Burmese Biryani (Danbauk) with Chicken

Burmese Chicken Biryani by Yummy Calories

The Burmese biryani, known as “danbauk”, is one of my favourite dishes when I go and visit Myanmar. It is different from other biryanis mainly because the chicken is cooked with the rice and it also features cashew nuts, raisins, and peas. It is a very fragrant dish and you can smell it long before it is ready to eat.


Prep time 1 hour + 1 hour marinade time
Cook time 1 hour

Serves 8 (633 calories per serve)

Chicken marinade
2kg chicken pieces (I like using chicken drumsticks)
150g plain yoghurt
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp sweet paprika powder
1/2 tsp masala powder
1 tbsp salt
Spice mix
10 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup peanut oil
6 cardamom pods
6 cloves
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp salt
4 cups of basmati rice (or more if you like a higher rice/chicken ratio)
1 pinch of saffron threads
60g peas
60g cashew nuts
60g raisins
6 bay leaves

Note: You will need a big pot with a lid like this but I also like using an electric wok, which happens to be the perfect size for a batch.

Marinate the chicken with the yoghurt, tumeric powder, ginger powder, sweet paprika powder, masala powder and salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge for an hour.

Heat the peanut oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots in batches until golden brown and crispy. Set aside to cool on a paper towel and save the oil for use later.

Cook the basmati rice in a rice cooker. Sometimes I put a pinch of saffron threads in while it’s cooking. Otherwise I put them in while I’m layering. The amount of water you use can vary to your preferences but I would use less water than usual so that the rice is still rather firm to absorb the chicken gravy.

Roast the cardamom pods, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and cinnamon stick in a small pan until they become fragrant. Be careful not to burn it. You can tell the pan is getting too hot when the cumin and coriander seeds start to jump out.

Ground the roasted spices with a mortar and pestle. Then add this spice mixture and salt to the fried shallots previously prepared.

Grease the bottom and sides of a large pot (or electric wok in my case) with some of the leftover oil from frying the onions.

Place the chicken in a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Then top it evenly with the rice, onion and spice mixture, peas, cashew nuts, and raisins. If you haven’t put the saffron threads in while cooking the rice, you can sprinkle some on now.

Drizzle the remaining peanut oil on top. 

Cover and let it cook on low heat for an hour. If you are using thicker pieces of chicken like Maryland, you may have to let it cook for longer.

Serve on its own or with condiments such as balachaung (dried shrimp mix) and cucumber raita (not included in calorie count).


Step by Step Video

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