Chicken Biryani is an Indian dish which is made with rice, spices and meat. The biryani is a popular dish in India and Pakistan. It is made with chicken, rice, spices, saffron, and vegetables. The dish is served with a side of pickled or fresh cucumber slices.
Originated in the Mughal Empire, an Islamic empire that ruled most of the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to 1857, the biryani was introduced by the Mughals and became a part of the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent.
The word “biryani” comes from the Persian word “birinj” (which means “fried”)
The most common biryani has layers of seasoned rice with meat or vegetables, and it is often served with raita and papadum on the side. It is cooked in a pot with a tight-fitting lid either on the stove top or in an oven. The pot has water added to it before the rice is added and cooked until the rice is tender. You can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this dish.
A biryani is judged by 3 things.
- Masala/ flavors – so use a good biryani masala (recipe below) or garam masala.
- The quality of rice – use aged basmati rice or aged premium quality short grain rice like jeerakasala.
- Serve chicken biryani in layers – top layer with rice and bottom layer with chicken.
Enjoy with raita or shorba.
To make a good biryani, always use best quality ingredients. The choice of good quality basmati rice, whole spices, spice powders, chicken & ghee all contribute to the flavors of chicken biryani.
Biryani is a dish that is loved by many for its rich flavors and aromatic spices. To make a delicious chicken biryani, you will need a few essential ingredients. Firstly, chicken is the star of this dish, so make sure to have fresh chicken on hand.
Next, you will need basmati rice, which is long-grained and perfect for biryani. The rice adds a fluffy texture to the dish. Aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cardamom are crucial in creating the distinct flavor profile of biryani.
Biryani, is the classic food! Some segments would wholeheartedly agree with me. Hence, it is no surprise that the Biryani, especially the Chicken Biryani or Mutton Biryani, seems to be the most appropriate prescription for any occasion of our life.
Make sure to have plenty of onions on hand as they add a sweet and savory element to the biryani. Garlic and ginger are also important for adding depth and richness to the dish.
Yogurt is another essential ingredient, as it helps to tenderize the chicken and adds a tangy flavor to the biryani. Tomatoes are used to create a flavorful base for the dish, and fresh cilantro adds a bright and herbaceous note.
Once you have gathered all of the essential ingredients, it’s time to start cooking! Begin by marinating the chicken in a mixture of yogurt, spices, and a large bowl (or a large pot). This will ensure that the chicken absorbs all the flavors and tenderizes properly. It’s important to marinate the chicken in a large bowl for at least two hours or overnight for the maximum flavor. This step is crucial to achieving delicious and flavorful Chicken Biryani. The next step is to layer the partially cooked chicken with the fried onions, mint, and coriander. This will add sweetness, richness, and a ton of flavor and freshness to the dish.
No occasion, be it a grand wedding or a simple birthday bash, is complete without the quintessential Chicken Biryani. Such is the popularity of this restaurant style, simple, spicy and fragrant mixed rice, known as chicken rice, that it is served in many food outlets in buckets instead of small service bowls, making it one of the most popularly ordered restaurant dishes.
India being the culinary genius it is, it has developed many flavourful variants of Chicken Biriyani across regions. In our chicken biryani recipe here, we bring you the best chicken dum biryani, a flavourful and aromatic dish, that is easy to follow and can be made by a novice cook as well. If you like this dish, check out our Biryani section for easy and flavourful recipes. Biryani is a celebratory rice dish cherished in the Indian sub-continent. A traditional biryani consists of fluffy basmati rice layered over tender & succulent pieces of meat, accompanied with the mesmerizing aromas of spices, herbs & caramelized onions. This Chicken Biryani recipe is prepared using basmati rice, chicken thighs, hung curd, onion, tomato, milk, saffron, and a melange of whole and ground spices.
- 750 g Chicken chopped to bite sized pieces
- 3 Onions finely sliced
- 1 tbsp Cashewnut Paste
- 4 Tomatoes large, pureed
- 2 cup Basmati Rice soaked for 10 minutes
- 1 tbsp Ghee 20g
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tbsp Poppy Seeds coarsely powdered
- 10 Saffron Strands soaked in 2 tbsp milk
- 6 tbsp Oil 60-65 ml
- 1 cup Fried Onions – 1 cup to garnish
- Salt as per taste
For the marinade:
- 2 cup Curd beaten
- 1 tbsp Coriander Leaves chopped
- 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- Mix all the marinade ingredients and rub all over the chicken pieces.
