Quick and easy leftover chicken recipe – chicken biryani

Quick and easy leftover chicken recipe – chicken biryani

I bought a chicken from our local farmers’ market, which we roasted with oodles of butter, a few cloves of garlic, and a handful of garden herbs – bay leaves, sage and rosemary. It was delicious, but we had lots of leftovers. And it is simply criminal to waste such good quality chicken. With some yoghurt in the fridge, storecupboard spices I had all the ingredients for one of my favourites, a quick and easy leftover chicken recipe – chicken biryani.

This is a leftover version of the classic biryani, an Indian staple. The biryani, or spicy rice, has its origins among the Muslims from the sub-Indian continent. I love making a biryani, the spiced yoghurty meat juices soak into the rice, the flavour really penetrates this dish. This chicken biryani is one of my favourite comfort foods.  This leftover chicken recipe is simple and easy to make one-pot dish, perfect for a mid-week supper.

For this recipe, I haven’t pre-soaked the rice and it worked perfectly well. But the trick is to use basmati rice.

And if you want to, when you add the rice, you can also add frozen vegetables – peas work particularly well, or a tin of brown lentils to make a complete meal in one!

Quick and easy leftover chicken recipe – chicken biryani

easy chicken biryani recipe

Quick and easy leftover chicken recipe – chicken biryani

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people


  • 250 g leftover roast chicken
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.25 tsp ground tumeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 120 ml yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 chopped onion (medium)
  • 2 cardamom pods (bruised)
  • 1 cm cinnamon stick (crushed)
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 1 pint stock (vegetable or chicken)


  1. In a bowl mix the spices and seasoning with the yoghurt to make the marinade.
  2. Add the the chicken and mix well so all the chicken has a generous coating of the yoghurt marinade.
  3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm, and place in the fridge to marinate. If you are in a rush, 30 minutes is fine. If you have time, a couple of hours is great.
  4. When you are ready, on a low heat, heat three tablespoons of oil in a large solid bottomed frying pan.
  5. Add the chopped onion and the cardamom and cinnamon stick. And continue to fry on a low heat until the onions are soft and transparent.
  6. Now add the chicken, and stir into the onion and spices.
  7. Keep the frying pan on a low heat and cover. Allow the chicken to cook for 15 minutes. Check that the chicken does not dry out, if it does just add a little water.
  8. Now add the basmati rice, stir into the chicken, followed by the pint of stock.
  9. Keep the frying pan on a low heat, and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
  10. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve. Lime pickle is the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Eat and enjoy.

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