stir, cover, and cook until rice is cooked (20-25 mins).

Your aromatic biryani is ready to serve!

Recipe Notes:

  • Because the pot will already have some water/liquids from the chicken and the steam from vegetables, the water added later with the rice will be less. Gauge the water in the pot before adding more water with the rice. For this recipe, there should be about 1 to 1.5 cups of water, so you would add 2.5 cups more to make 4 cups of water for 2 cups of rice.
  • No need to marinate vegetables for Vegetable Biriyani.