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Arabic Biryani

Authentic Arabic Biryani comes together with fragrant yellow rice, spiced chicken, peas, potatoes, sweet raisins and crunchy almonds. A true celebration of Iraqi cuisine - it's a must try dish!
Course Mains
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword Arabic Biryani, Iraqi Biryani
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 53 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 -10 Servings


For the chicken:

  • 1 Whole chicken
  • Whole spices: 4 cardamom pods 3 cinnamon sticks, 10 cloves, 10 peppercorns
  • 1.5 tsp salt

For the rice:

  • 3.5 cups Basmati rice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2.5 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • chicken broth

For the potatoes:

  • 5 potatoes
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Other ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups peas
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups slivered almonds

For the spices:

  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tsp Biryani spice mixture


  • Start by preheating the oven to 450F
  • Wash the whole chicken well using water, and place in a large pot. Cover with water
  • Add the whole spices and salt, and bring to a boil. When chicken starts to boil, scoop out any foam that forms at the surface
  • Boil the chicken until fully cooked, about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Meanwhile, peel, wash and chop the potatoes into cubes. Mix with salt and vegetable oil, and bake on a lined baking sheet for 30-40 mins until golden
  • When chicken is fully cooked, remove and cool, then shred into bite size pieces
  • Remove the whole spices from the broth by straining, then add the turmeric, salt, oil and rice to the pot
  • Ensure the broth covers the rice by 1 inch. Bring to a rapid boil, then cover and turn heat to low and cook for 20 mins untouched. After 20 mins, turn heat off and leave covered
  • Place peas in a pot and cover with water. Boil for 20 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside
  • Toast the almonds in a pan with 1 tbsp oil until golden, stirring continuously
  • In another large pan, add 2 tbsp oil, shredded chicken, peas, raisins, and the spices under "other ingredients" which are 2 tsp allspice and 1 tsp salt. Saute until everything is combined and hot (this step is to draw out the moisture from the mixture and heat everything)
  • When all components are ready, in a large tray, add the rice, then top with the chicken, raisins and peas mixture, then the potatoes and the almonds (save a bit of almonds for the topping)
  • Then add all the spices under the "spices section" on top and mix everything very well until combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt/heat as required
  • Serve immediately with a side of salad and yogurt


  • You can pan fry the potatoes instead of baking as well, but I like to bake because I can work on the other components while they bake
  • You can find a Biryani spice mix at any ethnic grocery store
  • When toasting the almonds, make sure you stir continuously because they tend to burn quickly