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Chicken Biryani

People who can cook, will make the dishes they want to eat and enjoy them at home. But occasionally, even they are bored of cooking. They want to eat out, for a change.

Change is good! When you eat out, you get to know – preparing the same dish at home tastes far better than paying twice as much in a restaurant: speaking from experience.

I have recently ordered chicken Biryani from one of the world-famous joints for Biryani and was sorely disappointed in the quantity and quality. Lessen learnt!

Here is the recipe that I have been making for quite some time and it has never disappointed me.


Chicken – 1 Kg

Onion – 8 medium size

Green chili – 6

Basmati rice – 2 kgs (Tip: most recipes says the rice and chicken should be of the same quantity. For people who eat curry like curry should be eaten, can go with rice twice the quantity as chicken)

Red chili powder – 8 tbsp. (you can adjust the spices as per your taste. I like it a bit spicy, so I am going with 8 tbsp.)

Salt – as per taste (I have added 2 ½ tbsp.)

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Garam masala – ¼ tsp

Ginger garlic paste – 3 tbsp.

Oil – 10 tbsp.

Lemon – 1

Shahi jeera – 2 tbsp.

Cloves – 8

Cardamom – 6

Cinnamon sticks – 2

Bay leaves – 2

Javitri – 2

Star anise – 2

Coriander – generous

Mint – generous


Clean the chicken (of fat), wash it in hot water and drain the water. Add red chili powder, salt, turmeric, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp. of oil and lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients well, cover the dish and leave it in the deep fridge. Let it marinate till we are ready to cook it.

Finely chop the onions and slit the green chilis.

Take a big enough pot which can accommodate biryani. Add 8 tbsp. of oil, half quantity of each: shahi jeera, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, javitri, star anise. Cook till the oil turns aromatic. Add finely chopped onion and chilis. Cook till the onion turns golden brown.

Simultaneously, wash 2 Kgs of Basmati rice. (Tip: Again, many recipes tell us to soak the rice for two hours. You can skip soaking the rice part – the rice grains will break if you soak them.)

Add 3 liters of water to the washed rice, 1 ½ tbsp. of salt, remaining half quantity of each: shahi jeera, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, javitri, star anise, 1 tbsp. of oil, washed and finely chopped mint and coriander leaves. Cook the rice just under and turn off the heat.

Back to the onions. Once they turn golden brown, add marinated chicken and cook till the rice is cooked (rice and chicken will be cooking simultaneously).

Now, many of you want to add rice and chicken in layers. Here is the secret: it will taste just the same even if you don’t. Add the under cooked rice to the chicken. This will leave with just two layers: bottom will be chicken and top will be rice. It will allow the chicken to cook for some more time whereas rice which is on top layer will be cooked from the steam. Add finely chopped mint and coriander leaves as garnish before you close the lid.

Once rice is added: (a) if you have cooked chicken in a pressure cooker, add the lid and cook on low heat for 20 minutes. (b) If you have cooked it in an open pot, cover the lid and put a heavy weight on the lid. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat.

The chicken Biryani is ready! You can serve it hot with raita and salad.

Steps you can skip and still enjoy the tasty chicken biryani:

  1. Deep fried onion added in layers
  2. Saffron milk
  3. Butter/ghee for people who are allergic to them
  4. Curd in marination.

Saudhamini Mylaram

HR by profession. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do apart from gardening, cooking and driving.

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