Tuesday, 21 March 2017



Biryani is a mixed rice dish from India, made with a spicy sauce and either with Chicken, Mutton or vegetables. The dish looks similar to Jollof rice, however it's different in its cooking method and taste.


The number of spices used for Biryani is exhaustive, however it's worth every spice. There are spice blends that include chunky dried Prunes ,however the base of the spice mix including black & Green Cardamom, Bay leaves, Chilli powder, Turmeric and more are present in most spice blends. 
Biryani gets its distinctive taste from the spice blend used.
I used a pre blended Biryani spice mix for my first recipe, (which I purchased from an Asian shop), however I decided to make my own blend for this recipe. 


Biryani can be time consuming, however this recipe shows you how to cut the cooking time in half.
I'll update my blog with the Biryani spice blend soon, in the meantime you can purchase the spice blend in most Indian shops.


For this recipe I opted for Fish (Sea Bream)as it's what I had available. Personally, I think that was the best decision I made. I tossed the fish in flour and fried in oil till crispy.  

I served the Biryani with a tangy baby Spinach and Red Onion salad, which paired perfectly well. 
To make the Salad;
 Place your washed Spinach in a bowl, add finely chopped Red Onions and diced Avocado. 

Salad Dressing 
For the dressing add 1 tablespoonful of White Wine Vinegar,3 tablespoonful of Olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. 

You can serve your Biryani with Raita or something sour.
In perfecting the recipe, I noticed it's easy for one to add too much spice (which can overpower the dish). The addition of Yoghurt helps to curb the overpowering spice flavour.

Keep an eye on the rice when par boiling (to prevent it from over cooking). Mushy rice Biryani is a big 'No no'.

No sooner had I put a picture up on my Instagram page, did a few comments suggest it was Jollof rice and me refuting their suggestions. 

When making Jollof rice, the rice is cooked in a rich tomato sauce until tender. 
Biryani includes using both Tomato stew and its special spice blend.  The rice is par boiled separately (not cooked)and then layered with the sauce, dough is used to seal the pot (to trap in the steam) and steamed till its tender. 

In a previous post I emphasised the importance of making enough Tomatoes stew and freezing the rest. This came in handy and cut my cooking time in half when making this Biryani.
Find the recipe by clicking 'Tomato Stew'.


If you choose to use Mutton for this recipe, marinate the Mutton with the Biryani spice blend for a minimum of an hour (best results try marinating it overnight). 

Once marinated, place it in a saucepan, add water and steam it till its tender. Once cooked, add the Tomato stew and follow the rest of the recipe. 

You can add butter beans, grilled Courgettes or grilled cauliflower. Alternatively use your preferred Vegetables.

If you're using Saffron , soak it in 20ml of hot water and set aside. 

Once my Biryani was cooked , I added the Yoghurt to the Biryani rice and mixed well, before serving (this gave the dish a lovely tangy taste).
 You can use the Yoghurt to make a Raita to serve with your Biryani.

When the Biryani was ready I couldn't help but quickly serve myself a portion and literally scoffed it down (I was hungry). 

Enough of my chit chat, let's get cooking.


For the list of Ingredients, you'll need;

350g of Basmati rice
I litre of hot water
300g of Tomato stew
3 tablespoonfuls of Biryani spice blend
2 tablespoonful of Ghee which is optional 
3 tablespoonful of natural Yoghurt 
20g of chopped Coriander 
Saffron (optional)
Salt to taste

Pour the water and Basmati rice into a saucepan and place on a high heat. 

Once the water comes to a boil , drain the water from the rice  using a colander and set aside.(This should take about 6 minutes).

Please note the rice still cooks in its steam, even when drained off water.

In a saucepan or Clay pot warm your Tomato stew on a medium heat.
Add the Biryani spice blend and cook for 5 minutes.

 Ensure you stir the mixture to prevent it from burning.
At this stage add the Yoghurt to the sauce, decrease the heat to its lowest settings and stir.

Add the par-boiled rice to the spiced Tomato mixture and spread evenly over the top, as shown above. Don't be tempted to stir at this stage.

At this stage, evenly pour the Saffron juice over the rice.
Seal the rice with Kitchen foil and cover the saucepan with its lid. (This is to trap the steam to cook the rice perfectly). Traditionally dough is used to seal the edges of the pot to trap the steam.

As the rice is par boiled, you need to cook it for about 5 minutes and take it off the heat. 
(The residual heat still cooks the rice). Leave the rice to rest for about 5 minutes and serve.

I prefer to mix everything together in my pot when cooked, before I serve, for an even distribution of flavours.


Serve your Biryani rice, sprinkle it with chopped fresh Coriander and serve with either Raita, Chutney or your preferred salad.

All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.

Find more inspiring recipes like this Party Jollof rice on my YouTube channel, 'Ndudu by Fafa' and don't forget to subscribe.