A low-carb alternative to a flavorful classic | The Indian SCENE

A low-carb alternative to a flavorful classic

Our food contributor updates her mother’s ‘famous’ biryani recipe

Photo courtesy of JoJo's Healthy Living.
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This low-carb chicken biryani is a perfect low-carb alternative dish, whether you are on a weight-loss journey, a diabetic trying to avoid blood sugar spikes caused by high carb meals, or simply enjoy eating low-carb delicious foods.

Biryani is a world-renowned South Asian dish. It is traditionally made with either meat or veggies cooked with rice and an assortment of aromatic spices ground into a fine “masala” paste. The mixture is then simmered in coconut milk creating a bold and flavorful dish. In this version of low carb chicken biryani, I’ve used my mom’s famous biryani recipe but substituted the traditional white rice for cauliflower “rice” which has the same rich flavor but has a lower glycemic index.

How to make cauliflower “rice”:

As the name implies, cauliflower is the main ingredient used to make the pizza “dough.” Cauliflower “rice” or “pearls” can be made in a food processor. If using fresh cauliflower, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets and steam until tender. If using frozen cauliflower, skip this step. Add the florets to a food processor in small batches and pulse the cauliflower until small rice-sized pieces are formed. You can also buy cauliflower “rice” from a grocery store which can save time.


500 grams of chicken

1 head of cauliflower “riced”

1 red onion sliced

1/4 cup cashews

6 cloves garlic

1/2 inch ginger

4 green chilles

1 can organic coconut milk

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 cloves

1 inch cinnamon bark

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)

salt to taste


Grind the garlic, ginger, chilies, cloves and cinnamon to a fine paste.

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan such as a cast iron pot.

Add the coriander powder and turmeric powder to the hot oil and let roast for a few seconds. If you’re looking to spice up the dish, add the red chili power at this point.

Add the ground paste to the pan and cook until its golden brown.

Add the chicken and sauté for a few minutes until the edges start to brown

Now, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 20 mins or until the chicken is well cooked.

In the meantime, add ghee to a separate pan and caramelize the onions.

Remove the caramelized onions and roast the cashews in the residual ghee.

Once the chicken is well-cooked, add the riced cauliflower to the pot and let it cook for a few minutes, taking care not to let it overcook, as the cauliflower will turn mushy if overcooked.

Remove the dish from the stove top and garnish with the caramelized onions and roasted cashews.


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