Originally from Iran and introduced to India by Mughal rulers, biryani is a one-pot dish infused with aromas of various spices paired with meat or vegetables, often referred to as a ‘comfort dish’ for its welcoming blend of flavours.
People have been eating the rice dish in Britain since the 1950s when many people from the first generation migrated from commonwealth countries in South Asia after the Second World War and the Partition of India in search of employment opportunities and a desire for a different life.
Thanks to the commitment of the elders of keeping tradition, culture, and heritage alive, younger generations and people from the wider community, like myself, get to enjoy some of the most delicious recipes that the Indian subcontinent has to offer.
There are two main methods of making biryani, with kachi (raw) biryani being made with raw meat and parboiled rice cooked together and pakki (cooked) biryani in which cooked meat and parboiled rice are steamed together.
With the cost-of-living truly upon us which has seen the price of fuel, utility bills, and the cost of food skyrocket, Asian Standard has once again taken to the isles to compare which leading supermarket in Bradford works out cheapest for delicious chicken biryani.
We have compared the five leading mainstream supermarkets, namely, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer, Aldi, Lidl, with, Al Halal, Manchester Superstore, Pakeezah, Kanapeena and SaveCo to see which one comes out on top.
We compared the price of Tilda’s Pure Basmati Rice, salt, vegetable oil, shallots, onions, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, chicken breast, chilli powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, yoghurt, caster sugar, and raisins which will feed four people.
Across all twelve supermarkets, the average cost for all of the ingredients came to an astonishing £24.14, with the most expensive supermarket costing £32.73 for the seventeen ingredients.
Of course, a lot of people will have some of the spices and dry products already in their cupboards, but we are looking at how much it would cost from scratch if you had to purchase all of the ingredients together.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive mainstream supermarket is M&S which totted up to £31.43, with the cost of the spices, caster sugar, and raisins driving up the prices. The cost of basmati rice (at 4.90) per kilo is also more expensive than the other mainstream shops.
Following M&S is Morrisons, coming in at sixth place. The ingredients for a chicken biryani come in at £23.31, £8.12 less than Marks and Sparks. Halal chicken breast from the Bradford-based supermarket comes in at £4.60, equating to about a fourth of the overall food shop cost.
In fifth place is Sainsbury’s with all 17 ingredients costing £22.29. The various spices used in the recipe cost 85p a piece, with the chicken breast costing £4.25 and raisins costing £2 a pack.
With less than ten pence between them is Tesco (£20.17), Asda (£20.24) It is worth noting that Asda sells Halal chicken breast (£4.30), but Tesco did not at the time of writing this article. A kilo of Tilda rice costs £4 in Asda and £4.75 in Tesco.
The second cheapest supermarket overall is Aldi at (£17.09), however, this is due to the fact that they do not sell branded basmati rice and instead sell their own version which costs £1.35 per kilo. Aldi’s chicken breast is also not halal-certified at the time of writing.
Out of all twelve stores, German retailer Lidl came out on top as the cheapest supermarket for a chicken biryani at £14.95, although it must be noted that the chicken breast (3.49) was not halal-certified and the rice was Taste of India’s rice and not Tilda’s.
Out of the top five Asian supermarkets, Al Halal came out on top at £22.45. It is £11.50 more expensive than the cheapest mainstream grocery store, but the chicken is halal certified. The spices and flavourings cost between a reasonable 89p and 99p for 100g.
Following this is Kanapeena at £26.86 with a kilo of chicken breast costing £6.99 and basmati rice costing £3.99. Vegetable oil was cheaper here (£2.99) than at SaveCo (£3.99) but more than Manchester Superstore (1.59), Pakeezah (£2.09), or Al Halal (£1.69).
Taking the silver medal out of the Asian supermarkets is SaveCo, with the full list of ingredients costing £33.51. Again, the chicken breast was the most expensive ingredient at £6.99, the same as in Kanapeena, but the cost of vegetable oil is the most out of any supermarket and some of the flavourings (turmeric and nutmeg) cost £1.49 each.
Placing dead last out of all the supermarkets in Pakeezah, with a chicken biriyani costing £32.73. The chicken breast was cheaper (£5.99) than at other supermarkets, but the cost of shallots (£3.99 per kilo) and fresh ginger (£2.99 per kilo) bumped up the price.
All prices are correct on Thursday, 21 April 2022.
Here is the recipe:
- 200g/7¼oz basmati rice
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 shallots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh root ginger, grated
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced into strips
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground turmeric
generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup plain yoghurt
2 tsp caster sugar
4 or 5 handfuls raisins
Method of cooking chicken biryani:
Cooking the Rice
Rinse and soak the rice for at least 30 minutes. In a large pot add enough water, 7-8 cups of water and let the water come to a boil.
Once the water starts boiling, add the rice. Let the rice cook till 75% done. Drain and keep it aside.
Adding the flavour
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallots, onions, garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes, until golden brown. Remove a tablespoonful and set aside for garnishing.
Add the chicken and stir fry for four minutes.
Add the spices and stir for one minute, then stir in the yoghurt and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar, raisins and part-cooked rice. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and cover with a lid (this will hold in all the steam).
Place over a very low heat and cook for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for five minutes.
Serve large spoonfuls garnished with the reserved shallot and onion mixture.
Layering of Biryani
In a heavy bottom pan, top it up with half of the cooked rice then add vegetables and biryani masala Now add, the remaining rice.
What recipe should we check next? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.