Chicken Dum Biryani with Achar & Tomato Chutney

This is such a great meal to whip up when friends come over because it is celebratory and everything goes so well together. This achar is not the laborious sort that requires a rempah or sun-drying of vegetables. It tastes like the variety that you get at Chinese restaurants or tze char eateries in Singapore and is so quick to whip up!

Chicken Dum Biryani

Adapted from Mdm Krishnan’s South Indian Recipes

Serves 6-8  

Green masala:

5 green chillies (seeded or deseeded, depending on your spice level)

A small bunch of coriander leaves

A small bunch of mint leaves

25g peeled ginger

3 garlic cloves

  1. Grind.

Ground spices:

2 teaspoons cinnamon powder

4 cloves

4 green cardamom

2 teaspoons mace powder

2 teaspoons fennel powder

2 teaspoons cumin powder

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon white pepper powder

  1. Grind

For the fried goodies:  

500g ghee

50g cashew nuts

250g onions, sliced thinly

For the chicken:

1 stick cinnamon

5 cloves

5 cardamoms

1 black cardamom

2 star anise

2 bay leaves

250g onions, sliced thinly

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

Green masala

1 whole chicken (1.5kg), cut into pieces

Ground spices

150g water

60g ground almonds

100g yogurt

½ lemon, squeezed

  1. Fry onions in ghee until golden brown. Strain.
  2. Fry cashew nuts until golden. Strain.
  3. Leave 3 tablespoons ghee in wok. Add whole spices and onions. Fry until soft.
  4. Add tomatoes and fry until soft.
  5. Add green masala mixture and fry until lightly brown.
  6. Add chicken and fry until chicken changes colour.
  7. Add the ground spices. Fry for 5 minutes.
  8. Add 150g water, cover the wok and cook 10 minutes.
  9. Add ground nuts, yogurt and half fried onions. Simmer 5min.
  10. Add lemon juice. Set aside.

For the rice:

1 pandan leaf, washed, torn and knotted

525g basmati rice, washed, soaked 10 minutes, drained

3 tablespoons ghee

50g raisins, soaked in 120g milk with 2 teaspoons turmeric powder

Fried onions, cashew nuts

4 tablespoons rose water

Dough (equal parts of flour and water)

  1. Boil a large pot of well-salted water with the pandan leaves..
  2. Add the drained rice.
  3. When rice is ¾ cooked, about 8 minutes, strain.
  4. In a pot, add chicken pieces and some gravy. Top with rice.
  5. Pour over ghee, raisins and milk, fried onions and cashew nuts, followed by rosewater.
  6. Make a dough to seal and cook gently 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with more chicken gravy on the side

Pineapple Pickle (Achar)

1 red chilli

1 tbs sugar

 1 tsp salt

2 big limes, squeezed

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoons jarred chilli garlic sauce

375g pineapple, cored, cut into small cubes

250g cucumber, seeds removed, cut into small cubes

40g onions, chopped

  1. Grind together the chilli, sugar, salt, lime juice, vinegar, chilli garlic sauce.
  2. Mix together the dressing, pineapple, cucumber and onions.

Tomato Chutney

4 tablespoons ghee

1 stick cinnamon

4 cloves

1 star anise

4 cardamoms

10 cashew nuts

1 tablespoon raisins

200g onion, chopped

500g tomatoes, sliced thinly

Sugar and salt to taste

2 sprigs curry leaves

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  1. Heat the ghee and fry the spices for a minute.
  2. Add cashew nuts and fry till golden.
  3. Add raisins and fry until they plump up.
  4. Add onion and fry until they soften.
  5. Add the tomatoes, rock sugar and salt
  6. Allow it to simmer in its own juices for 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish.
  8. Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee. When hot, add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  9. Once the seeds and leaves splutter, pour the contents of the pan over the chutney.


Pamelia Chia is a Singaporean chef and the author of the bestselling cookbook ‘Wet Market to Table’. After graduating with an Honor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore in 2014, she decided to trade a food scientist’s lab coat in for chef whites. She has since been working in restaurants in Singapore and Melbourne, including Candlenut and Carlton Wine Room. Her deepest interest being the preservation and celebration of Singaporean food heritage and culture, she started Singapore Noodles in 2020 as a platform to share about Singaporean food to a global audience. Find her on Instagram @pameliachia.

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