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Singapore Nasi Briyani – A ‘Fusion’ Biriyani


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Singapore Nasi Briyani 

Singapore Nasi Briyani is quite different from the Indian kinds. As is the spelling. Quite a work of

fusion. Easier to prepare (No ‘Dum’ Cooking involved) – with a distinct Malay influence. It is a popular dish at the local hawkers centers. In Singapore and Malaysia this is a sought after recipe!

There are so may varieties though. I once had the best Singapore Nasi Briyani at a hawkers centre in Jurong Town. I have tried 15 recipes since to copy the wonderful aroma I got that day. With a lot of experimentation I finally developed the recipe to my satisfaction. This rice dish is wonderfully aromatic and the chicken is so tender with a delicious thickened gravy. Scroll down for video.

Singapore Nasi Briyani 


  • 1.5 kg mutton or chicken

For the Rice:

  • 4 cups  Basmati rice or long grained rice→washed 3 times with cold water→drained
  • 4 rounded Tbsp  ghee
  • 2 medium onions  onions sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic,minced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger,chopped finely
  • ½ Tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ Tbsp cloves
  • 1 Tbsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • ¹⁄8 – ¼cup grated carrot(optional)
  • 4 leaves of pandan leaf/screwpine (knotted)
  •  5 cups water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  •  salt to taste about 3- 3½ tsp
  • 1 tsp or more Kewra Essence
  • a few drops of liquid yellow food coloring (optional)

For the Marinade:

  • 1 entire bulb of garlic and the same amount of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lime

For the Masala/Gravy:

  • ½ cup  oil.
  • 4 (250 gms) onions, sliced
  • 1½ Tbsp garlic,minced
  • 1½ Tbsp ginger,minced
  • 1 Tbsp cardamom pods
  • ½ Tbsp cinamon stick
  • ½ Tbsp cloves
  • about 1 tsp pepper powder
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp fennel powder
  • 4 knotted pandan leaves
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Chili Powder

For Garnish:

  • Golden Sultanas/Raisins, Cashews and 2 medium Onions, sliced
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro/ coriander


For the rice:

  • In a Rice cooker or Pot, Heat ghee.
  • Saute onions  till golden.  Add the  garlic,  ginger, cinamon, cloves, cardamom. Saute well.
  • Add tomato puree, stir and then add carrot.
  • Add  pandan leaf. Cook 1 minute.
  • Add water and bring to boil. Add salt.
  • Now add the rice,  stir and bring back to a simmer.
  • Next, add the evaporated milk. Cover and cook till water runs dry. Fluff up the rice with a fork.
  • (if using Rice Cooker – TURN OFF the Rice Cooker – do not keep on warm setting ot the bottom layer of rice will become crisp)
  • Remove the rice to a serving platter and sprinkle the Kewra Essence evenly through out the fluffed rice.
  • Also add the yellow food coloring, if using and toss so that you gets specks of yellow throughout the rice.

For the Chicken/Mutton:

  • Rinse the chicken/ mutton well and drain.
  • Add the ingredients for marinade and rub well into the chicken. Allow to sit for  ½ an hour or so while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the pieces of chicken to fry lightly on both sides.  ( We do not want to cook the chicken, just to get the outer flesh light golden.- This helps to keep the chicken moist while cooking.)
  • Set aside chicken and strain the oil from the pan.
  • Heat some of the strained oil again. Add onions, garlic and saute till softened.
  • Add cardamom, cinamon, cloves, pepper powder, turmeric powder and pandan leaves. Stir till aromatic.
  • Add chicken or Mutton and Stir-fry for a few minutes.
  • For chicken: Add 1- 1 1/2 cups  water and cook, covered for 10-15 minutes on low over medium heat.
  • For mutton: Add enough water to cover the mutton and cook, covered for 30-35 minutes on low over medium heat.
  • Add on top of rice and serve.
  • You may garnish with some fried golden raisins, cashews and fresh chopped coriander/cilantro.

Singapore Nasi Briyani

Try it and let us know 🙂 –  Singapore Nasi Briyani

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One Comment

  1. Avatar Nancy Wee 8 months ago

    I tried this recipe, and must admit it tastes just like my favorite indian stall that sells delicious Nasi Biryani! You must be a real talented chef to provide such accurate measures. The smells and the taste! Simply super! Thank you Shana!

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