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Khao Mok Gai Recipe (Thai Chicken Biryani)

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Indulge in the captivating flavors of Thailand with our Khao Mok Gai Recipe. This exquisite Thai Chicken Biryani is a culinary masterpiece that harmoniously marries marinated chicken and fragrant jasmine rice in one pot. With each bite, you’ll experience the perfect balance of spices, where the warmth of yellow curry powder, turmeric, and aromatic herbs infuse the tender chicken pieces, creating a symphony of flavors.

With its complex yet well-balanced flavors, Khao Mok Gai stands as a testament to the culinary prowess of Thai-Muslim cuisine. It invites you to embark on a gastronomic journey that explores the intersection of Thai and Indian culinary traditions. Whether enjoyed as a family meal or a special occasion centerpiece, our Khao Mok Gai Recipe promises to transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Thailand, making it an unforgettable dining experience. Try our Khao Mok Gai Recipe and savor the true essence of authentic Thai cuisine at its finest.

The Origins of Khao Mok Gai Recipe

You’d be intrigued to know that the Khao Mok Gai recipe has its roots in the Thai Muslim community. This flavorful dish, also known as Thai Chicken Biryani, is a testament to the cultural fusion that has occurred over centuries. It’s not just a meal; it’s a delicious piece of history on your plate.

You might be wondering how this dish came to be. Well, it’s believed that traders from the Middle East brought the biryani recipe to Thailand. Inspired, the local Thai Muslim community added their unique spin to it, creating Khao Mok Gai. They incorporated local Thai spices and ingredients, like lemongrass, turmeric, and coriander, which aren’t typically found in traditional biryani recipes. The result? A mouthwatering, fragrant, and spicy dish that’s become a staple in Thai cuisine.

The Flavor Profile of Thai Biryani

With its blend of unique ingredients, Khao Mok Gai offers a flavor profile that’s unlike anything you’ve tasted before. The dish is a symphony of contrasting flavors, where sweet, savory, spicy, and tangy all come together beautifully.

The tender chicken, marinated in a mix of spices including turmeric, coriander, and cumin, is the star of the show. Its earthy and robust flavor is enhanced by the aromatic jasmine rice cooked in rich chicken broth, delivering a satisfying hearty taste.

The zingy touch of mint leaves and coriander adds a refreshing note, balancing the richness of the dish. You’ll also enjoy the textures in Khao Mok Gai. The softness of the chicken and rice is offset by the crunch of fried onions and the occasional burst of juicy raisins.

The final touch is a side serving of a tangy cucumber and pineapple relish, adding a fruity and tart contrast. In every bite, you’ll experience a medley of flavors that’s the hallmark of Thai cuisine.

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Key Ingredients in Khao Mok Gai

First, you can’t forget the chicken, preferably bone-in for added flavor. This is the star of the dish, and you’ll want to make sure it’s seasoned and cooked to perfection.

Second, the fragrant jasmine rice. It’s not just any rice; it carries a unique aroma and taste that’s integral to Thai cuisine.

Then, there’s the Thai spice blend that includes turmeric, coriander and cumin. These spices give Khao Mok Gai its distinctive yellow hue and warming, earthy flavors.

Next, you’ll need crispy fried shallots. These little gems add a punch of flavor and a delightful crunch that contrasts brilliantly with the soft rice and tender chicken.

Finally, the dish wouldn’t be complete without a generous drizzle of the tangy, sweet and spicy sauce made from sugar, vinegar, and chili. This sauce elevates the biryani by adding a hit of heat and a subtle sweetness that balances out the flavors.

The Role of Spices in Khao Mok Gai

The spice blend in your Khao Mok Gai isn’t just for flavor; it plays a significant role in defining the dish’s unique character and appeal. You’ll find the dish bursting with a harmonious blend of spices like cumin, coriander and turmeric. These contribute to the rich, earthy, and slightly sweet essence that’s synonymous with this Thai delicacy.

