Iraqi-Style Biryani | Nana's Kitchen

Iraqi biryani is a spiced rice dish with veggies, shredded chicken and raisins. It's a classic dish with many variations, enjoyed in many countries and cultures. Leave out the chicken and use vegetable broth (or plain water) instead to make an easy vegetarian/vegan dinner!
  • 1/2 to 1 chicken (mix of bones and meat)
  • about 6-7 cups of water
  • 1 yellow onion
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
Rice & Veggies:
  • 3 cups long grain white rice
  • 1-2 cups of bagged frozen mixed veggies (the one Nana buys has corn, green beans, peas, carrots and lima beans. You can find them in the freezer section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 medium yellow potatoes
  • 1-2 yellow onion(s)
  • 1-2 cups raisins (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp (or to taste) biryani spice mixture (Nana has a mix from Iraq, but you can usually find it a most Arab grocery stores)
  • salt to taste
  • oil
  1. Cut your chicken into medium pieces and put it into a large pot with oil. Chop your onion into large quarters. Brown your chicken and onions over medium-high heat; then add the water and spices. Let it come to a boil; then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.
  2. Once your chicken is fully cooked, take out the larger pieces and set aside. Then, strain the broth into a bowl to remove the onions and smaller pieces/bones. Save the broth and chicken meat for later.
  3. Get your rice and veggies ready while the chicken is cooking. Rinse your rice until the water runs mostly clear. Then, soak your rice in a bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes.
  4. Peel and cut your potatoes into small cubes. Rinse the potatoes to get rid of some of the starch. Drain and salt your potatoes. Add about an inch or so of vegetable oil to a pot over medium heat. Add the potatoes once the oil has heated up and fry until golden brown and mostly cooked.  
  5. Dice your onions while the potatoes are frying. Add them to a large pot with a couple tablespoons of oil. Cook over medium heat for a couple minutes, then add the frozen veggie mix. Salt to taste and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes more.
  6. Drain your rice and add to the onions and veggies. Mix together well and continue cooking for a few minutes. Make sure to stir frequently. Then, add the strained broth to the rice. Add the biryani spice mix and stir. Put the lid on the pot and let it cook until half of the broth has been absorbed. Then, lower the heat to low.
  7. Fry your raisins and chicken while the rice is cooking. First, rinse your raisins and let the water drain. Fry the chicken pieces in the oil you used for the potatoes. Fry until golden brown (or to your preference). Remove the chicken, then fry the raisins. Fry the raisins until they puff up, then remove and set aside.
  8. Shred your chicken (size will depend on your preference) and remove all bones. Add the chicken, raisins, and potatoes to the rice. Put a clean towel over the pot, then the lid. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.
  9. Enjoy!

You can watch how Nana makes it here: