Chicken Biryani is a flavorful and aromatic South Asian rice dish, celebrated for its vibrant colors and rich blend of spices. This classic dish is a harmonious marriage of fragrant basmati rice, succulent pieces of chicken, and a medley of aromatic spices. The spices often include cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaves, contributing to the complexity of the dish.
The chicken is typically marinated in yogurt and a blend of spices before being layered with partially cooked rice. The layers are then slow-cooked or baked, allowing the rice to absorb the flavors of the chicken and spices. The final result is a biryani with tender and flavorful chicken pieces nestled among aromatic and perfectly cooked grains of rice.
Chicken Biryani is often garnished with fried onions, fresh coriander, and mint, adding a burst of freshness and visual appeal. Served with raita (yogurt sauce) or a side salad, Chicken Biryani is a beloved and complete meal that showcases the artistry of South Asian culinary traditions.
This recipe gets very close to the traditional Hyderabadi Biryani. The chicken and rice are layered to make the most fragrant and well-spiced biryani possible. So delicious!
- 2 large Onions
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 700 g Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks
- 3/4 cup Yogurt
- 1/4 cup Tomato Puree
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste (minced ginger and garlic)
- 1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder (or 1 teaspoon Paprika + 1 teaspoon Cayenne)
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tbsp Brown Onions
- 1-1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Hot Milk
- 15 Saffron strands
Parboiled Rice (70% cooked)
- 2 cups Basmati Rice
- 6 cups Water
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 1 Bayleaf
- 6 Cloves
- 3 Cardamom Pods
Other Biryani Ingredients
- 1 cup Fresh Mint Leaves
- 1 cup Coriander (Cilantro) Leaves
- 1-1/2 tbsp Ghee or Butter
- Crispy Brown Onions
- Indian Raiti (yogurt based sauce/dip/spread)
- To make the brown onions, pat the onions dry and if time permits, leave them out on a kitchen towel for 15-20 minutes to dry them out slightly. Heat oil in a pan and add the onions. On a medium flame, shallow fry the onions for 15 minutes till they are a deep golden brown, without burning them. Drain them out on a paper towel, and set aside. These can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container overnight. Burnt onions will add a bitter flavor to the biryani. You can also use store-bought fried onions/ shallots which are easily available in supermarkets.
- Mix together all the ingredients under chicken marinade and marinate for at least two hours or overnight for best results.
- When you are ready to make the biryani, soak saffron strands in hot milk and rub them slightly with the back of a spoon. Set this aside
- Bring water to a roaring boil and add salt, whole spices and basmati rice. Cook for exactly 5 minutes and drain completely, leaving the whole spices in the rice. This will cook the rice to about 70% doneness which can be checked by pressing a grain of rice between two fingers – the rice should still be raw in the middle.
Layering and Cooking Chicken Biryani:
- Heat a heavy bottomed pot like a dutch oven, and add the chicken to it. Cook for 4 minutes and then turn the chicken pieces once. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Scatter half the onions all over the chicken, and then sprinkle all the coriander and mint leaves. Next layer the rice all over the mint and coriander, and in the end drizzle saffron milk and ghee all over the rice. Cover and cook on a low flame for 20 minutes – this will help steam the rice, cook it to doneness and cook the chicken.
- Once the biryani is cooked, let it rest for 5-10 minutes, and finish by scattering the remaining onions on top. Serve hot digging the spoon deep to get all the layers.