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This easy akni recipe makes a great option for a celebration. It's a little easier than biryani, but delivers the same richly flavoured rice-and-chicken combo.


  • 2 t chilli powder
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 t dhania (coriander)
  • 2 T masala (or curry powder of choice)
  • fresh coriander, for serving
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 T garlic-and-ginger paste
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 3 sticks cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 T tomato paste
  • 2 kg chicken portions
  • 5 onions (2 ringed and braised and set aside, and 3 diced to sauté)
  • 4 T oil
  • 3 chillies (halved)
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 - 2 T salt
  • fresh dhania (coriander), finely cut
  • 100 g butter

Cooking Instructions

1. Combine all the spices up until the star anise for the marinade. Add the buttermilk and tomato paste. Add the chicken to the marinade and leave in the fridge for 2 hours.

2. Fry the ringed onions until brown, remove from the pot and set aside. Add the oil and diced onions with the chillies to the pot and sauté until soft.

3. Add the marinated chicken to the pot and simmer for 5–10 minutes. Now add the quartered potatoes and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and add the dried, uncooked basmati rice and the water.

4. At this stage, I add more salt and a handful of fresh dhania. Close the pot and leave, checking at regular intervals to see if more water is needed or whether the rice and potatoes are cooked.

5. Once satisfied that it’s cooked, add the butter and cover with lunch wrap. Replace the lid, and leave on low heat. Just before serving, add the fried ringed onions and more fresh dhania. Serve with sides of your choice.

Find more chicken recipes here.

The Lockdown Recipe Storytelling Book is published by Annake Müller Publishing. Royalties from sales of the book go to the Ubuntu Feeding Scheme. It’s available for R450 (excluding courier costs) by contacting cairistine@gmail.com.


Phoebe Sobotker Recipe by: Phoebe Sobotker
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