Chicken biryani is one of the delicacies that one normally partakes in restaurants only. That is because it is time consuming to prepare and often difficult to get it right. I used to prepare a version of chicken biryani earlier in which I completely cooked chicken gravy separately and rice separately which were then mixed together and served. It was delicious but my dum biryani in which I cook marinated chicken and basmati rice together on slow heat is yummier.
So here’s a recipe of simple chicken biryani made at home. Now you can make your job easier by using store bought biryani masala which you can use to marinate your chicken pieces. If you are a purist you could prepare the masala yourself. The recipe is given below. I use the Banne Nawab chicken biryani masala which suits my taste perfectly.
If you wish to cook biryani, you really have to plan at least a day in advance. I prefer the meat to be marinated at least overnight for it to be flavourful. And since I have 3 men/boys at home, I make large quantity of it so that we can also enjoy the leftovers. You could adjust the quantities pro rata.
For 6-8 large servings
1 full chicken cut in pieces with bone (About 1 Kg.)
750 gms. good quality Basmati Rice
250 gm. Curd
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch mint
3 medium onions sliced thinly and deep fried till golden brown
A few strands of saffron (about 2 generous pinches) immersed in half cup warm milk to release their colour and flavour.
Oil to deep fry onions
5-6 tbsp. ghee/oil
Biryani masala powder
2 tbsp. Ginger garlic paste
2-3 Green chillies chopped
Boiled eggs to garnish
Raita made with onion, tomato, mint and green chillies to serve as a side dish
Biryani masala powder recipe:
Black pepper corns – 10-12
Black cardamom – 2
Green cardamom – 3
Clove – 4
Cinnamon – 2 small sticks
Mace — 2
Bay leaves — 2
Cumin – 1 tsp.
Coriander – 1 tsp.
Lightly toast the above and then blend to form a powder
For the chicken:
First marinate the chicken. Clean and dry the chicken pieces. Add 250 gm. curd, chicken biryani masala 3 tbsp., 2-3 chopped green chillies, 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste, 3 tbsp. ghee/oil, some saffron strands and salt and mix well. Add in ½ bunch of mint and coriander finely chopped and keep this for marinating in the fridge at least overnight.
For the Basmati rice:
Wash 750 gms. Basmati rice in water. Soak it in water for half an hour. Now heat water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add some whole garam masala like a few pepper corns, green cardamom, cloves, cumin and cinnamon to this boiling water. Add in the rice carefully. And add in the salt. Let it cook for about 4-6 minutes only. We only want to partially cook the rice or half cook it. Watch the rice carefully and drain it out at about 4-6 minutes. Set aside. Handle it gently to avoid it from breaking.
Take a non-stick big kadhai/wok or a large pan with a thick bottom. We need a thick bottom or the biryani may burn. Now tip in the marinated chicken mix into the pan. Add a layer of deep fried onions.
Now carefully spread the half cooked basmati rice over the layer of marinated chicken. Spread it out evenly. Add the saffron in milk infusion to leave beautiful orange streaks on the rice. The aroma of saffron is amazing!
Add the remaining chopped mint and coriander leaves to the rice. Also tip in the remaining fried onions on the rice. Pour in 3 tbsp. ghee/oil all over the rice to prevent it from drying out when being cooked.
Now cover the pan with a tight lid so that no steam escapes. You could also put dough on the sides of the lid to make it airtight. Turn the heat on and put your wok/pan on it. After about 6-8 minutes when you notice steam beginning to form, put a heavy tawa/griddle on the flame. Put your biryani vessel on top of this tawa to prevent direct heat from reaching it. Now let the flame be such so that it just touches the tawa (slightly less than full flame).
Cook for about 30-35 minutes on this flame. Your entire house will smell great. Then switch off the flame and let the biryani rest for 10 minutes.
Take it to the table and open the lid to absolutely appetizing aromas. Your basmati rice grains will be well cooked and glistening with pure ghee goodness. You will need to mix in the chicken and its masala with rice gently while serving. The chicken is well cooked and really tender. Serve with boiled eggs and a yoghurt raita made with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, mint and green chillies and garnished with salt and roasted cumin powder. Your delicious and simple chicken biryani is ready to eat.
Dig in and relish the flavours. On this one day, don’t worry about the calories. Happy eating.