- Keep aside for 30 minutes. To get the best flavours, leave it to marinate overnight.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium flame.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and onions.
- Saute well for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions turn light golden brown.
- Add the cashewnut paste, tomato puree and poppy seeds.
- Stir well and simmer for a minute or two.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces and cover the pan with a lid.
- Reduce flame to low and cook till the chicken is tender. Turn off flame once it is fully cooked.
- Drain the rice and rinse well.
- Pressure cook till 3/4ths done and remove. Alternatively, cook it in a deep vessel using the boiling method and drain excess water after it’s cooked.
- Place a chapati or dosa tawa on a low flame.
- Put a large, deep pan over this to cook the biryani dum-style.
- Spread a layer of rice at the bottom of the pan followed by a layer of the chicken gravy.
- Repeat until all the rice and chicken have been used up, finishing up with a layer of rice on top.
- Sprinkle the saffron strands with the milk and ghee on top.
- Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid* and cook for 30-45 minutes. Ensure there is no escaping of steam.
- Remove when the rice is cooked and chicken pieces are tender.
- Gently fluff up the rice using a fork.
- Garnish with the fried onions.
- Serve hot with onion raita.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the essential ingredients for a chicken biryani recipe?
The essential ingredients needed to make chicken biryani include chicken, rice, aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cardamom, onions, garlic, ginger, yogurt, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro. These ingredients come together to create a flavorful and delicious chicken biryani dish.
Can I use boneless chicken instead of bone-in chicken for chicken biryani?
Absolutely! While traditionally, biryani is made with bone-in chicken; boneless chicken can be used as a substitute. However, bone-in chicken tends to be more flavorful and moist due to the bone and skin, so you may need to adjust the cooking time and method to ensure the boneless chicken stays moist and delicious. One option is to marinate the boneless chicken in yoghurt and spices to infuse it with more flavor and then cook it separately from the rice before layering it in the chicken biryani. This way, you can still enjoy the tender and succulent pieces of whole chicken in your biryani, just like the usage example suggests. If you prefer a healthier option, you can use vegetable oil instead of butter or ghee for cooking the boneless chicken. This will help reduce the saturated fat content while still maintaining the flavors of the biryani.
Can I substitute lamb or beef for the chicken in biryani?
Yes, lamb and beef can be substituted for chicken in biryani. Many variations of biryani feature lamb or beef as the main protein, such as Hyderabadi lamb or beef biryani. The cooking time and method may differ slightly depending on the meat used, so adjust accordingly. Lamb or beef will likely require a longer cooking time to become tender. So, consider cooking it separately before layering it with the rice in the biryani. You can also adjust the spice levels to your liking and consider adding additional spices, such as cumin or coriander, for a deeper flavour.
How do I make the chicken biryani rice fluffy and separate?
To make the biryani rice fluffy and separate, it’s essential to use the correct type of rice and cook it properly. Basmati rice is the most commonly used rice for biryani due to its long, thin grains and distinct flavour. Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water to remove excess starch before cooking. Soak it in water for 30 minutes to an hour to help the grains expand and cook more evenly. When cooking the rice, use a ratio of 1:1.5 or 1:2 (rice to water) and cook it in a covered pot over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Add all whole spices and salt to the boiling water before adding the drained rice to enhance the flavor. Avoid stirring the rice too much while it cooks to prevent it from becoming sticky or mushy. It is important to keep a close eye on the rice, as overcooking it can result in the whole biryani becoming mushy. Stand near the rice and keep checking it after adding it to boiling water, as it will only take 5 to 7 minutes for the rice to get cooked.
Can I make chicken biryani without a pressure or rice cooker?
Absolutely! While a pressure cooker or rice cooker can save time and effort, making biryani using a regular pot or Dutch oven is still possible. Follow the same steps as you would for a pressure or rice cooker recipe, but adjust the cooking time and heat accordingly. When cooking the rice, use low heat and cook it covered until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. It may take longer to cook the rice in a regular pot than in a pressure or rice cooker, but the result will still be delicious.
What are the best spices for authentic chicken biryani flavour?
A variety of spices can be used to achieve authentic biryani flavour. Still, some of the most common ones include cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaves. Garam masala, a spice blend commonly used in Indian cuisine, is also an essential ingredient in biryani. It typically includes cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, and biryani masala, among other spices. Some recipes may also call for saffron or rose water to add fragrance and flavour. Be sure to use high-quality herbs for the best flavor, and adjust the amount of spices to your liking.
