This Chicken Biryani recipe has been one of the most requested by readers, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you today. Succulent, juicy pieces of chicken are marinated in yogurt before being layered with crispy onions, coriander, mint, and basmati rice for a dish that the whole family will enjoy. I’ve broken down the process and created a recipe video for this chicken biryani so you can make it at home.
Biryani in India refers to more than just biryani.There are differences along the country’s length and breadth.There is Hyderabadi biryani (which I’m sharing today) which has a lot of gravy or masala and is simmered in a sealed pot with rice.
Then there’s the Muslim wedding biryani, which has less masala but is packed with flavor thanks to whole spices; Kerala biryani, Karnataka Donne biryani, and so many more.
Biryani is delicious in every form and is almost like a one-pot meal that families enjoy and eat together – like a celebration!
But I have to be completely honest with you. Before I decided to share this recipe, I had never made chicken biryani. And I was persuaded because so many of you had asked for a legitimate/authentic biryani recipe that was also relatively simple.
And we adore biryani. We usually order mutton biryani, but this chicken biryani completely changed our minds.
The first time I attempted it, I was nervous, because it seemed so difficult and daunting and it looked like there were a gazillion steps. So I took a deep breath and decided to break them down for you.
Ingredients For Chicken Biryani
Everything you’ll need to make biryani is listed below:
- Chicken: For chicken biryani, I only use thighs and drumsticks because they stay juicy and don’t overcook during the long cooking time. Chicken breast is a no-no for me because it will dry out and become rubbery.
- Yogurt: Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, or homemade curd/dahi are all good options. It tenderizes the meat and adds tang to the masala.
- Fried Onions: I’ve outlined how to make fried onions at home, also known as a barista, below. However, packaged fried onions are now widely available and a more convenient option. Place a large number of fried onions in an airtight container and freeze them for later use.
- Tomato Puree: Used in the marinade for flavor and body
- Ginger Garlic Paste: Simply ground ginger and garlic; I recommend making your own, but if you’re in a hurry, store-bought will suffice.
- Whole Spices: Bay leaf, Cloves, Green Cardamom, and Saffron (Kesar for that distinct orange color) – these form the flavor base and give biryani that distinct fragrance that wafts up as soon as you open the pot
- Ground Spices: Red Chilli Powder (sub with a mix of paprika and cayenne if living outside India), turmeric powder,and garam masala powder
- Basmati Rice: This is a key ingredient in most biryani recipes, including those from outside India, such as Pakistani and Afghani biryani. Please keep in mind that basmati rice is not the same as long-grain rice. Basmati has long grains as well as a distinct fragrance and flavor. Look for aged basmati rice that has been aged for a minimum of 1-2 years.
Fried onions are a key ingredient in this dish, and they must be done correctly. Onions are sliced and browned in oil over medium heat. They don’t have to be extra crispy, but they should be a deep golden brown and not burnt. You can also use store-bought fried onions, which are now widely available in supermarkets.
When purchasing rice for the biryani, make sure to select ‘basmati rice’ rather than long-grain rice. While they may appear to be the same at first glance, good quality basmati rice is fragrant and has thin and long grains, as opposed to long grain rice, which has fatter grains and almost no fragrance. To achieve the desired doneness (70%), the basmati rice is cooked for 5 minutes in boiling water with whole spices and salt. Drain the rice thoroughly to remove any excess water. When we finally cook the rice with the chicken, it will continue to steam, absorbing all of the flavor and perfume from the chicken, saffron, mint leaves, and coriander.
How To Marinate Chicken For Biryani
The marinade lends a lot of flavor to this Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani. To flavor the chicken, we use yogurt as a tenderizer, fried onions (barista), tomato puree, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. For the best flavor, marinate the chicken in a large bowl for at least two hours or overnight. As previously stated, I prefer to use only chicken thighs and legs for chicken biryani because they are the juiciest and do not dry out while the biryani cooks.
Begin by cooking the marinated chicken after you’ve prepared the rice and fried onions. Place the chicken in the dutch oven or large pot that will be used to cook the biryani and cook for 7 minutes. There is no need to stir the chicken, and it should only be flipped once around the 4-minute mark.
After you’ve made the rice and fried onions start cooking the marinated chicken. Cook the chicken for 7 minutes in the dutch oven or large pot that will be used to cook the biryani. The chicken should not be stirred and should only be flipped once around the 4-minute mark.
The final step is to layer 70% cooked basmati rice on top. Cover tightly with a lid and sprinkle with saffron milk and ghee. To prevent steam from escaping, the pot was originally sealed with dough, but a tight lid works just as well. It is critical to cook this on low heat so that the heat is distributed evenly and the bottom does not burn.
And there you have it! The entire process takes about an hour, so I consider this a weekend project, but after you’ve done it once, you’ll realize how easy and simple it is to make biryani at home! The end result of your efforts will look like this, and believe me, nothing beats the aroma of chicken biryani wafting through the house to get everyone to the table!
Let’s just say that five attempts to ensure that I provide you with instructions that you can easily follow at home did not appear to work.
Prevent Biryani From Burning At The bottom
When making chicken biryani, it’s critical to use a heavy-bottomed pot or the chicken pieces will be scorched or burnt. When making this biryani, a dutch oven will be your best friend because it heats evenly and retains heat. It also has a thick bottom that prevents your food from burning easily. Another tip is to keep the biryani pot on a flat skillet or tava. This will protect it from direct heat and allow it to steam at a low temperature.
Serve chicken biryani with raita, salad, and a salad, if desired. Keep the accompaniments simple; a good biryani doesn’t require much!
More Yummy Recipes For Meat Lovers:
The Most Delicious Chicken Biryani Recipe
For step-by-step instructions,watch the recipe video ABOVE. This recipe for homemade chicken biryani is simpler than you think. I’ve broken down the entire recipe into step-by-step instructions so you can make it at your own pace. This biryani recipe is most similar to Hyderabadi Biryani, in which chicken and rice are layered to create the most fragrant and flavorful biryani.
Brown Onions (Note 1)
Other Biryani Ingredients:
- To make the brown onions, pat the onions dry and, if time allows, set them out on a kitchen towel for 15-20 minutes to slightly dry them out. In a pan, heat the oil and add the onions. Shallow fry the onions for 15 minutes on medium heat, or until they are a deep golden brown without burning. Set them aside after draining them on a paper towel. These can be prepared ahead of time and kept in an airtight container overnight. The bitter flavour of burnt onions will be added to the biryani. You can also use store-bought fried onions/shallots, which are widely available in major supermarkets, Indian and Asian markets, and ethnic markets.
- 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.
- 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. (Note 4)
- 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.
- Many restaurants use an entire chicken cut into medium-sized pieces to make biryani to save money. Chicken breasts dry out during the long cooking process, which is why I only use chicken thighs and drumsticks when making biryani at home. You can have your butcher cut each chicken leg in half to make thighs and drumsticks. Leaving the bone in the chicken keeps it juicy.
- Brown Onions can be time-consuming and difficult to make, so you can use store-bought fried onions instead. Just make sure the onions aren’t battered and fried. If you live in India, you can buy them online here, and if you live elsewhere, you can buy them here.
- They are also available at major supermarkets, as well as Asian and Indian markets.
- When purchasing basmati rice, make sure it is labelled basmati and not just long grain rice. Basmati rice has fragrant grains that are slightly thinner than long grain rice. True basmati rice is responsible for the distinct flavour and taste of biryani.
- All of the ingredients are par cooked in the final step of layering and cooking the biryani. Cooking the biryani for 20 minutes on low heat steams and cooks everything to perfection. If you don’t have a heavy bottomed pot and are using a regular pot, place it on a tava (or flat griddle) and then place it on a medium flame on the stove to avoid burning the bottom.