Let’s not overlook the magic of turmeric. It’s the key player in Khao Mok Gai, lending the dish its signature golden hue and distinct, warm flavor. Turmeric also provides health benefits, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Cumin and coriander work together to add an aromatic, slightly citrusy punch, while cardamom imparts a sweet, spicy edge. You’ll notice that the spices aren’t overpowering but well balanced, allowing the taste of the chicken and rice to shine through.

The spices in Khao Mok Gai don’t just make your taste buds happy. They’re an integral part of the dish’s identity, helping to achieve a flavorful depth and complexity. The right blend can transport you straight to the street food scenes of Thailand. Remember, it’s not just about the heat; it’s about the harmony of flavors.

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Common Variations of Khao Mok Gai

In your culinary adventures, you’ll find several variations of Khao Mok Gai, each with its own unique twist. While the original dish consists of chicken, rice, and an assortment of Thai spices, there are many ways to switch it up and make it your own.

Perhaps the most common variation is replacing the chicken with beef, creating Khao Mok Nuea. The beef adds a richer, deeper flavor that pairs well with the fragrant spices.

There’s also Khao Mok Gai Tod, where the chicken is fried before being added to the dish, resulting in a delightful crunch.

For seafood lovers, Khao Mok Talay is a dream come true. This dish incorporates various kinds of seafood such as shrimp, squid, and mussels, offering a taste of the ocean in every bite.

Alternatively, if you’re vegetarian, you can substitute the meat with tofu or a medley of vegetables for Khao Mok Jay.

Lastly, you might come across Khao Mok Gai Bai Bua, where the chicken is wrapped in lotus leaves before it’s cooked. This adds a subtle, floral note to the dish.

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How to make Khao Mok Gai (Thai Chicken Biryani) at home

Khao Mok Gai is a delightful Thai-Muslim dish that beautifully blends the aromatic flavors of Thailand with the rich heritage of Indian cuisine. This one-pot wonder features succulent chicken marinated in a vibrant medley of spices, cooked to perfection alongside fragrant jasmine rice. Garnished with crispy deep-fried shallots and served with a zesty cilantro-mint dipping sauce, Khao Mok Gai offers a symphony of tastes and textures that make it a must-try Thai culinary experience.
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 4
Calories 450 kcal


  • Large Heavy-Bottomed Pot with Lid: This will be your main cooking vessel for preparing both the chicken and rice together.
  • Bowl for Marinating Chicken: A mixing bowl for marinating the chicken with spices and seasonings.
  • Cutting board and knife For chopping shallots, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients as needed.
  • Blender or Food Processor: To prepare the dipping sauce with cilantro, mint, ginger, garlic, chilies, and other ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons and cups For accurate measurement of spices, salt, sugar, vinegar, and other ingredients.
  • Paper towels To drain and pat dry the deep-fried shallots.
  • Baking Sheet (if needed): If you choose to bake the chicken before adding it to the pot, you'll need a baking sheet.
  • Spatula or wooden spoon For stirring and handling the chicken and rice during cooking.
  • Frying Pan (if needed): If you're deep-frying the shallots separately, you'll need a frying pan or skillet.
  • Slotted Spoon or Tongs: To remove the deep-fried shallots from the oil.
  • Small Serving Bowls: To serve the dipping sauce and garnishes.
  • Plates and Serving Platter: For presenting and serving the finished Khao Mok Gai.
  • Fork: For fluffing the cooked rice and serving the dish.
  • Oven (if baking chicken): Only if you choose to bake the chicken before adding it to the pot.


For Chicken Marinade:

  • 900 gram bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs, or a combination)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced

For Rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 2 pandan leaves (optional, for fragrance)
  • 1 tsp salt

For Garnish:

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

For Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 -inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 red or green Thai chilies (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Chicken Marinade:

  • In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients – vegetable oil, yellow curry powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, and minced ginger.
  • Rub the marinade mixture onto the chicken pieces, ensuring they are evenly coated. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

Rice and Chicken Cooking:

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat some vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced shallots and fry until they turn golden brown and crispy. Remove the fried shallots from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • In the same pot with the remaining oil, add the marinated chicken pieces. Sear the chicken on all sides until they turn golden brown.
  • Add the rinsed jasmine rice to the pot with the seared chicken. Stir for a couple of minutes until the rice is coated with the flavorful oil.
  • Pour in the water, add the pandan leaves (if using), and sprinkle salt over the rice and chicken. Bring everything to a boil.
  • Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the chicken is tender.

