Chicken Biryani, Hyderabadi Style


For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 2 pounds (about 1 kg) chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste

For the Biryani:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • A pinch of saffron strands (soaked in warm milk)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

Whole Spices:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf


Marinating the Chicken:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, salt, lemon juice, and vegetable oil.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and ensure they are well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours (overnight is best).

Preparing the Rice:

  1. Wash the Basmati rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice.
  2. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice, green cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf, and salt. Cook the rice until it is 70-80% cooked. It should still have a slight bite to it. Drain and set aside.

Assembling the Biryani:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or a biryani pot, heat the vegetable oil and ghee over medium heat. Add the whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf) and sauté for a minute or until they release their aroma.
  2. Add the thinly sliced onions and sauté until they turn golden brown and crispy. Remove half of the fried onions and set them aside for garnish.
  3. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken changes color.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil starts to separate.
  5. Layer the partially cooked rice over the chicken in the pot.
  6. Sprinkle half of the chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves over the rice.
  7. Drizzle the saffron-infused milk over the rice.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining coriander and mint leaves and the fried onions over the rice.
  9. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or seal the edges with dough to trap the steam. Cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  10. Gently fluff the Biryani with a fork before serving.

Serve the Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani hot with raita or salan (a spicy side dish) for a truly authentic experience. Enjoy!