Keto Chicken Biryani
Chicken Biryani is a delicious Indian inspired dish typically made with rice, marinated chicken, and amazing flavors of spices and curry. But today we are mixing things up a bit in order to make it keto-friendly, or low carb. Instead of the traditional mixed rice, I replaced carb heavy rice with the low carb version–cauliflower rice. And the results are fantastic!
You get all of the heady aromas, and delicious spices and curry, but with cauliflower. Making this low carb version of chicken biryani just as good as the original.
This one pot Chicken Biryani recipe can be made ahead of time or whipped up the night of. So if you are ready to change up your weekly dinner rotation with this Keto Chicken Biryani recipe, then let’s get going.
What Is Chicken Biryani?
Before we get into how to make chicken biryani, and how to make it keto friendly, let’s talk about what it is, where it came from, and why it is just so good!
I love bringing different cultures to my table and Indian food ranks pretty high for me. A few years ago I spent 10 days in India, and really fell in love with the rich flavors, and use of spices and herbs. From naan, to butter chicken, tandoori, and all the different curries, Indian food is always very flavorful. And this Chicken Biryani is definitely one of those dishes that lives up to the hupe for big flavor!
Chicken Biryani is a delicious Indian dish that traditionally contains chicken, long grained rice seasoned with fabulous spices and enhanced with delicious vegetables and herbs. It is similar to a curry. And can be cooked a couple different ways, depending on the region.
It’s so so good.
Note: This dish uses cauliflower rice instead of your traditional long grain rice like basmati, in order to keep this dish low carb. But the mix of spices and flavors is true to an authentic biryani.
The chicken is bathed in a yogurt based marinade, which provides a unique, flavorful and tender chicken, that perfectly compliments the spiced cauliflower rice. All culminating to create a meal that family and friends will love.
Even if you aren’t worried about carbs this meal will be a recipe you want to make again and again. Plus, if you aren’t on a keto diet, or trying to eat low carb, you can always sub out the cauliflower rice for some basmati rice.
How We Made Chicken Biryani Keto Friendly:
Chicken Biryani is just a delightful dish and most of the ingredients in the dish are keto approved. Yes!
However the one ingredient that is not is the rice. And considering biryani is a mixed rice dish, you might be thinking it is pretty cheeky of me to change the main ingredients and still call it biryani.
The fluffy spiced rice is a huge part of the appeal of biryani. I know, take a moment to wipe the tears off your face. I too love a good basmati rice.
Okay sob fest over, now let’s get to the good news. The sauce, spices, and chicken are all so flavorful and good, you really can still very much enjoy the dish with a low carb rice substitute.
It isn’t going to be as fluffy, and definitely has a different texture. But the flavors are there, and means you won’t have to give up your favorite Indian dish besides tikka masala.
How To Make Chiken Biryani Keto Friendly:
- Majority of ingredients are already keto friendly.
- Sub out the rice for a low carb alternative like cauliflower rice.
Due to all the aromatic flavors going on in this dish, you can sacrifice a little basmati in order to help keep your carb count intact and you will be so glad that you did.
What You Need To Make This Recipe:
Alright folks you ready to get shopping? There are a lot of fun spices for this dish. Many you probably already have. And all of them you should be able to find at a regular grocery store.
However, if you don’t cook a lot of Indian food one of the spices you may not have is garam masala, but don’t hesitate to get this spice. You can order it on Amazon. It has a lot of great flavor and once you discover the love for Indian food that you never knew you had, you will be glad to have this staple in your kitchen. I use it in a LOT of recipes.
Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you off, this is how you build the flavors in the dish.
- Ghee (in a pinch you could use butter or oil): This adds a buttery creamy flavor to your biryani. And you need it. Butter works too. So feel free to sub.
- Chicken: Use ground chicken or chunk of a chicken breast into small pieces for this.
- Plain Greek Yogurt- This is the base of your marinade.
- Spices—Garam Masala, Turmeric, Coriander, Ground Cumin, Red Chili Flakes
- Acid: Lime Juice and Salt. This is an important element in the recipe. Don’t skip it.
- Onion: Flavor!
- Jalapeno: A little heat!
- Garlic; More flavor.
- Ginger: Even more flavor.
- Chicken Stock: Used to deglaze and be a base for the rest.
- Fresh herbs: Cilantro and Mint
- Riced Cauliflower
So looking at the list it seems kind of lengthy, but the recipe is straight forward, and you probably already have a bunch of this in your kitchen.
Plus if you have to buy multiple spices, trust me it is a good purchase, one that you will use more than once.
How To Make Chicken Biryani:
- Prepare the Yogurt Marinade for the Chicken: Combine dried spices, yogurt, lime juice, and salt to create an amazing yogurt marinade.
- Marinate Chicken: Add chicken to marinade. Cover in fridge for 10-15 minutes or longer. This is going to be a base for the flavor of the dish, and add flavor to the chicken.
