Try out my recipe to make Hyderabadi chicken biryani at home in the most traditional manner. The result is outstanding, I can promise.
Some of the other biryani recipes I’ve posted are Mutton Biryani, Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani, Kathal Ki Biryani, Egg Dum Biryani, and a seafood special Fish Dum Biryani.
About This Recipe
Hyderabadi chicken biryani is a traditional Mughlai rice dish made using long grain basmati rice, chicken, and a whole lot of spices. The bone-in chicken is marinated with yogurt and spices and is then layered under semi-cooked rice. This combination is then cooked on slow heat until perfection, creating a dish that is a treat to all the senses.
Hyderabadi biryani is one of the greatest gifts from the royal Mughals to the culinary world. Making chicken biryani takes time, patience, and expertise, but trust me, all the effort is worthwhile when you dig into this delicacy.
Hyderabadi chicken biryani is prepared in two ways – Kacchi or Pakki Biryani.
Kacchi chicken biryani is where the chicken is not cooked separately but gets cooked along with the rice while in the pakki chicken biryani, chicken is cooked prior to layering it with rice.
The method I have mentioned below is kacchi biryani method and I will soon be posting the pakki biryani method too.
This chicken biryani is,
- Loaded with tender pieces of Chicken
- Perfect for special occasions
- Great for your weekend meals
- A great dish for Pot Lucks
Chicken – Traditionally bone-in skinless whole chicken cut into pieces is used to make chicken biryani. But you can choose to use only legs, legs with thighs, or even boneless chicken pieces.
First marination – The chicken is marinated twice so that it absorbs all the flavors and becomes tender. In the first marination, we will use ingredients including shahi jeera (caraway seeds), ghee, ginger garlic paste, garam masala powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, vegetable oil, green chili paste, and lime juice.
Second Marination – For the second marination, we will need yogurt, mint, coriander, and golden fried onion.
You can either fry the onion at home or use store-bought to save time. Check out my recipe to make fried onion for biryani here.
Rice – Use aged (at least 2 years old) long grain basmati rice for the best results. They turn out separate, fluffy, and aromatic, which tastes yummy in this Hyderabadi biryani. I always buy Fortune Biryani Basmati Rice and the result is quite good
For the potli masala – A bouquet garni (potli) of spices is added while cooking the rice to flavor it. Once the rice is cooked and the aroma and taste of the spices are infused into it, the bouquet garni is removed.
In the potli, we will add whole black cardamom, whole green cardamom, whole javitri, whole cloves, cumin seeds, whole black peppercorn, whole star anise, whole cinnamon, and whole bay leaf.
Other Ingredients – Other than the above-mentioned ingredients, we will need cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, green chili paste, kewra essence (vetiver essence), lime juice, milk, saffron soaked in water, and salt to make this chicken biryani.
You will all the ingredients to make this Hyderabadi chicken dum biryani in your nearby Indian store or online on amazon.
How to make Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani?
Start by marinating the chicken. To make the marinade, mix 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera), 2 teaspoon ghee, 4 teaspoon ginger garlic paste, ½ teaspoon garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, 2 teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, 4 teaspoon green chili paste, and 2 tablespoon lime juice in a large mixing bowl.
Wash 1 pound (500 g) chicken and drain all the water. Add it to the bowl and mix well to coat it with the marinade.
Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate it for 10-12 hours. This is the first marination.
After 10-12 hours, take out the bowl from the refrigerator and marinate it for the second time. Add 200 g thick yogurt, 2 tablespoon chopped mint, 2 tablespoon chopped coriander, and ¼ cup golden fried onion to the bowl. Mix everything well again.
Refrigerate the chicken for another hour.
Take an 8-inch square cotton cloth piece and add 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 2 whole black cardamoms, 2-3 whole green cardamoms, 2 flowers of javitri, 3-4 whole cloves, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 5-6 whole black peppercorn, 1 whole star anise, 2-inch stick of whole cinnamon, and 2 whole bay leaves in the center. Bring the ends of the cloth together and tie a knot to make a potli (bouquet garni).
