Pakistani-Italian Biryani


Sunday night dinner:  my kids wanted Italian but the hubby wanted Indian…. Hmmm how can I make them both happy, and in a short amount of time?  A cross between two cultures (well actually three – there’s some Persian thrown in here) did the trick!  The rose petals and saffron add an aphrodisiac touch ~ perfect for Valentine’s Day!!


1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 ginger cube (Dorot frozen- or use equivalent fresh)

1 chili pepper cube (Dorot)

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

6 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup yogurt

2 tbsp butter

1 cup Lidia Bastianich’s  Arrabiata sauce (or any spicy Italian sauce will do)

4 cups rice

2 tbsp butter

few strands saffron, crushed in mortar

1 tsp salt

sliced almonds and Persian rose petals for garnish


1)  Heat the olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat.  Add onions, and cook for a few minutes until most are caramelized (its OK if some get darker than others)

2) Add in the garlic, ginger, and chili and saute for a minute.

3) Add in all the spices, and saute to blend in.

4) Add the chicken and stir to coat well; cook on medium high until the chicken is about 75 % cooked.

5)  One by one, add the yogurt, butter, tomato sauce,  stirring to incorporate each until you add the next ingredient.

6) Cover, and let the chicken simmer on low.  Stir once in awhile.  Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees.

7) Prepare the rice.  Wash the rice in several changes of water until clear.  Add the rice with a little less than 6 cups of water (use the same cup you used to measure out the rice) into the rice cooker, along with the saffron and salt.  You are going to cook the rice 75% (this method uses some guesstimating).

8)  In a large baking pan, layer the rice with the chicken and masala. You can make 2 -3 layers.

At this point you can add dabs of butter here and there over the rice if you want a richer flavor..

Garnish with rose petals and almonds, cover tightly with foil, and place in oven

9) Bake the biryani for about 20 – 30 minutes (you will soon start smelling the divineness!). You may want to sample the rice to make sure that its cooked all the way. If the rice still  feels too hard, you can sprinkle some water over, recover with the foil, and place in oven for another 10 minutes.

10)  Take out the biryani from the oven. Leave the foil on for a couple more minutes so that it steams a bit more with its own heat.  Remove foil and enjoy!



5 thoughts on “Pakistani-Italian Biryani

  1. Pingback: Pakistani-Italian Biryani | lazizabites

  2. Pingback: Chichen and mushrooms sweet curry recipe with crème fraîche, almonds and mint. | Chocolate Spoon & The Camera

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