Tandoori chicken biryani

After seeing this on one of the restaurant menus, I thought I will try preparing this tandoori chicken biryani. In restaurants, now-a-days, we get all varieties of biryani - Mughal and Tandoori style - both with chicken and tiger prawns. Preparation of these are the same and only the spices differ. It is up to you whether you want to make a really spicy or less spicy biryani.

I have used ready made chicken tandoori masala to marinate chicken among other spices. If you want, you can use chicken tikka masala powder as well instead of tandoori chicken masala.

We have to start with cooking tandoori chicken and then cook the gravy and the rice.

The style of cooking the biryani is same as other ones but the marination and spices used are different.

I have cooked this in pakki biryani style. Do not worry if you are missing some spices - just use whatever spices you have available. I always prefer my biryani to be spicy and with lots of masala. You can adjust these according to your taste and liking.


  1. Chicken - 1 kg to 1200 gms
  2. Marinate

  3. Curd - 3/4 cup
  4. Chilli powder - 2 tsp
  5. Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  6. Tandoori masala - 6 to 7 tsp
  7. Ginger and garlic paste - 3 tbsp
  8. Mace and nutmeg powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp
  9. Saffron - a pinch
  10. Lemon juice - 3 tbsp
  11. Salt - as required
  12. Gravy

  13. Oil or ghee - 1/2 cup
  14. Bay leaf - 2
  15. Black cardamom - 2
  16. Cloves - 4
  17. Cinnamon sticks (1 inch size) - 3
  18. Black cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  19. Onion (sliced) - 5
  20. Ginger and garlic paste - 2 tbsp
  21. Tomatoes - 4
  22. Coriander leaves - 1 cup
  23. Mint - 1 cup
  24. Chilli powder - 2 tsp
  25. Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  26. Green chillies (optional) - 5
  27. Curd - 1/2 cup
  28. Mace and nutmeg powder (optional) - a pinch
  29. Salt - as required
  30. Rice

  31. Basmati Rice - 3 cups
  32. Black cardamom - 1
  33. Black cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  34. Water - as required
  35. Salt - as required
  36. Green cardamom (optional) - 3
  37. Cloves (optional) - 3
  38. Layering

  39. Saffron or Colour - a pinch
  40. Mint - 1/2 cup
  41. Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
  42. Mace and nutmeg powder - 2 pinches
  43. Fried onions - 1/4 cup
  44. Lemon juice - 3 tbsp


    Marinate for tandoori chicken

  1. Marinate the chicken with curd, chilli powder, turmeric powder, tandoori masala and other ingredients. Use salt as per taste. Leave the chicken to marinate for about 4 hrs to overnight.
  2. Cooking tandoori chicken

  3. I have cooked tandoori chicken in 2 ways - one is in oven and other is in a grill pan (for those who do not have oven).
  4. Tandoori chicken in oven method

  5. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius. Cover the oven tray with aluminium foil and place the marinated chicken on the tray. Cook each side for about 10 mins or according to your oven and its temperature. Cook until the chicken is done.
  6. If you need a good grill effect, you can grill it on a grill pan. Drizzle some oil on the grill pan and grill the chicken on both sides. You will get a char grilled effect. It will not take much time as the chicken is already cooked.
  7. Tandoori chicken in grill pan method

  8. Place the chicken in a vessel and cook until all the moisture is absorbed. Cook the chicken without closing the lid.
  9. When the chicken is cooked and all the moisture is absorbed, place the cooked chicken on a pre-heated grill pan with a few tsp of oil. Turn the chicken after a couple of minutes. Cook on a medium flame.
  10. Drizzle a little oil half way through the cooking. Cook well on both sides until you get that glaze, shine and char grilled effect on the chicken.
  11. Making gravy

  12. Take a big utensil, add oil or ghee. When it gets hot, add onions and fry until it is soft and brown. It will take about 10 - 12 mins. You can close the lid and cook.
  13. When the onions are cooked well, take 1/4 cup onions and keep it aside.
  14. Now in the same vessel, add bay leaf and all the whole spices and stir for 1 min. Add ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes and stir well. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  15. Add chilli powder and other remaining dry spices and stir for about 2 mins.
  16. Add curd and mix well for 2 mins. Also add the remaining left over marinate and also some gravy, which is left from the tandoori chicken cooking.
  17. Cook for a few minutes with the lid closed and until it gets to a gravy consistency and oil starts to leave on top.
  18. Add mint, coriander leaves, salt and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  19. Cooking the rice

  20. Add the other ingredients with rice and water and boil. When it is 3/4th cooked, strain and keep it aside. If you can want you can rinse in cold water before keeping it aside to avoid the rice from becoming sticky. Do not stir the stir too much while boiling, otherwise the grains can break. Do not forget to add salt.
  21. You need to cook the rice to 70 to 80 percent only.
  22. Mixing gravy and rice

  23. Make sure there is enough rice to use with the gravy.
  24. Put half the rice on the gravy. Spread it properly. Place tandoori chicken pieces. Put rice again and spread. Add fried onions, mint, coriander leaves, mace and javithri powder, saffron or colour, lemon juice and then at last all the tandoori chicken pieces.
  25. Close the lid tightly and cook it on simmer for 20 to 25 mins or until the rice is fully cooked.
  26. You will get a nice aroma from the biryani after it has cooked.
  27. If the bottom of your vessel is thick, the rice will not burn. If your vessel has a thin bottom, you can avoid the burn by keeping a thick pan or tava below the vessel. After you switch the flame off, let it rest for sometime say 10 to 15 mins or can serve immediately.
  28. You need to be careful while mixing. Mix slowly from one side only. Mix it from downwards, from sides, so that gravy and rice are mixed well. As soon as you open the lid you can see that the full flavour and aroma comes from the biryani.
  29. This biryani is spicy and tastes good, It goes well with any raitha, brinjal curry or any curry you like.


  1. You can reduce the chillies if you do not eat spicy food or if your chillies are very hot.
  2. While marinating the chicken you can use food colouring instead of saffron.
  3. Rice should be only 3/4th cooked. The grains would have become quite long, but when pressed with your fingers you can feel it is not cooked fully.
  4. You can add a few drops of oil or vinegar while cooking the rice. You can wash it under cold water after draining. These will keep the grains separate and from sicking to each other.
  5. The gravy quantity should be such that it is enough for the rice when you mix it.
  6. There is no need to add wather while making the gravy. The marinated chicken leaves enough water to form a gravy consistency.
  7. Adjust the quantity of oil as per your liking.
  8. Be careful while adding salt for the gravy and rice. Divide the salt quantity for rice and gravy - it will be easier for you.
  9. See my ginger and garlic paste recipe for preparing the ginger and garlic paste.
  10. Mix food colour with 2 tbsp of water or milk. Put on rice. Saffron can be used instead of colour. You can even just sprinkle this on biryani without mixing with water/milk.
  11. The proportion of chicken to rice should be 2:1 - for 1 kg chicken use 500 gms of rice.
  12. I always add good quantity of mint and coriander leaves. It is a must while making biryani.