Wash 3 cups of long grain basmati rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear. Soak it in 5-6 cups of water for 30 minutes. Heat 6-8 cups of water in a large pot. Add the potli that we made earlier, 2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, 1 tablespoon green chili paste, 2-3 drops of kewra essence, ½ teaspoon lime juice, and 4 teaspoon salt to the pot and bring the water to a boil.
Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water. Simmer the heat to medium and let the rice cook until it is 80% cooked. 80% cooked means that it still has a bite to it. Be very vigilant while cooking the rice. You don’t want to overcook it, otherwise, the biryani will become mushy. If the rice is undercooked, it will taste raw.
Transfer the chicken along with the marinade to a large heavy bottom pan with a tight fitting lid. I used my 8 quart dutch oven to cook the biryani.
Once the rice gets 80% cooked, discard the potli. Take the rice out using a sieve and spread it over the chicken evenly.
Sprinkle ½ cup milk, 10-12 strands saffron soaked in water, ½ cup golden brown onion, and 3 tablespoon ghee on top.
Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid.
Place the pan on high heat and cook for 5-6 minutes. Simmer the heat to very low and cook the biryani for 35-40 minutes. You can keep a griddle below the pan if the heat in your stove cannot be set to very low. The idea is to slow cook or Dum the biryani.
Once the biryani is cooked for 35-40 minutes, remove the lid and mix the biryani gently using a large spoon to mix the chicken pieces and the masala with the rice. Serve hot with raita or salan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can follow the same recipe and make mutton biryani instead. Mutton takes longer to cook than chicken, so you will have to keep that in mind. If making kacchi mutton biryani, raw papaya should be used in the marination as a tenderizer. Check out my detailed mutton biryani recipe here.
This chicken biryani recipe uses two marinations,
For the first marination, I will recommend keeping it overnight or for a minimum of 10-12 hours, so that the meat soaks up the flavors really nice.
For the second marination, you can keep it aside for 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon how much time you have in your hands.
To make green chili paste, add a few green chilies to a grinder. Add little oil and grind to make a smooth paste. Use as much as required in the recipe and store the rest in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can also freeze this paste in an ice cube tray and take out one cube for one recipe.
This Hyderabadi chicken biryani can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. Heat it properly, before serving. If you have a lot of portions, heat only the amount you want to serve.
You can even freeze biryani for about a month. Just let it cool down completely before freezing. Once you are ready to eat it, thaw it overnight and heat it again, before serving.
Hyderabadi chicken biryani can be served with any raita of your choice like Onion Tomato Raita, Boondi Raita, or Pineapple Raita.
You can serve Mirchi Ka Salan or Ande Ka Salan with it too.
Don’t forget to top the chicken biryani with some browned onion before serving.
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Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe
For the rice
- 3 cups long-grain basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds/shahi jeera
- 2 whole black cardamoms
- 2-3 whole green cardamoms
- 2 flowers javitri
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 5-6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 whole star anise
- 2 inch stick of cinnamon
- 2 whole bay Leaves
- 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon green chili paste
- 2-3 drops vetiver essence/kewra essence
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- 4 teaspoon salt
For the chicken
- 1 pound bone-in chicken (cut into small pieces)
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds/shahi jeera
- 2 teaspoon ghee
- 4 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoon green chili paste
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 200 grams thick yogurt
- 2 tablespoon chopped mint
- 2 tablespoon chopped coriander
- ¼ cup golden fried onion
For assembling the biryani
- ½ cup milk
- 10-12 strands saffron (soaked in 2 tablespoon milk)
- ½ cup golden fried onion
- 3 tablespoon ghee
- Start by marinating the chicken. To make the marinade, mix shahi jeera, ghee, ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, vegetables oil, green chili paste, and lime juice in a large mixing bowl.
- Wash the chicken and drain all the water. Add it to the bowl and mix well to coat it with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate it for 10-12 hours. This is the first marination.
