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Monday, November 14, 2011

Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani


There are as many ways of making biriyani as there are people in India :). This recipe cuts through all the complexity and provides the simplest way to make South-Indian yummy biriyani. Especially good for non-Indians if you want to try your hand on some Indian delicacy.

I promise I’ll be back with the more difficult full-blown version of Awadhi and Hyderbadi Biriyani later.


  1. 2 lbs (1 kg) chicken cut in bigger than regular curry sized pieces
  2. 3 large onions finely sliced
  3. 2 tbsp ginger paste
  4. 2 tbsp garlic paste
  5. 4 bay leaves
  6. 4-5 green cardamom
  7. 5 cloves
  8. 2 sticks of cinnamon
  9. 4 star-anise
  10. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  11. 1 tsp chili powder ( you can add more if you want to make it hot)
  12. 1 cup thick yogurt
  13. 1 lime juice
  14. 1 bunch coriander leaves chopped
  15. 1 bunch mint leaves chopped
  16. Few strands saffron soaked in warm milk
  17. Biriyani masala available at most Indian store
  18. Garam masala
  19. 8 green chilies
  20. Half cup of Sunflower or Canola oil
  21. 1 lb Basmati rice washed and soaked for half an hour.


  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with yogurt, ginger+garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, 3-4tbsp biriyani masala, salt and a handful of chopped coriander and mint leaves for 1 hour.
  2. In a deep frying pan or Kadai heat oil and deep fry half of the sliced onions till they are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil and keep on a tissue paper. Retain the oil for further use as it contains the excellent taste of fried onions.
  3. In a pan heat the oil you used for frying the onions.
  4. Temper it with clove, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and bay leaves.
  5. When the spices start popping add the rest of the chopped onions and fry them in a medium heat till the onions become light pink.IMG_7788
  6. Add the chicken along with its marinade and fry till the oil separates out from the spices.
  7. Cover and cook till the meat is just done. Do not overcook the meat. It will spoil your whole day's labor.
  8. Cook the basmati rice
    1. either in a 1:2 ratio of rice and water in a closed rice cooker or microwave
    2. Cook in an open pan, drain the water
  9. Spread rice on a plate.
  10. Sprinkle enough salt, very little sugar and lime juice on the rice. It will help the rice grain to stay separated from each other.

Direction for Layering

  1. Take a deep wide bottom pan suitable for layering and serving. 
  2. Start the bottom most layer with rice.
  3. Then put a layer of caramelized onion (prepared above), chicken coated with spices, chopped coriander, mint leaves and green chilies. Sprinkle little garam masala powder and pour some saffron infused milk over it.
  4. Cover it up with another layer of rice and continue alternating the layers till one third space in the vessel is left
  5. The top and the bottom layer should always be rice. Cover it up and keep it on very low heat for 15 to 20 mins.

IMG_0241Garnish with crispy fried onions, and few strands of coriander and mint leaves.  Serve it with fresh raita (beaten thick yogurt with chopped onions, coriander, salt).

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