Bengali Chicken Tikka Biryani

For a long time I have been reading and hearing about the Daring Baker and Daring Cooks forums. And then a few weeks back I registered for it and got accepted. This is my first challenge for that forum, and I am pretty excited!

For those of you who don’t know Daring kitchens, here’s a little about them :

In November 2006, two bloggers Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, made pretzels using the same recipe and put it on their blogs. It was a big hit , and soon they were joined by a few more bloggers to make other delicious baked goods, using a common recipe. Soon this “little baking group” grew to a large number and thus the ‘Daring Bakers’ came into being.

Their journey continued and Daring cooks was formed as a way for thousands of enthusiastic home cooks to learn about delicacies in the world, right from the experts.

Their format is very simple. A cook and/or a blogger, hosts the challenge every month, giving a tried and tested recipe of a particular dish or a technique. Then all those who wish to participate have to make it and put it on their blog on the designated date. For the last two-three months, Indian cuisine has taken Daring Kitchen by a storm, and I’m lovin it!

Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

It also co-coincided with Ramzan and Eid, and Biryani is a favourite fast-ending meal for them. There are several regional variations of making Biryani, with lamb, chicken, fish and even vegetables. The most popular ones are Rasjasthani Biryani, the Punjabi specialty Tangdi Biryani, the Nalli Rogini Biryani of Lucknow, the Malabar Prawn Biryani of South India, Niyamat-e-arab-Biryani of Hyderabad and many more.

The current challenge was a Bengali Chicken Tikka Biryani. Delicate and flavorful. Chunks of chicken marinated for hours, half-cooked and then layers of chicken and rice steamed together, till all the flavors get equally distributed.

Chicken marinated in a blend of spices and yoghurt, and then cooked

The process is somewhat time-consuming, and the list of ingredients is long. But worry not, because although it looks daunting, it is very easy. Everybody who eats it falls in love with the beautifully blended spice curry and the chicken-rice combination. And it makes great leftovers, can be frozen even for two months.

Layers of chicken and rice, starting and ending with rice

So go ahead, make this exotic Biryani and bring the aromas of a Mughlai kitchen right into your home.

Bengali Chicken tikka Biryani

Chicken Tikka Biryani recipe

Ingredients :There are several common ingredients for the chicken marination and the final gravy. But I have shown it separately for simplicity while cooking.

For marinating chicken:

  • 1/2 kg boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 3 tablespoon yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • few drops of food coloring (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced fine
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced fine.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

For Gravy

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tandoori masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced fine
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced fine.
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (of roughly 1 tomato)
  • Green chillies, chopped (optional)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped


  • 2 and 1/4 cups basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained


  1. Cut chicken breast into 1/2 inch size pieces. Mix all the ingredients listed in ‘for marinating chicken’ and marinate the chicken in this for 3-4 hours, or even overnight if possible.
  2. Once marinated, cook the chicken in a pan till about 80% done. Do not overcook, as it will go through two more steps of cooking. Set it aside.
  3. Drain and rinse the rice. Boil rice in 5 cups of water, then cover and lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the rice is half cooked. Drain any remaining water.
  4. To make the gravy, in another pan, melt the ghee with the oil. Add onions, minced garlic and ginger. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tandoori masala, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt as listed above. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes, cover the pan, and cook on low heat for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the chilies, if using, and the cooked chicken. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, then cover the pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the coriander and remove from heat. The gravy is ready.
  6. In a large lipped saucepan / kadhai, alternate layers of rice and chicken, starting and ending with rice. Cover the pan and cook over very low heat for 13-15 minutes until the rice is cooked. The aim is to create a steam inside the saucepan to let the flavors mingle and get distributed. So we used some sticky whole wheat dough to line the top of the pan, before covering it with a lid. Like this :

Pan with dough

Once steamed, the biryani is ready to eat. Serve it hot with onion slices and yoghurt.

We finished the entire kadhai amongst 6 of us. It was wonderfully aromatic and flavorful.

Glad to have done my first Daring cooks challenge.

Note : You can also replace all the spices with 2-3 tablespoons of ready-made Biryani masala available in most Indian grocery stores. But needless to say, the satisfaction and freshness of home-made Biryani masala from real spices is intoxicating.

2 thoughts

  1. woww! I am soo proud of you for being able to master the art of cooking biryani! I am mortified of trying it! I NEED to meet you, you are beyond fascinating!


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