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.
Rice - Use best quality rice to make chicken biryani. Long grain basmati rice which is atleast 2 years old is considered best to make a good Hyderabdi biryani. I use Fortune basmati Rice to make my biryani. Be very attentive while cooking the rice. Do not stir the rice much while cooking otherwise it will break the grains.Marination - The chicken must be marinated before hand.Since we are not cooking it separately, marinating it beforehand will make it tender and easy to cook.Cooking - Use a heavy bottom pan to assemble the chicken biryani. The biryani needs to be cooked for 35-40 minutes on low heat and if the pan is not heavy, it might burn.Choose a pan with a tight fitting lid. Hyderabadi biryani cooks on dum or steam and we want to retain as much steam that is formed inside. Traditionally, a sealing of dough used to be put around the pan and the lid but I don’t think that it is required if the lid fits tightly.Potli Masala - The traditional potli masala used to make Hyderabadi biryani recipe has many unusual ingredients, but since it is not easy to source them, I have a mix which is easy to find and not compromise on taste.Birista - Making Birista or crispy fried onions at home is the best way to go. I always make a large batch and freeze it for later use. You can check the recipe to make golden fried onion or Biristahere.