This simple taste of India is sure to please everyone

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

Biryani is an Indian favourite that can be quickly prepared in on pot
Hello and welcome to all about food. Was full flavours in a hurry?...

Hello and welcome to all about food. Was full flavours in a hurry?...

Ask gingergirl

Dear Gingergirl,

I’m a single, working mum of three growing boys! It’s often after six before I get in each evening and my sons have appetites that seldom want to wait even one hour for dinner! I love one-pot recipes as I can grab a shower and do a quick tidy up while they’re cooking.

Thank you,

Mary, Newcastle West

Hi Mary,

It sounds like you’ve got your hands full! This simple Biryani is a lovely, light dish but it’s also substantial enough to keep your young men happy! The quantity below will serve four generously. Enjoy!

Biryani made easy!

300g basmati rice

25g butter

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 bay leaf

3 cardamom pods

Small cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon turmeric

4 skinless chicken breasts cut into large chunks

4 tbsp curry paste (I use balti paste)

100g raisins

850ml chicken stock

Chopped coriander (to serve)

Toasted flaked almonds (to serve)

Soak the basmati for twenty minutes, then wash under cold running water until the water runs clear - I do this religiously when cooking rice and to date I’ve always managed to produce perfect rice! Heat the butter in a large, heavy based saucepan and cook the onions with the bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon for ten minutes. Sprinkle in the turmeric, then add the chicken and the curry paste. Cook until you can really smell the spices.

Stir the rice into the pan with the raisins, and then pour over the stock. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan (I often put a clean tea towel between the pot and the lid just to be sure) and bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a minimum and cook the rice for another five minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for ten minutes. Stir well, mixing through half the coriander. To serve, scatter over the rest of the coriander and the toasted almonds.

And finally…

This dish is really lovely when served with poppadoms and raita. Raita is a yogurt-based condiment served with Indian food – it works great as the yoghurt is cooling and thus can make spicier dishes a bit easier to swallow!

While shop bought raita is perfect it is really easy to make your own. Simply mix half a finely chopped cucumber with half a finely chopped red onion with 200g of natural yogurt (low fat is fine for those counting calories), then stir in a tablespoon of chopped mint, a little salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Contact gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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