Buriani Chicken

Hearty and delicious

· Shared by

Jenny McMahon

My spur: story

This recipe


· 900 gm chicken pieces (about and no bone)

· 100 gm plain Greek style yoghurt

· 30 gm cashew nuts, chopped

· 30 gm freshly grated or desiccated coconut

· 70 gm ghee

· ½ teaspoon paprika

· 1 small onion, finely chopped

· 3 cloves

· 3 green cardamom pods, bruised

· 2 cinnamon sticks

· 100 gm basmati rice

· 1 bay leaf

· Pinch saffron threads

· 500 ml chicken stock

Buriani Spice Mix

· 1 ½ tablespoons coriander seeds

· 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

· 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

· 1 clove

· 3 long dried red chillies

· ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds

· ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds


1.     Make spice mix.  Place all ingredients in a fry pan and dry roast over low heat for 7-10 minutes or until fragrant.  Cool, then grind until fine powder.

2.     Place yoghurt, cashews, coconut and 3 teaspoons of spice mix in blender, blend until smooth.

3.     Transfer mixture to a large bowl, add the chicken and toss to combine, cover, let stand for 15 minutes.

4.     Heat 1 ½ tablespoons ghee in a fry pan, add paprika, half onion, 1 clove, 1 cardamom pod, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion is golden.  Remove chicken from yoghurt marinade, add it to the onion mix and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the yoghurt marinade (there won’t be much left and it will be thick but don’t worry) and 100 ml water to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes, then transfer the mixture to a large ovenproof dish.

5.     Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F/Gas 4)

6.     Heat remaining ghee in fry pan (same one as you did the chicken – don’t bother washing before reusing).  Add remaining onion, 1 teaspoon salt and all remaining spices except the saffron (I add a bit more of the spice mix too), then cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is golden.  Add the rice, stir until well coated, then add the sock, bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes.  Stir the saffron threads into the rice, then pour the rice mixture over the chicken.  Seal tightly with foil, then a lid.  Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender ( I always find the 30 minutes works).

NB: The spice mix recipe makes quite a bit and keeps for a while so store in a cool place in a jar with lid and then it’s ready for next time.

To serve: Roti, yoghurt, spicy pickle – yum yum.

Jenny McMahon

Recipe shared by

Jenny McMahon


Jenny has been in local government for 30+ years holding various Senior Executive roles across a number of local governments, most recently at Wyndham City Council, but also including Greater Geelong, Maribyrnong and Moreland City Councils.

Recipe attributed to

My Sri Lankan Kitchen – Peter Kuruvita (adapted by Jen)

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