Hyderabadi chicken biryani, the best authentic biryani better than any restaurant, cooked on dum with aromatic basmati rice, fragrant Indian spices, and saffron
iryani! BDoesn’t that word conjure feelings of joy and comfort? Who doesn’t love this pampered, fragrant, rice delicacy that reigns supreme as the world best one-pot meal?
For many of my dear readers, today’s post is a long-awaited one. The question I keep getting asked is “how do you make chicken biryani?\ Ever since I have been blogging, I have received many emails requesting for Hyderabadi chicken biryani recipe. At last I get to blog the recipe of the quintessential ‘home style’ Chicken Dum Biryani from the royal kitchen of the Nizams. A chicken dish that calls for an elaborate process and requires lots of TLC aka ‘tender loving care’ while preparing unlike the quick pressure cooker biryani. There are two versions, Kachha (raw) and Pakki (cooked) Biryani.
Today’s recipe is basically a Hyderabadi kachha style of biryani where marinated raw chicken and partially cooked basmati rice are layered and cooked on dum, over low heat. Traditionally, biryani is slow cooked over firewood where each rice grain appears separate, non-greasy and is flavorful. And the chicken is super soft, moist and tender. You can achieve the same flavor while cooking over stove top too.
I prepared this biryani a couple of times. This is a no-fail recipe for Hyderabadi chicken biryani that’s perfect. Once the chicken biryani is cooked on dum, as you open the lid, the kitchen smells fragrant, rich with the reassuring aroma of pure ghee and saffron and the chicken cooked to melt in the mouth tenderness. Perfectly spiced biryani!
The secret to making perfect Hyderabadi chicken biryani
What kind of rice is used to make biryani?
If you are preparing authentic Hyderabadi chicken biryani recipe, use only the best quality aged Basmati rice. I have used few brands like Kohinoor, Daawat and India Gate basmati rice. But the best biryani rice in terms of the long grain, aroma, and flavor would be India Gate. The aroma is simply out of the world and when cooked each grain is separate, and cooks beautifully.
How do you cook basmati rice?
For 1 kg basmati rice, use at least 6-7 liters of water. Add the spices and salt (as mentioned in the recipe) to the water and allow to sit for 20-30 mins. Drain the water from the rice into a larger vessel and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the basmati rice at this stage and cook on high flame for 6-7 mins. Reduce flame to low medium and cook for a few more mins. You have to check at regular intervals while the rice is cooking by pressing a rice grain between your thumb and index finger. It should be undercooked, just slightly soft on touch yet still grainy in texture. When it’s just half cooked, immediately drain the water. Do not allow the rice to cool completely. Start layering the rice at this stage or within 2-4 mins of straining it.
Where does the aroma of the biryani come from?
The aroma of chicken biryani comes from basmati rice, desi ghee fried onions, fresh mint leaves, and saffron infused milk. These go between each rice layer. Mint leaves lend a lovely aroma and flavor to the biryani but it has to be used in moderation. Do not skimp on it or go overboard with mint.
How to make soft and moist chicken in a biryani?
The key to a soft, moist chicken is the marinade and marination time. We do not want a stringy chicken. Salt, lemon juice, green chilies, ginger garlic paste and biryani masala are extremely important ingredients for the marinade, both in terms of flavor and texture of chicken. You have to marinate the chicken for at least 6 hours. It’s ideal to marinate for 12 hours (marinate overnight and refrigerate).
What is the ratio of rice to chicken while cooking biryani?
For 1 kg rice, you will need to use 1 kg chicken.
You have to keep a few other aspects in mind while making the chicken biryani. The chicken has to be marinated for at least 6 hrs and if running out of time then two hours will do. But the longer the better. I suggest you do not compromise in this aspect. Add sufficient salt to the marinated chicken. You should remember to add salt to the water while boiling for the basmati rice. (a very important crucial step that is overlooked many a time). It is also crucial that you use the right cooking vessel to prepare the biryani. Use a flat base, heavy-bottomed handi or vessel.
It is important to seal the vessel while the biryani is cooking on dum and not allow any steam to escape. You can make a dough with wheat flour/atta and water, roll out into an elongated shape similar to a rope. Run it along the edge of the vessel and the lid and pinch to seal. You should not follow any shortcut methods and all the ingredients listed below are a MUST. In other words, there are no substitutes for the mentioned ingredients. These are the aspects that need to be taken care of while making chicken biryani.
I must mention that chicken biryani is a lengthy process that needs some experience. But, you will surely master how to make perfect biryani after a couple of trials. Even though I make biryani very often, sometimes I falter. I either overcook the rice or over-fry the onions (in the images you will see that the fried onions are darker and not golden brown). It happens but there is always another day and another chance to try. Never give up. 🙂
This is my most favorite Hyderabadi chicken biryani recipe. Do give it a try and share your feedback in the comments. You can share pictures of the biryani too. I am on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, so do share your feedback or ask your queries as well.
How to make chicken biryani that is authentic, easy and tasty