Chicken Nasi Briyani

05 Apr

(serves 3)
Biryani originates from India and is one of the most popular rice dishes in Singapore and Malaysia, where it is known as known as Nasi Briyani. Regardless of whether spelt ‘Bir’ or ‘Bri’, you first cook meat curry and rice separately and then again together. In this version of Nasi Briyani, I employ the Chinese fried rice method for the together part. This way the rice is moist on the outside, yet remains fluffy on the inside. The perfect comfort food.   


  1. Curry Chicken
  2. Raw Basmati Rice (1/2 cup)
  3. Coriander (1 cup, chopped)
  4. Ginger (2t, grated)
  5. Turmeric
  6. Coriander Seed Powder

Pre-Preparation (Curry) 

  1. You will first need to prepare the curry according to my Singapore Curry Chicken recipe. Do this ahead of time.
  2. Take note, you won’t need the whole amount of the curry cooked with that recipe unless you are making a double version. You will also need to make a few simple modifications to the recipe:
    1. To create more chili oil, add 3T of vegetable oil (you need an oil with a mild taste so use canola or sunflower seed oil) before you start boiling.
    2. Skip the potatoes altogether.
  3. When the curry is done, skim 4T of chili oil from the top of your chicken curry and keep this in reserve.
  4. Extract and shred 2 chicken legs (with thighs) or their equivalent from the curry. Also measure 1.25 cups of curry (inclusive of onion bits) and pour this over the shredded chicken.

Pre-Preparation (Rice)

  1. You will also need to boil some turmeric flavoured rice, also ahead of time. If you don’t know how boil rice, refer to my White Rice Page.
  2. Start with half a cup of raw rice rice. You should use Basmati rice, and if you really can’t find some at least make sure you use a long grain variety –  if you don’t want the whole thing to turn to mush.
  3. After you have rinsed the rice and before you start cooking it, add 1/2 t of turmeric to the water. This makes the rice come out yellow.
  4. After the rice is cooked, allow it to cool in the open for an hour so it dries up.


  1. Julienne your coriander in two portions. Cut the bottom one third (i.e. the stem part) of the coriander first. Then do the rest (i.e. the leafy part) and keep them seperate.
  2. Remove the skin from a thumb sized piece of ginger and grate it. You should end up with 2t of grated ginger.
  3. In a large non-stick pan, heat up 3T of vegetable oil (again, not olive oil). Pan fry the coriander stems and grated ginger on high heat till there is a strong aroma of ginger coming from the pan.
  4. Add the (cooled) turmeric rice to the pan. Douse the lumpy rice with the chili oil you skimmed earlier and then break up the clumps by pressing down on them gently with a flat implement. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, keeping the heat on high, until you see a bit of the rice browning.
  5. Pour in the chicken and curry. Continue to stir-fry to make sure every grain of rice comes into contact with the curry. When the curry begins to dry up, add most of the leafy coriander, sprinke on 1/2 t of sugar and 1t of coriander seed powder and turn the heat down. Continue to fry for a further minute and then remove from the flame.
  6. Taste and then sprinkle on salt to your satisfaction. Plate your Nasi Briyani and then garnish with the remaining coriander.


  • This is the maximum amount you can cook at one go on a normal flat 12 inch pan. If you try to cook more, you won’t have enough of a cooking surface to dry the curry. If you want to do a double portion, use a paella pan, wok or something of similar size.
  • Alternatively the traditional way to cook Briyani is to pour the curry over three quarters of your cooked rice, top up with the rest of the rice and cook to semi-dry.
  • If you didn’t notice, the Indian version is Biryani, the Malay version is Briyani. Quirk of transliteration from a century ago.
  • Some recipes also cook raisins and/or cashew nuts in the rice. You can consider adding these.
  • You can also use curry chicken from another source. The amount however will depend on the thickness of the curry sauce.
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Main Courses, Oriental, Poultry, Recipe


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