There will be no beautifully decorated Ramadan tents this year as the coronavirus lockdown continues, but that doesn’t mean iftar will not be as special. So while we break the fast in isolation, take a moment to relish the company of family and loved ones with this delightful biryani dish.


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 large black cardamoms
  • 6-7 black peppercorns
  • 2.5cm cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups basmati or any other long-grain rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 mins
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 8-10 strands of saffron
  • Fried onion slices, sliced green chillies, chopped coriander, thinly sliced fresh red chillies, to garnish


  • Heat oil in a large pan. Add onions and sauté until golden brown. Now add all the whole spices and sauté until they begin to splutter, a few seconds.
  • Add chickpeas and chopped tomato and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until tomato is soft.
  • Drain the rice and add it to the pan. Stir gently so the grains do not break. Now add water and bring it to the boil. Season with salt, lower the heat and sprinkle saffron over. Cover and let it cook until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and set aside for about 5 minutes. Garnish and serve hot with roasted poppadoms, pickle and plain yogurt.


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