How do I prevent the chicken biryani from becoming too dry or soggy?
One way to prevent chicken biryani from becoming too dry or soggy is to ensure that the chicken is cooked just right and the rice is not overcooked. To do this, marinate the chicken in yogurt and spices for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. When cooking the rice, make sure to measure the water accurately and cook it just until it is tender. Keeping the pot covered while cooking will also help trap steam and keep the moisture in. Finally, when layering the chicken and cooked rice, be careful not to pack it too tightly. One of the biggest challenges when making biryani is achieving the perfect texture – not too dry or too soggy. Ensure enough liquid in the dish to prevent the biryani from becoming too dry. This can come from the marinade, the vegetables, or the cooking liquid for the rice. Make sure not to skimp on the oil or ghee, too, as this helps to keep the biryani moist and flavorful.
Ensure the rice is cooked correctly and the moisture is absorbed to prevent the biryani from becoming too soggy. Avoid adding too much water or liquid to the dish; be careful not to overcook the rice. When layering the biryani, evenly distribute the chicken, vegetables, and rice to ensure the moisture is distributed evenly in a single layer. Serve chicken biryani with a side of tomato cucumber raita or onion raita and papad. Additionally, drizzle saffron milk and ghee all over the rice to enhance the flavors and add a beautiful golden color.
Can I prepare the chicken biryani in advance and reheat it before serving?
Yes, you can definitely prepare chicken biryani in advance and reheat it before serving. In fact, many people believe that the flavors of biryani actually improve when it’s allowed to sit for some time. To do this, simply cook the biryani as you normally would but stop just before adding the final garnishes like fried onions or fresh herbs. Allow the biryani to cool down completely, then refrigerate it in an airtight container.
When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat the biryani in a pan over low heat or in the microwave. To prevent biryani can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving. However, be careful not to overcook the dish when reheating, as this can cause it to become dry or mushy. To reheat biryani, place it in a covered pot or microwave-safe container and heat it over low heat until heated. You can also add some water or broth to the dish to add moisture and prevent it from drying out.
How do I store leftover chicken biryani, and how long does it stay fresh?
Leftover chicken biryani can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To ensure freshness, allow the biryani to cool completely before storing it. When reheating, make sure to heat it thoroughly, until piping hot, to kill any bacteria that may have formed.
To extend the shelf life of leftover biryani, you can also freeze it. Place individual portions in freezer-safe containers or bags and store them in the freezer for up to three months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the biryani in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it following biryani can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat:
- Follow the same steps as reheating fresh biryani.
- Cool the biryani entirely before storing it, and avoid leaving it at room temperature for too long. If you have a large amount of leftover biryani, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Thaw the biryani in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
What are some traditional side dishes or accompaniments for chicken biryani?
Biryani is often served with raita, a yogurt-based condiment, to balance the flavors and provide a cooling effect. You can prepare raita by mixing yogurt with finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and a sprinkle of spices like cumin and chaat masala.
Another popular accompaniment for chicken biryani is a simple salad. A fresh salad made with sliced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint leaves tossed in lemon juice can add a refreshing crunch to your meal.
If you’re looking to add some spice to your biryani experience, you can is often served with raita, a yoghurt-based side dish that helps balance out the biryani’s spices and heat. Raita typically includes diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and herbs such as cumin and coriander. Other traditional side dishes include papadum, a crispy Indian flatbread, and chutney, a flavorful condiment from fruits, vegetables, and spices. Mango lassi, a sweet and creamy yoghurt drink, is also a popular beverage to serve with biryani.
Can I make biryani without using specialized Indian spices or ingredients?
While specialized Indian spices and ingredients such as garam masala and saffron are essential for authentic biryani flavor, making a delicious dish using everyday pantry staples is still possible. You can combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, and paprika to achieve a similar flavor profile. You can use bay leaves or cardamom pods, like green cardamom, to add fragrance and flavor. Instead of using saffron, add a pinch of turmeric and kewra water to the rice for color and aroma. To enhance the taste further, you can also include star anise, which will add a unique and aromatic note to the biryani. While the result may not be as authentic as a traditional biryani recipe, it can still be a flavorful and satisfying meal. Additionally, if you prefer some heat, you can add a slit green chili pepper for a spicy kick.