October 21, 2009

Chicken Biriyani

Any special occasion demands special food. Be it Christmas, someone's birthday, or an important guest, the Chicken Biriyani always rises to the occasion. Elaborate as it might be, its worth all the effort. This recipe is a time-tested family favorite. Try it out.

For Chicken
Chicken pieces - 1 kg
Vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
Onions (medium) - 3
Tomatoes - 4
Green chillies - 6
Ginger - 1 1 1/2" piece
Garlic - 3 pods
Cloves - 4
Cardamom - 4
Cinnamon - 4
Bay leaves -2
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Yougart - 4 tbsp
Mint leaves - 1/4 cup
Coriander (Cilantro) leaves - 1/4 cup
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
For Rice
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Cloves - 4
Cardamom - 4
Cinnamon - 2
Bay leaves -2
Warm water - 3 cups
Lemon - 1/2
Salt to taste
For Layering
Saffron - 2 pinches
Milk - 2 tbsp
Onions - 2
Oil for frying - 1 cup
Amma's Spice Podi - 2 tsp
(a dry ground mixture of cardomom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and fennel)
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Coriander (Cilantro) leaves - 1/2 cup
Cashewnuts - 1/2 cup
Raisins - 1/4 cup

Slice the onions lengthwise. Chop the tomatoes finely.
Slit the green chillies. Cut 1/2 piece of ginger into julienes.
Make a paste of the remaining ginger and garlic (Tip: Add a few slices of onions to make a finer paste)Roast and powder the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.
Soak in a little water, chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and keep aside.
Chop mint and coriander leaves.
In a wok, heat oil. Fry the onions, ginger julienes till brown. Add green chilies and fry.
Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes. Add roasted spices and soaked masalas. Fry till oil comes out of the masalas.
Add tomatoes and fry well. Add mint and coriander leaves, mix well.
Add chicken pieces and salt. Add warm water and cook on medium fire till done.
Switch off and mix beaten yougurt into the gravy.

Wash and strain the rice.
Heat ghee and add the whole spices.
When they splutter, add rice and saute for 5 minutes.
Add warm water and mix well.
Add lemon juice and salt.
Cover and cook on medium fire, till water is all gone and rice still has a bite to it.
Let it cool.

While the rice is cooking, cut onions lengthwise for layering.
Heat oil and fry the cashewnuts. When its half done, add the raisins. As soon raisins plump up, remove the nuts and raisins from the oil and keep aside.
Now add the sliced onions and fry on medium fry untill golden brown. Remove the onions and keep aside.
Warm the milk and add the saffron. Keep aside.
Chop mint and coriander leaves finely.

Preheat the over at 350.
In a rectangular baking dish, add a layer of rice.
Pour drops of saffron. Spread fried onions, nuts and raisins. Spread mint and coriander leaves. Sprinkle the Spice Podi evenly.
Over this layer spoon some chicken curry, making sure the chicken pieces are evenly spread.
Add another layer of rice and repeat all the toppings and then layer the chicken.
Continue and make sure that the top layer is that of rice and the topping.
Cover the baking dish with a aluminum foil. Cut some holes to let the steam out. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Garnish with boiled eggs and serve with cool tomato-cucumber raita.

Tip: Substitute raisins with freshly chopped pineapple. For some, it can be the icing on the cake :)


  1. This is by far the best Chicken Biriyani recipe I have ever tried (and I have tried many)! Straight forward and with an amazing result. Thanks so much for sharing!