Thai-Style Chicken Biriyani

  • Serves

    serves 4-6

Although this dish is traditionally made with a whole, cut-up chicken, we've found that thighs and drumsticks work just as well. This recipe is an adaptation of one in Nancie McDermott's seminal cookbook Real Thai (Chronicle Books, 1992).


  • 1 12 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 12 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 (5") piece fresh peeled ginger, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • 6 skinless chicken thighs, halved crosswise through the bone
  • 6 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2 12 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 kirby cucumbers, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Thai-style chile sauce, such as Sriracha


Step 1

In a blender, combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, shallots, garlic, ginger, 1 tsp. salt, and 1⁄3 cup water; purée to a paste. Toss chicken and spice paste together in a large bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to let marinate for 1 hour.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and all the spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is deeply caramelized and chicken is just beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes.

Step 3

Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1–2 minutes. Add salt to taste and 2 1⁄4 cups water; bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until rice is just tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Uncover and, using a fork, gently toss together the chicken and rice. Serve immediately with cucumbers and chile sauce on the side.