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July 23, 2017

Chicken Breyani from the Bo Kaap.

Posted on October 27, 2010 by in Chicken

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To me Chicken Breyani and the aromas of a fragrant curry simmering somewhere are reminiscent of the Bo Kaap. Whenever I visit Atlas Trading to stock up on spices, those are the aromas that await me in the area.
I imagine a family getting together around a table enjoying the fruits of the mother’s labor in the kitchen all day!Sadly though, I have never cooked Chicken Breyani! I have always thought it
too much effort and too many pots and pans to wash afterwards, but boy, was I wrong! I do not know if this is the authentic way of cooking breyani, but the aroma that filled my house yesterday was so authentically Bo Kaap that I was happy and content with my first attempt.

Here in Cape Town, at every school fair, church bazaar or fund raiser, someone is selling Styro Foam or Paper plates filled to the brim with breyani. Sometimes to save costs, the breyani is cooked  with only the spices and rice andyou could easily run a competition on the side: SPOT THE CHICKEN AND WIN  A CAR! No one will ever spot the chicken in the breyani, ’cause there is no chicken in the breyani!  A good breyani in my opinion should have whole pieces of succulent chicken, lentils, lots of onion and then of course a boiled egg on top.
I visited my local nut vendor to stock up on some dried fruits and nuts yesterday, when I saw packets of with  Breyani Mix on the shelf. It was just a blend of bay leaves, dried coriander, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom pods and all spice. Brilliant, I did not have to measure and count, I could just use this packet! In the end I used only some of the packet ( less than ½) which to you means absolutely nothing since you do not know the size of the packet, so I have scribbled down some quantities for you.

Chicken Breyani


4 chicken breasts – I used bone and skin  on ( more flavor)
500gr rice – basmati or normal
2 large onions sliced thinly
2-3 cloves garlic – crushed
thumb size piece fresh ginger – grated
1 tbsp  fennel seeds
1 tbsp dry coriander seeds
2 sticks cinnamon
2 star anise
5-6 all spice
2 bay leaves
3-4 cardamom pods – just cracked to release flavor
1 tbsp gara masala
1 tbsp curry powder
vegetable oil
about 1½ liters of  chicken stock
salt/pepper
1 tin lentils – drained and washed

4 boiled eggs
finely chopped tomato
chopped coriander
toasted almond slivers
½ cup sultanas or chopped dried apricots

Heat the oil in a pot and add all the spices at once and stir around for a few seconds.( this will release essential oils and flavors) Add the onions and brown slightly and allow to soften. Add the garlic and then the chicken. Move the chicken and onions around in the pot, allowing the chicken to brown slightly. Add some of the chicken stock and simmer for about ½ hour. Now add the rice and again fill up with more chicken stock. Lower the heat, place the lid on and let the rice and chicken cook together until the rice is cooked and has absorbed all the liquid. Add the lentils and sultanas or apricots  and stir through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Dish up and dress with the almonds, chopped tomato, a boiled egg and chopped coriander.

Other Cape Malay Inspired recipes that you can find here on My Easy Cooking.


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15 Responses to “Chicken Breyani from the Bo Kaap.”

  1. House Moving Kits... 27 October 2010 at 11:04 am #

    This dish and the memories we have in Woodstock Cape Town…I'm so glad I could share them with you!!-the HUSBAND

  2. bellini valli 27 October 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    This recipe obviously brings back some wonderful memories. I hope all is well in your world Nina!!!!!!

  3. Marisa 27 October 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Oooh Nina I'm in need of some comfort food today and this would fit the bill perfectly! Just a pity I'll have to wait until we're settled in the new place before I can attempt such culinary masterpieces again. :-/

  4. Junglefrog 27 October 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Great looking dish Nina!

  5. Jamie 28 October 2010 at 11:31 am #

    Oooh I finally made it to lunch here! When you invited us for breyani my mouth started watering but it took me a while to get here! And worth the effort! Never have made a breyani but I love them and have been curious about trying one for ages. I love the final addition of eggs and raisins. Perfect!

  6. Cynthia 28 October 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    I haven't hand anything to eat since breakfast because I am testing recipes for a column… now I look at this an am ravenous. You always do that to me 🙂

  7. Jeanne @ CookSister! 8 November 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    LOL – I love that: "Spot the chicken and win the car!" I agree that breyani needs chunks of chicken to satisfy me – and I often cheat and use the divine Nice & Spicy breyani kits – a real bonus! Gorgeous photos.

  8. Dina 21 March 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    wow!i want this one!

  9. Rinat 13 October 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    It took me some time to find all the ingredients but it was worth it, we all just loved it!! in,great photos

    • sari 25 August 2014 at 12:23 am #

      Hi guys, could u please tell me where did u find all the ingredients? I would like to try to make one for me. And i am not from cape town, just come n stay here for few months. If u could tell me where the place is, i’ll try to get it. Thanks.

  10. ROY HAUPT 15 April 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    there is a real difference between breyani and biryani that is the Indian method of cooking this delightful dish.
    You could try it sometime

  11. Lynne 9 May 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi! Does anyone know who makes this type of dish for catering purposes 😉 Thx a mil

  12. Gerry 24 May 2017 at 9:57 am #

    I am a caterer and will be trying this breyani version

    • nerinatimm 28 May 2017 at 1:37 pm #

      Wonderful, let me know what your guests thought.


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Good ol’ Breyani | Localize Me - June 8, 2014

    […] some great Breyani recipes, check out Pick n Pay’s recipe, Easy Cooking’s recipe and Cooksister’s […]

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