This is supposed to be the pinnacle of Indian cuisine, but this is NOT the traditional recipe (I don't think North Indian kitchens in the 18th Century had microwaves). It looks harder than it is; it's just a matter of keeping organised and doing stuff in order. It produces a very good effect.


  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 100g butter or ghee
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp artificial saffron
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 onions
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 3cm piece ginger
  • 2 tsp chopped cashews
  • 2 tsp sultanas
  • 1 cup drained canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 500g sliced chicken fillet


Put the rice in a bowl with a cup of stock, fifty grams of butter, the cardamom pods, the cinnamon and enough water to just cover it. Microwave it on High for eight minutes. Fluff the rice up with a fork, add an extra half-cup of stock, sprinkle the rice with the saffron and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave it for eight minutes on High. Remove the plastic, transfer the rice to a large mixing bowl and stir it up well, breaking up any lumps. Put it aside.
Blend the tomatoes to a liquid. Peel and chop the onions finely, peel and chop the garlic and peel and grate the ginger. Melt the remaining butter and oil in a pan. Gently fry the onions, the garlic and the ginger for twenty minutes in a heavy pan. Add the ground cumin, the salt, the chilli powder, the pepper, the coriander and the the garam masala. Fry it all gently for five minutes. Add the chicken and fry it for twenty minutes. Add the yoghurt and the tomatoes. Simmer the mixture uncovered for an hour or until it's very thick. Adjust the seasonings. Put aside.
Spoon one third of the rice into a casserole. Smooth it down well. Add half the chicken mixture and press it down until smooth. Repeat the layers, finishing with the last of the rice. Sprinkle the top with the remaining stock, the sultanas and the cashews. Bake at 180ºc (360ºf) for thirty minutes.

Serves 6-8.

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Submitted 11/14/07.
Source: All mine. I read about the dish and made it up from what I knew about Indian food. I've had it in restaurants since and it's pretty close.
Submitted By: Morandir Armson
Murgh Biriani