Dipping Sauce:

  • While the rice and chicken are cooking, prepare the dipping sauce. In a blender or food processor, combine cilantro leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic, Thai chilies, white vinegar, sugar, and salt. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more sugar or salt if needed. Transfer the sauce to a small serving bowl.


  • Once the rice and chicken are cooked, fluff the rice with a fork, and discard the pandan leaves if used.
  • To serve, plate the one-pot Khao Mok Gai and garnish with the deep-fried shallots and fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Serve the dish hot, with the cilantro-mint dipping sauce on the side.


  • Chicken Selection: You can use a combination of chicken pieces like drumsticks and thighs or use boneless chicken if you prefer. Adjust the cooking time accordingly if you use boneless chicken as it will cook faster.
  • Marinating Time: While a 30-minute marination is sufficient to infuse flavors into the chicken, you can marinate it longer for even more flavor. Overnight marination in the refrigerator is an excellent option for richer taste.
  • Pandan Leaves: Pandan leaves are optional but add a lovely fragrance to the rice. If you can’t find pandan leaves, you can omit them, and the dish will still be delicious.
  • Rice Consistency: Make sure not to overcook the rice. It should be fluffy and separate, not mushy. Keep an eye on it during the simmering stage to avoid overcooking.
  • Deep-Frying Shallots: When deep-frying shallots, use enough oil to submerge them completely. Fry in batches if necessary, and ensure the oil is hot enough to make the shallots crisp quickly. Be cautious while frying to prevent burning.
  • Dipping Sauce Variations: Feel free to adjust the dipping sauce to your taste. You can make it spicier by adding more chilies or milder by reducing the chili content. Adjust the sugar and salt levels to balance the flavors to your preference.
  • Presentation: Garnish the finished dish with fresh cilantro leaves and the deep-fried shallots just before serving. This adds both flavor and a pleasing visual element to the dish.
  • Serving: Khao Mok Gai is traditionally served family-style, with the chicken and rice on a large platter or in a communal dish. Guests can help themselves and enjoy the dipping sauce on the side.
Keyword chicken, Rice, Rice Dish

Pairing Suggestions for Khao Mok Gai

Despite its complex flavors, you’ll find that Khao Mok Gai pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. This aromatic Thai Chicken Biryani is traditionally served with a refreshing cucumber salad or ‘Ajat’. The coolness and crunch of the cucumber balance the rich, fragrant rice and tender chicken, providing a delightful contrast.

If you’re seeking more depth, consider pairing it with a side of Thai papaya salad, also known as ‘Som Tam’. The spiciness and tanginess of Som Tam will compliment the hearty Khao Mok Gai, creating a symphony of flavors in your mouth.

For beverages, a cool glass of Thai iced tea or ‘Cha Yen’ will be your perfect companion. Its sweet, creamy taste will mellow down the spices, making you appreciate the biryani even more.

Lastly, if you’re looking for an extra punch, don’t miss out on the traditional Thai chili sauce ‘Nam Jim Jaew’. Its tangy, spicy, and sweet flavors will enhance the overall biryani experience.

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Vegan Alternatives for Khao Mok Gai

If you’re a vegan, your love for Khao Mok Gai doesn’t have to be compromised. There are several ways to make this Thai classic dish without any animal products.

Firstly, instead of using chicken, you can use tofu, tempeh or seitan as the protein source. These will give you the hearty texture you’re looking for and they’ll soak up the flavors of the dish beautifully. If you’re a fan of jackfruit, it’s another great chicken substitute due to its meaty texture.

In terms of the rice, you’re in luck because it’s already vegan. Just be sure to cook it in vegetable stock for added flavor. And for the key spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves, they’re all plant-based, so no problems there either.

