Lighter Chicken Tikka Biriyani Recipe

Now admittedly, I am not overly fussed about rice dishes but I knew I had to try and create something that was meal prep material.

The rice in the biriyani is arguably more important than the curry base so it’s paramount that you follow the steps and get it right – if you trust me on this, this recipe is foolproof.

It’s quite a time consuming recipe but there aren’t many steps so it is definitely one to start on a Sunday afternoon, kick back and wait whilst watching the television.

The macros for this meal are as follows:

  • 690 calories
  • 84g carbs
  • 10g fat
  • 67g protein

You can also find this recipe on My Fitness Pal by searching for ‘Matt Cooper Bites Meal Prep Chicken Tikka Biriyani’

Key Points

  • The tikka spice blend needed for this recipe is available on our store here
  • Leave your chicken to marinade as long as possible up to 24 hours. Trust the process!
  • PLEASE follow the rice guidance, otherwise your rice will become sticky and stodgy. It may feel that your rice water isn’t running clean even after 5 washes but trust me, it will eventually and it will be worth it!
  • You will need at least 300ml of chicken stock but anything after that should be used to reach desired consistency – this is personal preference but I tend to use 400-500ml.
  • Vine ripened tomatoes are a must – do not use things such as salad tomatoes
  • The aromatics are important for the rice – they will really impact flavour so please use them.
  • If you do want to use saffron but want something cheaper then use rose water. This can be found in the foreign foods isle in most big supermarkets.
  • You can garnish with whatever you may like. I like raisins and coriander but crispy onions and pomegranate seeds would be cool too.

Lighter Chicken Tikka Biriyani Recipe

Perfect for meal prep
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Marinading time 1 d
Servings 4
Calories 690 kcal


  • 1 Frying pan
  • 1 Large casserole dish or saucepan big enough to cook the rice and full biriyani and also needs to be able to be covered


Chicken Tikka

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp fat free greek yoghurt
  • 4 tbsp Matt Cooper Bites Tikka Spice Blend
  • 0.5 tsp red food colouring optional

Curry Base

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 white onions diced
  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes sliced into quarters
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste – frozen blocks frozen blocks – Taj brand are the best. They can be found in most supermarkets.
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp dried fenugreek leaves optional but helps marry the flavours


  • 280 g basmati rice – follow instructions
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick or cassia bark
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 4 cloves


  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander
  • 1 string of saffron Optional. Use 2 tbsp of rose water if not.
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1 raisins optional


Chicken Tikka

  • Mix the Tikka spice blend and food colouring with a splash of water and yoghurt into a bowl.
  • Add the chopped chicken breast
  • Mix well, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours but for best results, overnight.
  • When ready to cook the tikka you can either air-fry for 12-14 minutes on 200 ℃ or alternatively you can skewer the chicken and cook under the grill on a high heat until the chicken has a slight char.


  • This bit is really important. Keep washing your rice until the water runs clear. This can take quite a few times but it will make sure your rice grains don’t become sticky.
  • Leave your rice grains to soak in water for 30-60 minutes before cooking. This will elongate the rice grains.
  • Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods and cumin seeds to a large saucepan/casserole dish and turn on the heat for around a minute to toast the aromatics. They will start to smell quite wonderful!
  • Add around 1-2 litres of water (dependant on size of dish but there should be enough water to completely cover the rice when added) and bring to boil. Once boiling point is reached, allow to simmer for 10 mins.
  • With the heat still on, add the soaked rice into the pan and cook for 5 mins.
  • Drain and remove aromatics and set to one side.

Curry Base

  • Add the vegetable oil into a pan (medium heat) with the onions and cook until the onions turn slightly translucent
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 30 seconds before adding the dry spices and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes into the pan with 300ml of chicken stock and let that cook out for around 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have completely softened and broken down.
  • You should be left with a nice curry base now everything has reduced. Now it’s time to add the pre-cooked chicken tikka. If the base is too thick, add another 100ml of stock.
  • Sprinkle the dried fenugreek leaves if using.

Building the Biriyani

  • Add the curry base to the bottom of the casserole dish/pan you used to cook the rice in (anything with a lid as it needs to be covered).
  • Add the rice on top.
  • Combine the turmeric with 4 tbsp of water and drizzle over the top of the rice. Do the same with the saffron too. This will add colour and flavour but is also optional.
  • Cover the pan, and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes. I like to use a layer of tinfoil between the lid too to keep it extra sealed.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and raisins if you wish and serve.

2 thoughts on “Lighter Chicken Tikka Biriyani Recipe

  1. Mark Webb says:

    5 stars
    Hi Matt, used your Tikka Spice blend to make the Chicken Tikka, then followed your recipe for the Biriyani. Took a little bit longer for the sauce to get to the right consistency but my word, even though I say so myself it was delicious. Washed it down with a bottle of Cobra. Keep the recipes coming, all welcome. P.S. You need to add Star Anise into the ingredients section as it’s in the description further down. Cheers Mark

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