How to cook speedy biriyani

Speedy biriyani is the chosen recipe for this year’s Children’s Food Trust BIG Cookathon (6 – 9 March) – a competition to see how many people can cook one meal together, with £15,000 worth of prizes to be won.

To enter all you need do is invite all your friends and family over, cook up the biriyani, and get all your guests to sign the competition register (details of how to register here).
Or, if the idea of a cooking competition doesn’t appeal, you can just make the recipe anyway… It looks pretty delicious!

Speedy Biryani

Biryani is a festival dish, traditionally served at Indian weddings. It’s great for large families and crowds as it is served in one pot. You can make it with almost any meat or Quorn…. options at the end of the recipe.
Serves 4
200g Basmati rice
1 x 15ml spoon
vegetable oil
2 chicken breast fillets
(about 260g)
Small bunch fresh
1 medium red onion
100g French beans
4 x 15ml spoons Balti
curry paste
130ml water
4 tomatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs
1. Cut the chicken into 2–3cm diced pieces and place in a bowl. Wash your hands after handling raw chicken.
2. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet. If you haven’t already hard-boiled the eggs, pop them in a separate pan in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then drain through a colander and leave to stand in fresh cold water to cool. While these are cooking you can carry on with the next steps.
3. Using a different chopping board and knife, peel and finely chop the red onion.
4. Wash the French beans, tomatoes and coriander.
5. Finely chop the coriander. Top and tail the French beans and cut them in half. Cut the tomatoes into quarters.
6. Heat the vegetable oil in the large saucepan, then add the chicken, half of the chopped coriander and curry paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. The chicken will change colour from pink to white.
7. Add the chopped red onion and French beans and cook for a further 3 minutes.
8.Add the tomato quarters, and add the water gradually – you may not need it all. Your Speedy Biryani should be moist enough for the flavours  to spread through evenly, but it shouldn’t be wet. Cook for a further 3 minutes. Keep stirring.
9. Add the cooked rice. Mix well, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. You might want to add a little bit more water now.
10. Peel the shell from the hard-boiled eggs and slice into quarters.
11. Spoon the Speedy Biryani into a large serving dish and garnish with hard-boiled egg quarters and a sprinkling of fresh coriander
Prepare now, eat later
To save time, hard-boil your eggs in advance. Once they have cooled, store in the fridge until you need them. It’s not advisable to reheat rice, so this isn’t a dish to save for later.
Something to try next time
  • Instead of chicken, you could make Speedy Biryani with any of the following:
  • 300g of Quorn™ fillets (vegetarian) – prepare and cook in the same way as the chicken
  • 300g of beef frying steak – prepare and cook as for the chicken, the meat will turn from pink to brown when it is cooked
  • 400g can of chickpeas (drained) – skip step 6, add the coriander and curry paste in step 7 and add the chickpeas with the tomato at step 8.
  • You can make this recipe with a different curry paste, such as Korma if you like a milder dish or Madras for a hotter result.
  • Instead of curry paste, you could use one pouch of a curry recipe base (based on 170g per pouch). As these contain more water than a traditional curry paste, you will only need to add around 30-50ml of water at step 8


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