Tandoori chicken Biryani in Singapore

Tandoori Chicken Biryani Myths and Misconceptions

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Tandoori chicken biryani is a beloved Indian dish, renowned for its mouthwatering blend of marinated chicken, fragrant spices, and aromatic rice. It’s a meal that can tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the streets of India, filled with the enticing aroma of spices and flavors. For those in Singapore, finding authentic Tandoori chicken Biryani in Singapore is a culinary adventure worth embarking on. While it’s a beloved dish, there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding tandoori chicken biryani that we need to clear up. In this extended blog, we’ll delve into the myths and set the record straight about this delectable culinary creation.

Myth 1: Tandoori Chicken Biryani Is Difficult to Make

  • Fact: Tandoori chicken biryani might seem like a complex dish, but it can be surprisingly simple to prepare at home. The key is in the preparation and understanding the process. Let’s break it down step by step:
  • Marinating the Chicken: Start by marinating the chicken in a mixture of yogurt, spices, and herbs. This not only infuses the meat with flavor but also tenderizes it. You can let it marinate for a few hours, or even overnight for more intense flavors.
  • Cooking the Chicken: Tandoori chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven, but you can achieve similar results in a regular oven or even on a stovetop. The chicken is typically skewered and grilled to perfection, giving it that signature smoky flavor. However, baking or pan-frying works just as well.
  • Preparing the Rice: While the chicken is marinating, you can start preparing the rice. Wash and soak the rice, then cook it with aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, and bay leaves. The rice should be slightly undercooked at this stage, as it will finish cooking when layered with the chicken.
  • Layering and Dum Cooking: The magic of biryani lies in the layering. Alternate layers of marinated chicken and partially cooked rice in a heavy-bottomed pot. Seal it with a tight-fitting lid to create a dum effect, which allows the flavors to meld and the rice to finish cooking. This slow-cooking method ensures that each grain of rice absorbs the delicious flavors of the chicken and spices.
  • Serving: Once your tandoori chicken biryani is ready, garnish it with fresh herbs, fried onions, and a drizzle of saffron-infused milk for that extra special touch. Enjoy it with raita, or yoghurt sauce!

In summary, while tandoori chicken biryani may require a few steps, it’s far from difficult to make. With the right ingredients and a bit of patience, you can create a delicious homemade version that rivals any restaurant’s offering.

Myth 2: Tandoori Chicken Biryani Is Unhealthy

  • Fact: The healthiness of tandoori chicken biryani depends on the ingredients and cooking methods you choose. By making a few simple substitutions, you can turn this indulgent dish into a nutritious and balanced meal.
  • Lean Protein: Opt for lean cuts of chicken to reduce the fat content. Chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken thighs work well. You can also consider using tofu or paneer for a vegetarian option.
  • Whole Grains: Swap traditional white rice with brown rice or other whole grains like quinoa. These options provide more fiber and nutrients, making your biryani a healthier choice.
  • Healthy Fats: Use heart-healthy fats like olive oil or ghee (clarified butter) in moderation instead of excessive quantities of cooking oil. This will lower the overall fat content of the dish.
  • Portion Control: Like any dish, moderation is key. Be mindful of your portion sizes to ensure a balanced meal.

By making these adjustments, you can enjoy tandoori chicken biryani without the guilt, and it can become a wholesome part of your regular menu.

Myth 3: Tandoori Chicken Biryani Is Always Spicy

  • Fact: Tandoori chicken biryani doesn’t have to be excessively spicy. The spice level is entirely customizable to suit your personal taste. Here’s how you can control the spiciness:
  • Chili Powder: The amount of chili powder you use determines the heat level of your biryani. If you prefer a milder version, reduce the quantity or use a milder chili variety.
  • Spices: Adjust the overall spiciness by modifying the mix of spices you use. Some spices, like black peppercorns and red pepper flakes, add heat, while others, like cardamom and cinnamon, offer warmth without overwhelming spiciness.
  • Accompaniments: Serve your tandoori chicken biryani with cooling accompaniments like cucumber raita or a mint chutney to balance the flavors and provide relief from any heat.

Remember, the beauty of homemade biryani is that you have complete control over the spice level, so you can enjoy it exactly as you like.

Myth 4: Tandoori Chicken Biryani Is Time-Consuming

  • Fact: While it’s true that tandoori chicken biryani involves multiple steps, it doesn’t have to be overly time-consuming. Here are some tips to streamline the process:
  • Marination: As mentioned earlier, marinating the chicken is crucial for flavor, but you don’t necessarily need to marinate it for an extended period. Even 30 minutes to an hour will yield excellent results. If you’re short on time, you can skip the marination and still enjoy a flavorful dish, though marination is recommended for the best taste.
  • Preparation: Have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking. This includes measuring out your spices, washing and soaking the rice, and chopping any garnishes. Proper preparation can significantly reduce the time you spend in the kitchen.
  • One-Pot Method: To save time and effort, consider using a one-pot or pressure cooker method for making biryani. This simplifies the process and reduces cooking time.

Ultimately, tandoori chicken biryani can be made in less than an hour, especially with some planning and preparation. It’s a dish that’s well worth the effort, as the flavors are unparalleled.

Tandoori chicken Biryani in Singapore

Myth 5: Tandoori Chicken Biryani Requires a Tandoor Oven

  • Fact: While the word “tandoori” implies cooking in a tandoor oven, you can make delicious tandoori chicken biryani without one. Here’s how:
  • Oven: A regular kitchen oven can be used to achieve similar results. Marinate the chicken as usual, then bake it at a high temperature to mimic the tandoor’s intense heat. This method will impart the smoky flavor and charred texture characteristic of tandoori dishes.
  • Stovetop: If you don’t have access to an oven, you can make tandoori chicken on the stovetop using a grill pan or a heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat the pan to high, then grill the marinated chicken until it’s cooked through with char marks.

While a tandoor oven adds a unique dimension to the flavor, it’s by no means a requirement for preparing this delectable dish.

Myth 6: Tandoori Chicken Biryani Is Expensive

  • Fact: Tandoori chicken biryani is not necessarily an expensive dish to make. In fact, it can be quite budget-friendly if you make smart choices:
  • Chicken: Using boneless, skinless chicken cuts or even a vegetarian protein source like tofu or paneer can be cost-effective.
  • Rice: Opting for standard rice varieties rather than expensive basmati rice will help keep costs down.
  • Spices: Most of the spices used in tandoori chicken biryani are common and affordable pantry staples.
  • Seasonal Produce: Incorporate seasonal vegetables to add variety and reduce costs.

By selecting economical ingredients and shopping strategically, you can create a delicious tandoori chicken biryani without breaking the bank.


Tandoori chicken biryani is a delightful Indian dish that’s enjoyed by people of all ages, and it’s much more accessible to make than some myths and misconceptions may lead you to believe. It can be a healthy, customizable, and budget-friendly meal that you can prepare without extensive time and equipment requirements. Don’t let these misconceptions deter you from trying your hand at making tandoori chicken biryani at home. With the right guidance and a little practice, you can master this delectable dish and savor the incredible flavors of India in the comfort of your own kitchen. So, go ahead, give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed.

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