Nasi Briyani Ayam

Spiced rice accompanied with delicious curry chicken, 'Nasi Briyani' is the love of many Malaysians at Indian or Malay food outlets. It is flavour-packed due to the various spices used in the dish.

5 stars

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 75 mins


Malaysian Nasi Briyani, Nasi Biriyani, Nasi Biriani, Nasi Birani

Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, Pakistani, Bruneian

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Nutrition per Serving

1069 kcal
121 g
42 g
55 g

Although not originally from Malaysia, “Nasi Briyani” has however found its place in South East Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore. It is a popular dish in many casual Mamak eateries and often enjoyed with meat curries, eggs and vegetables. While the argument goes on to find the origin of nasi briyani, I choose to celebrate this dish with the various ways it is cooked in different countries.

The usage of pandan leaves to add fragrance to the rice definitely gives it a Malaysian twist. Besides that, the rice is cooked separately without any meat. In Mamak eateries, the rice is served as it is or together with any preferred side dishes. It is like a buffet of curries and delicious dishes that go perfectly well with the rice.

A basic plate of nasi briyani consists of spiced rice and meat curry of your choice. I personally prefer mutton and chicken curry. Therefore, I had chosen to prepare a video on nasi briyani with a special chicken curry. Just like many of my recipes, feel free to substitute chicken with the meat of your choice. The key is to use the same selection of spices and allow the meat to cook until it is tender.

Marinating the chicken with yoghurt helps to tenderize the meat as the lactic acid in the yoghurt breaks down the protein. Additionally, the tanginess in the Greek yoghurt definitely adds a wonderful flavour to the curry. In this recipe, I had selected Greek yoghurt as it is known to be thicker, richer in fats and more resistant to heat. You may use other types of yoghurt or even curd. The creamier it is, the more delicious it becomes!

Nasi briyani in Malaysia usually consists of evaporated milk to add creaminess to the rice. Besides making the rice creamier, it also makes it fluffier. As I did not have any in hand, I opted for full fat milk instead. It worked just as well too. If you want to use evaporated milk, add 50 ml of evaporated milk instead of the suggested 100 ml full fat milk.

Ghee also plays an important role in making a good plate of nasi briyani. In fact, I honestly think it contributed a huge difference to the flavour. However, it is often sold in big cans and normally would not be fully utilized causing a wastage. Besides, making ghee from scratch is also a hassle. Hence, a quick DIY version of ghee using butter is presented in the video.

Just a reminder, marinate the meat and prepare the ghee one day in advance to lessen the preparation time the following day.


5 tbsp
unsalted butter
green cardamom
star anise
cinnamon stick(s)
1 tsp
cumin seeds
red onion(s)
pandan leaves
100 ml
150 ml
190 g
basmati rice
1 1⁄4 tsp
1⁄4 tsp
1 tbsp
150 g
350 g
chicken meat
1 1⁄2
coriander powder
1 tsp
chilli powder
1 1⁄2 tsp
cumin powder
1 tsp
turmeric powder
1 tsp
black pepper powder
1 1⁄2 tsp
fennel seeds
garlic clove(s)
3 cm
1⁄2 tsp
1 1⁄2 l

Steps to Prepare

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 1

Step 1 of 8

    • 5 tbsp unsalted butter

Prepare ghee by heating butter, as listed in (A) and (B) at lowest heat until whey floats to the top. Remove whey and set aside.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 2

Step 2 of 8

    • 3 clove(s)
    • 3 green cardamom
    • 1 star anise
    • 1 cinnamon stick(s)
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1⁄2 red onion(s)
    • 1 pandan leaves
    • 100 ml milk
    • 150 ml water
    • 190 g basmati rice
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Using 1.5 tablespoons of ghee, sauté all spices listed in (A) at low heat. Add slices of half a red onion and saute until they are slightly wilted. Add knotted pandan leaf and basmati rice into the pot. Pour in milk, water and salt. Cook at high heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to the lowest and allow it to simmer until cooked.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 3

Step 3 of 8

    • 1⁄4 tsp saffron
    • 1 tbsp water

Meanwhile, prepare saffron water by toasting saffron in a dry pan at low heat for 50-60 seconds. Then, add 1 tablespoon of boiling water to saffron and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 4

Step 4 of 8

Once rice is ready, pour saffron water onto rice. Cover the pot of rice with the lid and leave it aside.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 5

Step 5 of 8

    • 150 g yogurt
    • 350 g chicken meat
    • 2 star anise
    • 1 cinnamon stick(s)
    • 3 green cardamom
    • 1 1⁄2 coriander powder
    • 1 tsp chilli powder
    • 1 1⁄2 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp black pepper powder
    • 1 1⁄2 tsp fennel seeds
    • 3 garlic clove(s)
    • 1⁄2 red onion(s)
    • 3 cm ginger

Marinate chicken with yoghurt for at least 30 minutes. Then, use the rest of the ghee to sauté all spices listed in B (garlic, ginger and chopped red onions) at low heat until fragrant.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 6

Step 6 of 8

Stir in tomatoes and knotted pandan leaf and saute for 3 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly softer.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 7

Step 7 of 8

    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1⁄2 tsp sugar
    • 1 1⁄2 l water

Add marinated chicken pieces (after removing as much yoghurt as possible) and coat them evenly with the spices. Add enough water to cover chicken pieces and increase heat to the highest. Then, add yoghurt which was removed from chicken pieces and stir well. Once curry boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Nasi Briyani Ayam Step 8

Step 8 of 8

Serve rice with chicken curry and garnish with some fried raisins, fried cashew nuts, chillies, spring onions and fried shallots.

Published: September 2, 2017

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