Indian Cuisine

Chicken Biryani

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Chicken Biryani is one dish I used to cook for my husband at least once a week, because he can actually live on it.

If he loves one thing he can eat that over and over for years without getting bored 😉 😛 in the end I got bored and of course he started putting on so much weight, I stopped making it. 😀

There is a small story behind the creation of this chicken biryani recipe.

We were invited to our friend’s place in Delhi after the wedding, and they got dum chicken biryani from some really famous place in Delhi. By the way of which my husband had several servings and requested that I shall make a similar recipe at home. So I had to taste it even though I was a vegetarian and let me tell you it was absolutely delicious!

The best part of that biryani was that I could make out the distinct flavours it had! I tried to recreate the similar flavours in my recipe and it worked great:)

I have been making this from past 10 years now and so far most people had good things to say about it. I also served it in my Culinary School, on my jobs in Boston and Tokyo, taught to more than 70 students in Japan and they still let me know when they make it. 🙂

A few months ago I shared a picture on Instagram and I got many requests to share my recipe, so here it is!

It’s a bit tedious and time consuming recipe, but the end result is totally worth it. So please give it a shot! 🙂

I like to serve this chicken biryani with Tomato Sherva or Mirchi Ka Salan and Raita. Stay tuned for the recipes. 🙂

Ingredients for biryani masala:

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 4-5 red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black cumin seeds (shahi jeera)


Take the seeds out of black and green cardamoms before roasting.

Roast all the above ingredients except the red chillies for 3-4 minutes. Now add the red chillies and roast for another 2 minutes. When it’s cool enough, grind it to a powder. You can keep this in a airtight container for up to 1 month in the fridge.

If you don’t want to make this spice blend, then you can use garam masala.

Ingredients for chicken marination:

  • 600g chicken thigh cut in pieces. You can use with bone too.
  • 200 ml yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 tbsp each ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp above biryani masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • A small pinch of saffron and nutmeg powder


Cut the chicken in pieces and poke them lightly with a fork.

Grind onions, coriander, mint leaves to coarse paste. In a mixing bowl add this paste with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, ghee, nutmeg powder and salt. Add in the chicken pieces and mix it well. Cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for minimum 2 hours.  For the best results keep it for 12-24 hours.

Ingredients for cooking chicken the next day:

  • 1 onion sliced ( to cook with chicken)
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • few cloves, peppercorns and green cardamoms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp or to taste red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp above biryani masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp oil


In a deep skillet heat oil, when it’s hot enough add in all the whole spices and onions. Add a pinch of salt and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Now add in the the turmeric and red chilli powder. Sauté for another 1 minute.

Add the marinated chicken and fry it for 5 minutes till the water from the yogurt dries out. Now add in the biryani masala and fry for another 2 minutes. Cover the chicken and cook till it’s about half done but not completely cooked. Uncover and let the water dry out completely. There should be gravy but it shouldn’t be watery. Keep it aside.

Ingredients for the rice and layering:

  • 1/3 cup sliced roasted almonds
  • 2 medium onions thinly sliced (for frying)
  • 1 tsp oil for frying onions
  • 2 1/2  cups basmati rice
  • few cloves, bay leaves and green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp oil for rice
  • 3-4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder and cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • About 15 cups of water
  • About 1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)

Instructions for cooking rice and layering:

Wash the rice and strain it and keep it aside.

In a measuring cup add the warm milk, saffron, rose water and a pinch of nutmeg powder. Mix it well and keep is aside.

In a skillet add 1 tsp oil, when it’s hot add in the onions and fry them till they are crispy and dark brown in colour. Take it out and keep it aside. You can deep fry the onions too.

In a deep pot heat another 1 tsp of oil, add in the bay leaves, cardamoms and cloves. Now add in the rice and gently sauté it for about 1 minute.

Now add in the water and 3-4 tsp of salt. Keep stirring the rice while boiling. You have to parboil the rice, meaning the rice should not be fully cooked, the grains should be little firm about 60-70 percent.

Now in a heavy pot brush some ghee ( clarified butter) on the bottom. Add the first layer of chicken, then sprinkle some toasted almonds, fried onions and saffron milk on top. Add in the rice. Now again add the second layer of chicken and repeat the same steps till you are finished with the rice and chicken.

I usually do 2 chicken layers and 3 rice layers. The top layer has to be rice, so adjust accordingly. Add some ghee (clarified butter) on top. On the top layer sprinkle fried onions, almonds, saffron milk and coriander. Make a small well and drizzle about 1 tsp ghee and close it.

Now cover the pot with a lid. In a wide skillet add some water and place the saucepan in the skillet. You can seal the pot lid with some dough but it becomes too messy later, so I place a heavy weight on top of the lid. Keep it for about 20 minutes on a medium flame.

Mix the layers roughly before serving and voilà you are ready to eat this biryani!

Serve it some sherva or salan and raita!

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    […] Check out the some recipes here: Chicken Biryani […]

  • Reply Divya 2019-03-20 at 21:36

    Hi! This looks delicious.
    Do you assemble in a large pot with lid and place it in a huge skillet with water to cook in the final step?

    • Reply Gayatri Singh 2019-03-26 at 10:00

      Yes that’s what I usually do. I place a heavy weight on the lid to get that dum effect in the biryani.

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