Chicken Biryani Hyderabadi Style

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If you were to ask me what my favorite Indian dish is, it would have to be Biryani.  This special one pot dish is a layered rice dish of the Indian subcontinent and it can include any types of meat, fish or vegetables.  India offers so many culinary wonders but most will agree that when it comes to biryanis, Indians unanimously love indulging in this mouth-watering dish. From start to finish, biryanis can be pretty time consuming, so mostly it is served up on special occasions.  Marinated in yogurt and a blend of different spices is key to making this dish moist and beyond flavorful.  On this particular day, there was absolutely no special occasion, just my tastebuds hankering for a good biryani.  So here it is.  Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off.  Since there’s just my husband and myself, we were able to feast on the leftovers for weeks as I had portioned off meals and stored in the freezer.


Marinating in yogurt and a blend of mixed spices

Chicken Biryani, Hyderbadi style

Ingredients for marinade

  • 1 cup yogurt, plain
  • 75 grams onion paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 4 green chillies, fresh, chopped, deseeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 500 grams boneless chicken thighs and breasts, skinned and cut into 1 1/2 in pieces

Masala Powder 

  • 4 cloves
  • 1 piece cinnamon, 1 inch
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds


  • 2 cups basmati rice, or any other long-grain rice
  • 4 cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 piece cinnamon, 3-inch broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  • 4 teaspoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk for 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 14 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon almonds, blanched and toasted


  1. Place yogurt in a large bowl and whisk, using a fork until smooth.  Add onion, garlic, ginger, chili and 2 tablespoons water to a bowl and combine with yogurt, turmeric, lime juice, coriander leaves and salt.
  2. Place masala powder ingredients in an electric grinder and process to a fine powder.  Add to yogurt mixture.
  3. Add chicken and massage with your hands for the marinade to coat and penetrate the chicken.  Marinate, covered for 2 to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Wash rice at least 3 times until the water runs clear.  Soak rice in water to cover by at least 1 inch for 15 minutes.  Drain.
  5. Place a large pan on high heat and pour in 2 liters water.  Bring to a boil and then add drained rice, stirring gently.  Toss in cloves, green cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaf and salt.  Stir to mix, then cover with a lid.  Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat or until half-cooked.  Drain the rice.  Set aside and allow to cool.
  6. Heat 4 teaspoons ghee and tablespoons oil in a pan or wok and fry the sliced onions till caramelized and crisp.  Set aside.  (I baked the onions in the oven, as I didn’t want additional oil in the dish).
  7. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil onto the bottom of a heavy saucepan and place the marinated chicken at the bottom, spreading it out in one layer.  Spoon half the rice in a layer over the chicken.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons saffron milk, 1/2 tablespoon ghee, and 1/2 tablespoon coriander leaves over the layered rice.  Repeat one more layer with the remaining rice, saffron milk, ghee and coriander leaves.  Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and then with a fitted lid.  Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and let cook for an additional 20 minutes.  OR if cooking in an oven, preheat the oven to 200deg C.  Place biryani on dum in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Let the biryani rest, covered for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove lid and foil, and garnish with mint leaves and almonds.  Serve hot.

Chicken Biryani slow-cooked to perfection!

Recipe source:

25 Replies to “Chicken Biryani Hyderabadi Style”

  1. Very tempting, Loretta! I have never made biryani by placing it on Dum in an oven. Will try this method next time.
    I think my previous comment did not go through. I was at work and the I was having issues with WordPress password.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Biryani is one of my most favorite dishes too. It sure is a lot of work but worth it, right? Dum Biryani is the best and yours looks picture perfect Loretta! Love the color combination in your photography too.Well done!Once again, I wish I was your neighbor 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I was your neighbor too Sandhya with all the beautiful dishes you produce. I bought some Bombay Bhel Puri and also some Chaat Masala, have never used these before. I seem to recall some of your recipes that use these? Not sure, or it could have been some other blog. Can you use Chaat masala in curries?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Loretta both yummy purchases- Is the Bombay Bhel puri in a kit? Meaning do the chutneys come with it? I make/ buy chutneys green spicy and the sweet date tamarind ones. They freeze well and I use them in various chaat recipes. I have the bhel, spring chaat, dabeli style sweet poatatoes and fruit chaat to name afew on my blog that use chaat masala.
        Just search for chaat masala on my blog and they come up.
        I don’t use chaat masala in curries as such except chole/chick peas may be. It is quite tangy/ pungent with the black salt but of course a touch of it can be added for an extra oomph!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No Sandhya, it just came in a packet but not a kit. I best get to making those recipes from your blog before Bert finishes it up, he eats it as a snack. Thanks for telling me about the chaat masala and how you use it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This recipe caught my attention on my reader and I never went back until now! I know when it comes to Indian food you are the best Loretta as I continue to experiment with different spices. The pastes – do you make your own or buy them? Sounds so flavorful and I feel the more ingredients the better 🙂 Thanks for the masala powder recipe as I usually prefer to use homemade. I’m sure this was a big hit!


    1. Aww you’re too kind Judi. But there are many expert Indian bloggers out there, I pale in comparision 🙂 I do make pastes, there’s one that I make in particular that uses a lot of cilantro and other spices, I call it “green masala” and it usually stays fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks. During that time I use it on many dishes like shepherds pie, hamburgers, chicken curry, barbequed drumsticks etc.


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