Chicken Biriyani and beet root salad

Comfort food from my Moms kitchen to your’s 🙂


When I think of comfort food, I think of many different dishes.  Almost all of them start out with a memory of me sitting in our big farm style kitchen back home. Either my Mom, or my Grandmother (Baa) standing in front of the stove working on something amazing! The air would be filled with the earthy aroma of familiar spices, melting with garlic, ginger and cilantro.  Whole cloves and cinnamon permeating the air too, as they crackle in a pan slightly coated in clarified butter.  For me, comfort food is the smell of the kitchen my Mom and Grandmother shared, with all my Aunts and great Aunts cooking our afternoon meal. The memory of my Great Grandmother lounging in a chair, cane in hand, ordering everyone else around as she enjoyed a good cup of tea!  

Today, however, I am only making one dish with a yummy side. When my Mom visited us in Korea before the birth of our Pumpkin, she made biriyani for my friends and me. They all fell in love with it right away and it was a very highly requested dish in my home as well as others. It was my way of sharing my Mom with everyone else!

For the Chicken biriyani this is what you will need!



4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (cubed)

1 large potato/4-5 small ones (scrubbed and cubed the same size as the chicken)

3/4 cup basmati rice

1/2 onion (diced)

6 tbsps crushed tomatoes (heaping)

1 tbsp coconut/olive oil

3 whole cloves

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 inch ginger (finely chopped, or grated)

4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 1/2 tsp salt (you may need more if your potatoes absorb a lot of it)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro



The first thing you need to do is wash your rice.  I like to wash it in hot water and rinse a couple of times.  This process will remove some of the starch so that your rice cooks evenly with out becoming sticky or mushy too quickly.

The water will look like this the first couple of times.


Then pour some really hot water into the cleaned rice and allow it to sit as you start on the biriyani.

Now put the oil into a heavy based pot, I used my dutch oven. If this is your first time making biriyani, I suggest using a hard anodized pot, or non-stick.  Heat oil on medium/high heat and as soon as it warms add the onions.

Mix to coat them and then add the cloves and cinnamon stick.


Cook for a couple of minutes mixing occasionally, until the onions are browned and you can smell the sweet sent of cloves and cinnamon.

Then add you tomatoes. have a lid nearby as you could have some serious splatter at this point if you pot is too hot. Add about a 1/4 cup water if you feel your tomatoes will burn, and mix.  Now you can add all your dry spices and garlic and ginger.  Mix well.


Then add potatoes and mix.  Allow the potatoes to cook for about 5 minutes, adding a little water if it looks like they will stick or burn.


When potatoes are well coated add chicken and mix.  Then drain the rice and add that to the pot with cilantro and mix until everything is well coated.


Now add 1 1/2 cups of water and stir.  Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very love simmer and cover.


You want to check your pot every 15 minutes or more often if you’re concerned about sticking.  To check for sticking, use a fork to gently mix by pulling the fork from the outside to the center. The biriyani will need to cook for about 45 minutes.  Sometimes your potatoes will need more time.  If so add a little more water, but not too much!


I had to add a bit more water for my rice.  But when it’s done it will look like this.



While your biriyani is cooking you can assemble you beet root salad.  If you are cooking fresh beet roots like I do, you will need a pressure cooker or start cooking really early as beets take forever to boil. I had three beet roots that I cut the stems off and watched thoroughly.  I then cut them into quarters and put in my pressure cooker.  Fill with water until the beets are fully covers and salt the water.  Twenty minutes is all it takes in the cooker.


When they are done cooking, remove the skins and slice the beets.


Slice a red onion thinly.


Combine Beets and onions and dress with vinegar, salt and pepper. It’s simple but bursting with deliciousness!!!


This salad can be served warm or cold, either way it is super yummy!  Served along side the biriyani it is a perfect refreshing sweet and tangy complement to the robust flavors of the biriyani!

I hope this recipe brings much warmth to your home as it does to mine!

Jayna 🙂

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