Now, what about the sauce? Often, traditional recipes call for fish sauce. But, you can easily replace this with soy sauce or tamari.

Finally, don’t forget the garnish. Fried onions, raisins, and fresh mint leaves are all vegan-friendly.

Khao Mok Gai Vs. Indian Biryani

At first glance, you’d think they’re the same. Both dishes utilize chicken and rice as core components and are infused with a variety of aromatic spices. However, the similarities end there. Khao Mok Gai uses turmeric to give the dish its unique yellow color and distinct flavor, while Biryani employs a more complex blend of spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, creating a more layered taste.

Cooking methods also differ. Khao Mok Gai is cooked in a way similar to steaming, with the chicken and rice cooked together, allowing flavors to meld. On the other hand, Biryani involves partially cooking the chicken and rice separately before layering and cooking them together to completion.

Lastly, condiments and garnishes are different. Khao Mok Gai is typically served with a tangy cucumber salad and a spicy green sauce, while Biryani is often accompanied by a boiled egg, raita (yogurt-based side dish), or a side of curry.

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Exploring Khao Mok Gai Street Food Culture

Diving into the street food culture, you’ll find that Khao Mok Gai is a prominent figure, continuing to offer its unique culinary experience amidst bustling markets and roadside stalls. This Thai version of biryani is a staple that locals can’t resist and tourists are eager to try.

You’ll see it prepared in large pans with the aroma of spices filling the air. The chicken, marinated in a blend of turmeric, coriander, and lemongrass, is cooked with fragrant rice until it absorbs all the flavors. It’s a dish that’s as vibrant and colorful as Thailand’s street food scene itself.

Walking along the streets, you’ll notice that each vendor adds their own twist to Khao Mok Gai. Some top it with crispy fried onions, others with a side of sweet and spicy sauce, and some even offer an egg on top. It’s this diversity that makes exploring Khao Mok Gai’s street food culture an adventure itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Khao Mok Gai Considered a Healthy Dish?

Yes, you’d generally consider Khao Mok Gai a healthy dish. It’s packed with lean protein from the chicken and the rice provides complex carbs.

However, like any dish, it’s all about portion control. It also has a rich array of spices, like turmeric and cumin, that are good for you.

Just be mindful of the amount of oil used in preparation, as it can increase the calorie content.

How Long Does It Take to Prepare and Cook Khao Mok Gai?

You’re wondering about the time investment for making Khao Mok Gai. It’s not a quick dish to whip up. You’ll need about 30 minutes for preparation- chopping up herbs, marinating the chicken.

Then comes the cooking part. This can take up to an hour, as slow cooking is key to infuse the flavors.

So, you’re looking at roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes from start to finish.

Worth it for the delicious result though!

Are There Any Popular Cultural or Regional Festivals in Thailand That Feature Khao Mok Gai?

Yes, there are.

In Thailand, food plays a major part in celebrations and Khao Mok Gai is no exception.

Songkran, the Thai New Year, often features this dish.

It’s also popular during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, even though it’s a meat dish. They make a vegetarian version!

Can Khao Mok Gai Be Frozen and Reheated Without Losing Its Taste and Texture?

Yes, you can freeze Khao Mok Gai and reheat it without losing its taste and texture. Just make sure you cool it down properly before freezing.

When you’re ready to eat, thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat gently. You’ll find it’s just as delicious as when you first cooked it.

Just be careful not to overheat it, as it could dry out the chicken and make the rice mushy.

Are There Any Religious or Cultural Significance Attached to Khao Mok Gai in Thailand?

You’re curious about the cultural or religious significance of Khao Mok Gai in Thailand. While it’s a beloved dish, it doesn’t hold any particular religious connotations.

It’s often enjoyed during celebratory occasions or everyday meals. However, its roots are tied to the country’s Muslim community, reflecting their culinary influence.

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My name is Mint. I am a Thai girl who loves to cook and share my Thai food with everyone! Learn more about me here.

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