How to make Chicken Biryani Recipe

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How to make Chicken biryani recipe

Chicken biryani recipe with video & step-by-step photos. Biryani is one of the most amazing royal delicacies introduced to Indians by the Persians. Since then it has been much popular and is considered to be a luxurious treat to enjoy on special occasions. Making a chicken biryani in authentic dum style does take some time and needs little expertise.

Traditional chicken biryani is made by layering marinated chicken and then layered with parboiled rice, herbs,saffron milk & then ghee. I have shared that traditional hyderabadi biryani here.

The recipe shared here in this post details a short cut method to make a simple one pot delicious chicken biryani in a pressure cooker or a pot.

So what I have shared in this post is not a dum style biriyani yet it will surprise you with a good aroma and taste.

This recipe yields a chicken biryani that isn’t too oily, spicy, hot or pungent as it looks to be in the pictures. However you can reduce the amount of red chili powder if you do not prefer the heat. This is best served with a Raita, Shorba, lassi and papads.

Preparation for chicken biryani recipe

1. This recipe needs half kg chicken (1.1 lbs.). Make few slits on all the chicken pieces and add to a large bowl. Then add

  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt (Indian curd)
  • 1¼ tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon garam masala (or biriyani masala)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder (reduce for kids)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

2. Mix everything well and marinate the chicken. Cover and set this aside for 1 hour. You can also rest it overnight in the fridge.

3. Meanwhile add 2 cups basmati rice to a large pot and rinse it at least thrice. Drain and soak in fresh water for 30 mins. Drain to a colander after 30 mins. Optional – Soak a pinch of saffron strands in 2 tablespoons hot milk.

Cooking chicken

4. Heat ghee or oil in a heavy bottom pot or pressure cooker. Make sure you use a large one for this. Using whole spices is optional but recommended. Use whatever you have. I use

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon piece
  • 1 star anise
  • ¾ teaspoon shahi jeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 strand mace

5. Add thinly sliced onions. On a medium heat, fry them stirring often until uniformly light brown.

6. This is the correct color of the onions. Do not burn them as they leave a bitter taste. (check video)

7. Add marinated chicken & saute until it becomes pale for 5 minutes.

8. Lower the flame completely. Cover and cook until the chicken is soft, tender and completely cooked.

9. Check if the chicken is cooked by pricking with a fork or knife. It has to be just cooked and not overdone. Evaporate any excess moisture left in the pot by cooking further without the lid.

10. Taste test and add more salt if needed. I added ¼ more salt here. Add

  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (Indian curd)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (or biryani masala)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 slit green chili pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves (pudina)

How to make chicken biryani

11. Mix everything well. Spread it evenly in a single layer.

12. Layer drained rice all over the chicken. To a separate bowl, pour 3 cups water and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt. If cooking in a pot, start with 3 cups water at this stage.

Stir and taste the water. It must be slightly salty. Pour 2 cups of this across the sides of the cooker or pot. Pour rest of the water over the rice gently. (check video)

13. Level the rice gently on top. Add 2 tablespoons more mint leaves.Do not mix up everything, the taste of the biryani cooked in the shown method is good. Optionally you can sprinkle 2 tablespoons fried onions & saffron soaked milk.

14. Finally cover the pot or cooker.
If cooking in a pot, cook on a medium heat until the rice is done completely. If the rice is undercooked pour ¼ to ½ cup boiling water at this stage. How much to add depends on the quality of basmati rice. Cook covered until the biryani rice is perfectly done, grainy and fully cooked. Rest it covered for 15 mins.
If cooking in a cooker, cook for 1 whistle. Later remove the cooker from the hot burner to stop cooking further.

15. When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid. Gently fluff up with a fork.

Serve chicken biryani in layers – top layer with rice and bottom layer with chicken. Enjoy with raita or shorba.


Towards the end if the rice is under cooked, you can sprinkle little hot water & cook covered further.

What you need for a good biryani?

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.

1.Basmati rice: There are so many kinds of basmati rice available in the market. For best results choose premium quality basmati rice that is labelled as AGED. This kind of rice is more firm & fluffs up well in chicken biryani without turning mushy. Aged rice is also more fragrant.

Though this biryani is made in a pressure cooker or pot, the texture of rice grains will come out right without getting mushy if made with aged rice.

2.Biryani masala (spices): Good quality whole spices & spice powders elevate the flavor of chicken biryani. So choose a good quality ready made garam masala powder or biryani masala.

I am also sharing the ingredients for an instant biriyani masala powder. If you do not have a ready made or store bought masala, you can make it in just few minutes.

3.Chicken: We usually use up the cut whole chicken to make the chicken biryani. However I always find chicken breast pieces dry out if not marinated well with yogurt. If you prefer soft, tender & succulent pieces of chicken in your biryani, then just use chicken thighs & drumsticks.

Always use bone-in chicken as it helps the dish to turn out more flavorful.

4.Ghee : Traditionally chicken biryani was made using ghee. Since this recipe does not follow the traditional method, you can also make it using oil. But ghee adds a unique aroma to the dish.

How to make the best chicken biryani?

  • Marination: Marinating chicken with yogurt & spices is the first key step to make the best chicken biryani. Yogurt tenderizes the chicken & the spices enhance the flavors. Marinating and resting chicken makes it soft & succulent, so do not skip that. If you do not eat curd then can substitute it with coconut milk.
  • Preparing rice : Basmati rice has to be rinsed very well a few times in ample amount of water to get rid of the starch. This prevents the rice grains from turning mushy. Soaking the rice helps to cook the rice grains to fluffy & long. So do not skip rinsing & soaking the rice well before using.
  • Water : This recipe uses plain water to cook the chicken biryani. However it can be replaced with coconut milk or chicken stock. The quantity of water I have mentioned in the recipe card works well for me with Lalquilla old malai basmati rice. This ratio works pretty well with any aged basmati rice.
  • Please do adjust the amount of heat in the recipe. My recipes are usually low on heat for the Indian taste buds. Since I have young kids at home., these levels work well for us.

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