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Sri Lankan Chicken Biryani

Sri Lankan Chicken Biryani (Buriyani)
Cooking Method ,
Courses ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 30 min Total Time: 40 mins
Servings 4
  • 5 Cardomom
  • 5 Cloves
  • 5 Garlic cloves
  • 1 inch cube of garlic
  • 1 green chili (adjust as your liking)
  • 1 tablespoon Corriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 400 grams "Keeri Samba" Rice (400g = 2 cups) (substitute: Sona masoori, Basmati)
  • 750 grams chicken drumsticks or legs bone-in
  • 1 cup Plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Butter or Ghee or Oil
  • 1 cup Onion chopped
  • 1 Rampe/ Pandan leaf broken into pieces
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • salt as needed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust as your likings)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil only if you air-fry or bake (optional)

Easy Sri Lankan restaurant-style chicken Biryani (Buriyani/ බුරියානි) recipe with fried chicken. A quick recipe to try for your next party/ celebration.

    Make aromatic paste
  1. Grind cardamom pods and cloves in a mortar and pestle. You can remove the cardamom shells if you want.

  2. Then add other ingredients under ‘aromatic paste’ above to the mortar and pestle. And grind them into a rough paste.

  3. Make chicken curry
  4. Mix the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl. So it’s convenient for you when you’re cooking. (optional step)

  5. Mix yogurt in a separate bowl until there aren't any lumps

  6. Heat the Instant pot/ Rice cooker or the pot you’re going to cook the curry. Add butter or ghee or oil (You can even use a mix of these). Then add pandan leaves, curry leaves, and cinnamon sticks.

  7. Add the ‘aromatic paste’ you made and mix well.  


  8. Add your chopped onions. Turn off the heat if the bottom is burning. Add more butter/ghee if needed. Fry until onions become soft and translucent. Keep stirring to avoid the bottom from burning.

  9. Add all the spices along with salt.

  10. Add the yogurt and cilantro. Mix well with the spices. Turn on the heat if you turned it off in the previous step.

  11. Add the chicken pieces. Mix well with the mixture in the pot.

  12. Add a cup of water. Cover the instant pot/ rice cooker or the pot you're using. Cook for 8mins in the instant pot or 12mins in rice cooker or until the chicken pieces are completely cooked.

  13. Cook rice
  14. When the chicken curry is done, turn off the heat and take the chicken pieces out using tongs. And transfer to a bowl. Turn off the heat

  15. Add your rice to the curry (washed and drained)

  16. Add 1 ¼ cup of water or as needed depending on the remaining liquid in the pot and the type of cooking equipment you’re using. Please read the recipe description to know more details.

  17. Taste the liquid and add salt until you can taste the saltiness in the broth. It should balances out when the rice cooks. If the curry lacks sour taste you can add more yogurt too at this point. If the curry needs more aroma you can also add a few cardamoms, pandan leaves, curry leaves, or even cilantro as your choice.

  18. Cook the rice as you normally cook rice. If you’re using an instant pot, use the ‘Rice’ preset. Turn of the switch if you’re using a rice cooker. Or cook on the stove until rice is completely cooked. Fluff the rice carefully when it’s done cooking.

  19. Fry chicken drumsticks
  20. Mix all the ingredients for frying chicken given in the ingredient list. And place them in the air fryer. (you can also deep-fry or bake in the oven. If you chose to deep-fry be careful with splattering.)

  21. Air-fry for 10mins on 390F/ 198C or until chicken pieces are golden brown on the outside. Make sure to turn the chicken pieces halfway through.

Keywords: Sri Lankan chicken biryani, Buriyani, Sri Lankan Buriyani, බුරියානි, Muslim Biryani, Rice pilaf, Instant pot chicken biryani, Instant pot rice pilaf, Rice pilaf, Chicken and rice in instant pot, Air fried chicken