Chicken Biryani

The word biryani is derived from the Persian word beryan, which means roasted and fried. It is usually the mix of rice, few spices and meat or vegetables. Biryani was brought to India by Persian travellers and merchants. This dish is not only popular in India, but also in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Srilanka and Mauritius. In every house, the making style and spices used are different. Biryani can be made with prawns, chicken, mutton, vegetables and even fish. I learnt this biryani from my Mom, which I am sharing with you. I am making this biryani with more spicy than my Mom. If you see, I like to add more masalas in my biryani. I do not like it to be blunt and non spicy. I have made a lot of varieties in biryani and now I will like to share it with you.

There are 2 types of biryani one is kacchi biryani(dum biryani) and other is pakki biryani.

Kacchi biryani is prepared with raw meat, meat is marinated and cooked on a slow flame with rice on top. In pakki biryani, meat is pre-cooked first, then rice is layered on top and cooked.

When you are making biryani, you should always keep in mind that you are adding spices for both curry and the rice, so it should be in proportion.

We can have dum biryani with chicken 65 as a side dish, raitha, brinjal curry or any chicken curry. This biryani is of pakki biryani style, which we often make it. You can add your own spices also. It depends on you whether you want to cook it with ghee or oil. You can mix and match with the spices according to your taste.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh, pakki biryani style

Serves: 5

Spiciness: Spicy


  • Chicken (medium size pieces) – 1 kg
  • Salt – as per requirement.
  • Marinade

  • Chilli powder – 1 tbsp
  • Curd (thick) – 1 1/2 cup
  • Salt – as required
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Gravy

  • Oil or ghee – 1 cup
  • Onion (sliced, medium size) – 5
  • Tomatoes (chopped) – 4
  • Green chillies – 10 slit
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Mint leaves (chopped roughly) – 1 cup or handful
  • Coriander leaves(chopped roughly) – 1 cup or handful
  • Wholespices:

  • Cloves – 6, Cinamon sticks 3 (1 inch size)
  • Green cardamoms – 6, bay leaves – 3, star anise – 3.
  • Shah jeera (black cumin seeds) – 1 tsp
  • Rice

  • Rice – 2 1/2 cups or 500 grams
  • Whole spices: cloves – 2, green cardamom – 2 and black cumin seeds – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Water – 2 litres
  • Layering / garnishing

  • Saffron/Biryani Colour – a pinch
  • Mint (chopped roughly) – 1/2 cup
  • Coriander leaves (chopped roughly) – 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice (or juice of one lemon) – 3 tbsp
  • Kewra water – 3 tbsp
  • Ghee – 3 tbsp
  • Biryani masala (home made, optional) – 2 tsp


  • Slice the onions and keep it aside.
  • Chop mint and coriander leaves with its stem and keep few for garnishing/layering the biryani.
  • Cut the tomatoes into medium size pieces.
  • There are 5 stages for cooking chicken biryani. 1. Marination 2. Cooking chicken gravy 3. Cooking rice 4. Mixing gravy and rice (layering) 5. Dum


  • Marinate the chicken with curd, chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and ginger and garlic paste for about 4 hours or overnight.
  • Cooking chicken gravy

  • Now take a big utensil, add oil/ghee, let it get warm, then add sliced onions and cook till it is golden brown , it will take 15 to 20 mins, in between keep stirring the onions in the oil/ghee.
  • After frying the onions well, remove all and keep it aside in a plate. Take 1/4th of fried onions and keep it aside (for layering or garnishing) and 3/4th for the curry/gravy.
  • In the same vessel in which onion was fried, with remaining oil/ghee heat it, when hot add ginger and garlic paste, stir quickly for 30 seconds, then add mint, coriander leaves and stir well for 2 minutes. Then add tomatoes, turmeric powder and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir well so that it does not stick to the pan. Roast until the tomatoes and other ingredients get cooked well.
  • Add marinated chicken and left over marinade also, green chillies, mix well and close the lid and cook until it becomes like a curry. Stir carefully making sure you do not break the chicken pieces. You can check in between and stir it. Add salt as per taste.
  • When the chicken is cooked and you get to a gravy, simmer it further for about 10-15 minutes and now you can see oil forming on it. It should not be too thin or too thick. The gravy should be adequate for the rice, while mixing.
  • I am also showing a few of my old pictures of the cooked chicken gravy. It differs because of the ingredients and picturisation.
  • Cooking rice

  • Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hr.
  • When the water starts boiling, add rice and salt. Boil for about 5 to 6 mins only. The rice has to be cooked about 70% to 80% or 3/4th cooked only. Drain the rice and rinse under cold tap water to stop further cooking.
  • While boiling, do not stir very often as the grains may break. The grains after cooking will be longer, but still raw.
  • Mixing gravy and rice (layering)

  • Take some gravy with the chicken pieces and keep aside.
  • First some gravy with chicken pieces is layered in the vessel in which the chicken curry was cooked. Layer some rice on top. Put a pinch of saffron colour, fried onions, mint leaves. Drizzle 1 tbsp ghee.
  • Then again put the remaining chicken gravy which you kept aside. Layer some rice again. Sprinkle some saffron colour, biryani masala (optional), mint leaves, coriander leaves, fried onion, lemon juice, kewra water and the remaining ghee. Spread evenly.
  • Dum

  • Heat the vessel in which you have layered the biryani for 5 mins or until you see a little steam escaping from the sides. Alternatively just keep your hand near the rice to check whether it is getting hot or not.
  • If you are able to see some steam, from that point onwards quickly close the lid with aluminium foil or keep some heavy weight on the lid or close it with a cloth and then the lid. Simmer for 15-20 mins until the rice is cooked. Switch off.
  • The sign of whether the biryani is cooked and ready is when you can smell its aroma from the nearby rooms.
  • Switch off and let it rest for 15 mins. Do not open the lid immediately because the steam inside the vessel will continue to cook the biryani and prevent the steam from escaping.


  • You can reduce the chillies if you do not eat spicy food or your chillies are very hot.
  • Rice should only be 3/4th cooked, the grain might have become longer than its usual size, but when pressed with fingers you should feel that is not fully cooked. While cooking the rice you can add few drops of oil or vinegar also. While draining, wash it under cold water to keep the rice grain separate.
  • Biryani masala – you can buy ready made or just powder 1 star nice, green cardamom 2, cloves 3 and dagad phool(optional) 3 tsp. View my Biryani masala recipe.
  • The gravy quantity should be such that it should be enough for the rice when you mix it.
  • While making gravy, no need to add water. When marinated chicken is added, it leaves water to form a gravy consistency.
  • If you want to reduce the oil, then reduce it. Its your wish. But the onion has to be roasted in oil or ghee well.
  • Carefully add salt for the gravy and rice. Divide the salt quantity and put. It will be easy for you.
  • Whenever I grind 300 gms ginger and 300 gms garlic paste, I have grounded with whole spice.
  • Mix colour with 2 tbsp of water or with milk and put on rice. Saffron can be used instead of colour. You can even just sprinkle the colour on biryani.
  • Always use twice the amount of chicken and for given rice quantity for biryani. For example, use 1 kg chicken for 500 gms rice.

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