- Cook Chicken In Skillet: Let ghee melt first, and add chicken mixture, breaking up chicken as it cooks.
- Cook Veggies in Skillet: Remove chicken, add ghee, let it melt, and then add onions. Once onions brown, add jalapeño, ginger, and garlic.
- Add Ingredients to The Pan: Deglaze the pan with chicken stock, scraping off any brown bits off the pan. This is the flavor!!! Then add chicken, cauliflower rice, half the cilantro and half the mint.
- Mix and Simmer: Mix well, cover, turn down heat, and let simmer until cauliflower rice is crisp tender.
- Add Cilantro and Mint and Serve: Add remaining cilantro, mint, salt to taste, and serve. The fresh herbs will help!
Note: For more detailed instructions see recipe at the end.
In summary you are basically preparing your sauce, marinating, and cooking all the food in a SINGLE skillet. Not too hard, right?
Can This Be Made Ahead?
Hate the hour before dinner? Feels too chaotic? Want to make dinner ahead of time? DO IT!!
Sometimes checking meal prep off the list feels just magical.
So, if there is a better time for you to make dinner than right before it’s time to eat, then by all means take advantage of that precious time and get it done.
Chicken Biryani can be stored in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Then simply reheat, stove top, or in the oven or microwave.
Stove Top: Put your prepared food in a skillet, add some chicken stock, and cook until heated through.
Oven: Reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. Use an oven safe dish of course and cover the top with foil to prevent dish from drying out. If needed, add a little chicken stock.
Microwave: Put in a microwave safe dish and cover with a paper towel to prevent splattering. Cook for a minute or so for individual serving sizes. Test the middle to make sure it is reheated all the way through.
- Make ahead of time and store in fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days.
- Not the best dish for freezing. If you want to make this ahead and freeze it, then make each component and freeze. Don’t try to freeze the whole thing.
Note: Eating it fresh is always best, but you can definitely reheat this dish and enjoy it later.
Tips and Tricks:
Don’t Skip Out on Marinating the Chicken.
It tenderizes and adds flavor.
Equal Portion of Rice to Meat.
Follow this recipe and you will have the perfect ratio of chicken to cauliflower rice.
However, if you ever are just making this dish and aren’t sure about proportions, use same amount of rice and meat. Determine ratio by weight.
For perfect texture and balance you don’t want too little of meat or too much that the rice gets lost.
Don’t Skimp On Ghee or Oil.
Follow this recipe and you should be fine. However you want to make sure that you have enough ghee while you are cooking.
If You Use Rice, Follow Some Simple Rules.
If you are not worried about carbs and do use rice, there are some things you should be aware of.
- Soak rice a half hour ahead of time prior to cooking to help rice absorb liquid when cooking.
- Don’t overcook rice or it will become mushy. Slightly undercook before cooking it with other ingredients.
- You want to use a long grain rice like basmati for this dish.
Keep this dish low carb and serve with a side of dill dip and veggies, or Best Ever Roasted Broccoli.
Make This Chicken Biryani Tonight!
You don’t have to feel limited on a keto diet and you don’t have be stuck in a dinner rut. Change things up a bit and make Chicken Biryani. The flavors are so delicious and different from your average meal that it will definitely be a meal you will remember.
Other Low Carb Dishes To Try:
- Butter Chicken (Low Carb, Keto)
- Keto White Chicken Chili
- Low Carb Meatball Skillet
- Keto Korean Beef
- Low Carb Lasagna (with zucchini noodles)
- Keto Pizza
- Keto Marinara
- Keto Beef and Broccoli
Keto Chicken Biryani
- 1 teaspoon Ghee
- 1 pound Ground Chicken or chicken cut into small chunks
- ¼ cup plain greek style yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- ½ teaspoon Ground Tumeric
- ½ teaspoon Ground Coriander
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 1 Tablespoon Lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Ghee
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup Fresh Mint chopped
- 2 cups rice cauliflower
- Kosher salt
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine yogurt, garam masala, tumeric, coriander, cumin, chili flakes, lime juice, and salt.
- Stir chicken into the bowl until mixed well. Then cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
- Head a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add ghee to the skillet and melt. Then add chicken mixture, and and cook, breaking up the ground chicken as it cooks.
- Once cooked through (5 minutes or so), transfer to a a bowl, and set aside.
- To the same skillet, add the ghee, and melt.
- Add the onions, and cook, stirring regularly, continue to cook until onions start to brown. About 5-7 minutes.
- Once onions are starting to brown, add in the jalapeno, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add chicken back into the pan, along with the riced cauliflower, half the cilantro, and half the mint.
- Mix well, cover, and turn heat down to low.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes until cauliflower rice is crisp tender.
- Add the remaining cilantro and mint, taste and add salt to preference.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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