Big up the Biryani

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Biryani, from the Persian word Birian meaning fried before cooking, is a classic one pot Indian dish.

History tells us that in the 16th century the Mughals Emperor's wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal visited an army barracks where she found the lads malnourished. She immediately ordered the chefs to cook a dish that was full of substance to get them back to their former selves. Rice and meat was combined with India's iconic spices and thus the Biryani was formed.

Biryani soon became a lavish dish and a staple in banquets of the royal courts. Traditionally Biryani was made in a leather pot with layers of pre fried rice, meat and vegetables which were then sealed with a dough lid. The dough helped seal in the heat and slow cook all of the elements together.

Over time as things do, the methods to making Biryani and types of Biryani have changed and evolved from cooking the rice and meat separately to boshing all raw ingredients in the pot

and letting the heat do it's thing.

However you choose to make yours, we hope you enjoy this Simple Honest unique take on a world over staple.


1 onion chopped

1 clove of garlic chopped

2 tbsp Simple Honest Masala

1 tsp cumin and dried chillis

500g chicken, diced. (Boneless thigh is the best) or 500g lamb diced

3 tbs oil for frying

1 mug of basmati rice – washed

1 mug of water (add more if needed)


Add the oil to a pan and heat.

Add cumin seeds and fry off until dark brown.

Add the chopped onions and garlic, sweat off until translucent.

Now add the chicken and brown.

Add the basmati rice and water, stir in the Simple Honest Masala.

Turn down to a low heat, cover and leave for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.

Now check the rice is cooked (cover and leave for a few minutes if more cooking is required).

Spoon the biryani on to a large plate, fluff the rice up and serve alongside a lovely side of Simple Honest vegetables.


Wine Pairing

A classic indian one pot dish needs a wine that can compliment it on many levels for it's multitude of flavours.

Simple Honest recommends Cinsault, a grape that is often part of a blend. It is most notorious for being one of the 13 grape varieties in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a red grape variety highly sought for it's savoury and meaty flavours.

It is low in Tannin and rich in fruit, providing a balanced harmony for Biryani's rich flavours. The fresh acidity also cuts through whichever meat you choose to add to your Biryani, making it a perfect partnership for every version.

If you prefer something a bit lighter and refreshing, try a best seller Cinsault Rose which holds it's fresh acidity and body but has a more floral quality.

Simple Honest... delicious.


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