- After 10-12 hours, take out the bowl from the refrigerator and marinate it for the second time. Add thick yogurt, mint, coriander, and golden fried onion to the bowl. Mix everything well again.
- Refrigerate the chicken for another hour.
- Take an 8-inch square cotton cloth piece and add caraway seeds, whole black cardamom, whole green cardamom, javitri, whole cloves, cumin seeds, whole black peppercorn, whole star anise, whole cinnamon, and whole bay leaf in the center. Bring the ends of the cloth together and tie a knot to make a potli (bouquet garni).
- Wash the rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear. Soak it in 5-6 cups of water for 30 minutes. Heat 6-8 cups of water in a large pot. Add the potli that we made earlier, cumin seeds, ginger-garlic paste, green chili paste, kewra essence, lime juice, and salt to the pot and bring the water to a boil.
- Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water. Simmer the heat to medium and let it cook until it is 80% cooked. 80% cooked means that it still has a bite to it. Be very vigilant while cooking the rice. You don’t want to overcook it, otherwise, the biryani will become mushy. If the rice is undercooked, it will taste raw.
- Transfer the chicken along with the marinade to a large heavy bottom pan with a tight-fitting lid. I used my 8-quart Dutch oven to cook the biryani.
- Once the rice gets 80% cooked, discard the potli. Take the rice out using a sieve and spread it over the chicken evenly.
- Sprinkle ½ cup milk, saffron soaked in water, golden brown onion and ghee on top.
- Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.
- Place the pan on high heat and cook for 5-6 minutes. Simmer the heat to very low and cook the biryani for 35-40 minutes. You can keep a griddle below the pan if the heat in your stove cannot be set to very low. The idea is to slow cook or Dum the biryani.
- Once the biryani is cooked for 35-40 minutes, remove the lid and mix the biryani gently using a large spoon to mix the chicken pieces and the masala with the rice. Serve hot with raita or salan.
The most important aspect of this recipe is the biriyani Masala. That has not been explained.
I haven’t used any Biryani Masala in this recipe. For rice, I used a bouquet gurney of dry garam masala that is also called potli masala. But will update the process abit more. Thnx for your suggestion.
Thanks to sharing your recipe really appreciated ????
Do try 🙂
It doesn’t say to cook the chicken before adding rice to it. That doesn’t seem right.
In traditional Hyderabadi Style Biryani, They don’t cook the meat before hand. It is cooked along with the rice on slow flame. That is why, it is called kacchi Biryani 🙂
I just made this and it tastes incredible. Thank you!!!!!!
Thnx for trying 🙂
you have a nice recipe…keep it up
Healthy Kitchen 101
Look super delicious! I love the way you describe the instructions into 3 different sections which makes the recipe easily to be followed 🙂
Thnx a lot 🙂
Today I am trying this recipe at home for lunch
I hope it turned out good )
It was great that day and today trying Again
Thnx a lot 🙂
Tried your recipe last night and it was finger licking good! The marinade for the chicken was perfect.
Thnx a lot for trying the recipe and leaving your feedback 🙂
Your instructions seem clear and I wish to try it out. Kindly clarify quantity of water you mention in steps 2,3 and 4 in the section ‘how to assemble rice’.as too little may not cook the rice while too much can make it mushy.
I have updated the recipe. In this recipe, the rice is cooked in excess water and once it is cooked to desired consistency, the remaining water is drained. I hope this clears your question. Thnx
In boiling the water in pot you mentioned to add potli masala ginger garlic paste in water and to add the rice … Should we add GG paste in cooking rice
Yes. You have to add some while cooking the rice. It gives rice a very nice flavour.
tried ur recipe, came well,yummy ????????
Happy to hear 🙂
tried tis tday,nice and yummy ????????
Thanks for trying 🙂
Hi Neha, I am Dinesh, a hardcore foodie in the complete sense…I love to eat as well as cook for myself and others !
I have few queries wrt to your recipe.
