Chicken Biryani

4.31 from 42 votes

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, and Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani.

Hyderabadi chicken served in a bowl.
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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,

  • Aromatic
  • Lip-smacking
  • Loaded with tender pieces of Chicken
  • Perfect for special occasions
  • Great for your weekend meals
  • A great dish for Pot Lucks

Ingredients

Chicken biryani marination ingredients.

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 crispy fried onions (birista).

You can either fry the onion at home or use store-bought to save time. Check out my recipe to make Crispy Fried Onions for biryani here.

Chicken biryani rice ingredients.

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.

Chicken biryani topping ingredients.

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.

Marination ingredients added to a 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.

Chicken added to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate it for 10-12 hours. This is the first marination.

Marinated chicken.

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.

Ingredients for second marination added to the bowl.

Refrigerate the chicken for another hour.

Chicken mixed with the second marination ingredients.

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).

Ingredients for potli kept in center of a cloth piece.
Potli made.

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.

Rice cooking in water along the other ingredients.

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.

Rice cooking.

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.

Marinated chicken transferred to a large pot.

Once the rice gets 80% cooked, discard the potli. Take the rice out using a sieve and spread it over the chicken evenly.

Rice layered over the chicken.

Sprinkle ½ cup milk, 10-12 strands saffron soaked in water, ½ cup golden brown onion, and 3 tablespoon ghee on top.

Garnished with fried onion, ghee and saffron soaked in milk.

Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid.

Pan covered.

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.

Ready chicken biryani.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we use mutton instead of chicken in this recipe?

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.

How long should we marinate the chicken?

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.

How to make green chilli paste?

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.

Storage Suggestions

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.

Serving Suggestions

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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Try out my recipe to make Hyderabadi chicken biryani at home in the most traditional manner. The result is outstanding, I can promise.
4.31 from 42 votes

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe

Try out my recipe to make Hyderabadi chicken biryani at home in the most traditional manner. The result is outstanding, I can promise.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients 

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
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Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

 
Hyderabadi
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 502kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 1875mg, Potassium: 316mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 384IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 95mg, Iron: 2mg
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4.31 from 42 votes (35 ratings without comment)

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39 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    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

  2. 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.
    Thank you.

    1. 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

  3. Look super delicious! I love the way you describe the instructions into 3 different sections which makes the recipe easily to be followed 🙂
    – Natalie

    1. 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 🙂

    1. 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.