Photo of Chicken biriyani in a pumpkin cauldron by WW

Chicken biriyani in a pumpkin cauldron

Points® value
Total Time
3 hr 45 min
45 min
3 hr
This recipe takes time to make, but it’s so worth it. You get a delicious curry, and a wicked Halloween buffet centrepiece too.



500 g, edible variety rather than the carving variety

Calorie controlled cooking spray

4 spray(s)

Coriander, fresh

2 tablespoon(s), roughly chopped, to serve


20 g, toasted, flaked, to serve

Chicken breast, skinless, raw

400 g, cut into 3 cm cubes

0% fat natural Greek yogurt

200 g

Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon(s), level

Garam Masala

1 teaspoon(s), level

Coriander, Dried

1 teaspoon(s), level


1 teaspoon(s)


4 medium, roughly chopped

Vegetable stock cube

¼ cube(s), made with 150 ml water


260 g

Brown basmati rice, dry

200 g

Cloves, Whole or Ground

8 individual

Cinnamon Stick

1 stick(s)

Cardamom Pods

1 teaspoon(s)


2 large, finely sliced

Root Ginger

50 g, peeled, and roughly chopped


4 clove(s), roughly chopped

Chilli, green or red

1 individual, roughly chopped

0% fat natural Greek yogurt

300 g


½ individual, extra large, seeds removed and finely chopped

Mint, Fresh

10 g, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas mark 6. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Mist the inside of the pumpkin with cooking spray. Replace the top and roast for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is just tender.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken, onions and rice. For the chicken, combine the meat, yogurt and ground spices in a bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. For the rice, soak the grains in a large bowl filled with cold water, and set aside.
  3. To make the caramelised onions, mist a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and fry the onions over a low heat for 25 minutes. If they start to stick, add a splash of water to the pan. Put the ginger, garlic and chilli in a small food processor with a splash of water and blitz until smooth. Add to the pan with the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. To make the chicken, mist a nonstick pan with cooking spray and cook the meat, in batches, over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until golden. Return the chicken to the pan with the yogurt marinade, tomatoes and a splash of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then simmer uncovered for 3-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the spinach to wilt.
  5. To make the rice, bring a pan of water to a boil. Drain and rinse the rice and add to the pan with the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Parboil for 8 minutes, then drain and set aside, discarding the spices.
  6. Reduce the oven to 160°C, fan 140°C, gas mark 2. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, leaving a 3cm thick border. Chop then set half aside to use another day (see cook’s tip). Put the shell on a baking sheet.
  7. Spoon the chicken, roasted pumpkin, onions, and rice into the pumpkin shell, in layers, then pour over the stock. Secure the top, then roast for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  8. Make the raita by combining all the raita ingredients in a small bowl, then seasoning.
  9. Once the biriyani is cooked, leave to stand for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate, remove the top and scatter over the almonds and coriander. Serve in bowls topped with a spoonful of raita.


Store leftover roasted pumpkin flesh in the fridge to make a tasty soup or add to a salad.