1. Can I use coconut or sunflower oil instead of Vegetable Oil ?
2. How do I know if the Rice is cooked 20% and 80% ?
3. How do I prepare the Biryani in a medium spicy taste ?
4. In case long grain basmati Rice is not available, can I use the regular basmati rice and which brand would you recommend ?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Hi, Here are your answers
1) You can use sunflower oil but don’t use coconut oil in this biryani.
2) I have edited the recipe and now it uses only 80% cooked rice. It means that rice is almost cooked with just a slight rawness in teh centre.
3) This recipe is medium spicy. You can reduce green chilli paste even further if you like it less spicy.
4) You can use regular basmati rice as well.
I hope this helps.
Simple yet delish recipe! Thanks for this 🙂 I made a large potful of this and everyone loved it!
Happy to hear your feedback Gitanjali “)
How do you make the green chilli paste?
I add a handful of chillies in a blender along with little oil and grind to make a paste. Then use as much is required and refrigerate the rest.
Excited to try this recipe! Do you oil the cast iron pan before layering the first layer (chicken) on it? I have a le creuset Dutch oven for this but I fear the chicken may burn and stick at the bottom.
Also, how many layers of chicken and rice were put ? (Ie does the chicken cook well even if you add it to the middle layer?)
Also, watch kind of red chili powder was used in the marinade ?
I’m trying it *this evening* so hopefully will hear back from you before then =D
Here are the answers for you
1. You don’t have to oil the pot. The chicken have oil in marination and that will take care. Plus you have to cook the biryani on very low heat and chicken will release water while cooking. So that will take care of burning.
2. I only put one layer in biryani. Please try to follow the recipe to the T, at least for the first time. Making biryani is tricky and if you change the recipe, it could be a disaster.
3. I use Kashmiri Red Chilli powder in all my recipes. It is mild but gives a nice color to the dishes. You can, however, use any chili powder that you are comfortable with.
Happy to report it was brilliant!
I had to cook it for about 15 mins more on very slow heat because after the said.cook time, there was a 2 inch water from the chicken on the bottom still. I had initially overcooked the rice too so maybe that had something to do with this? or maybe too much yogurt in the marinade..
Seeing the runny watery overnight marinade I heated the chicken w lid open for 10 min first before layering the rice atop it.
So as a result the rice was a bit overcooked eventually. We still thoroughly enjoyed the dish though, with everyone eyeing leftovers the next day 🙂
Any thoughts on how this could’ve been better?
Hi An, good to hear that you liked the recipe. Biryani is a slightly tricky recipe. I suggest following the instructions to the T for the first time. Measurements are very important. Please use standard cups and spoons for measuring. I am sure it will turn out perfect for you next time.
Earlier this year, I bought an Aluminum Biryani Handi Degra 5L with Lid and a Brass Cooking Handi 5L with Lid (From JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN, India).
Today, using the Brass Handi, I made the Chicken Biryani as specified in your recipe. The taste was phenomenal. Everyone in my family loved it and enjoyed it.
I have some questions regarding this recipe.
(1) Which Handi is preferable to use, Aluminum or Brass? And why? Or would you use something else like a Le Creuset Dutch oven?
(2) How do you prevent the bottom from burning and sticking to the Handi? Cleaning the Handi was very difficult and tedious!
I included chicken wings and tips for extra flavor and when done, I removed the tips. I also boiled the Basmati Rice in home-made chicken broth.
All-in-all, making the Chicken Biryani for the first time using your recipe, I was very satisfied with the outcome.
Thank you for a wonder and tasty recipe!!!
Hi Steve, Happy to hear that you liked my recipe. I am trying to answer your questions. Hope they help.
1. You can use any vessel as long as it is heavy-bottomed and is wide. I love to use a dutch oven as they are perfect for this purpose. A le Creuset will work like a charm and the best part is that biryani will not stick to it because of the enamel coating.
2. To clean the handi, soak it in water overnight. Then remove the leftover and rice and stuff and wash.