Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
Photo Credits: Ravi Talwar

A complete meal in itself, Chicken biryani has its roots in Mughal cuisine. Spicy rice coupled with wholesome chicken pieces, Biryani has many variations in India like Awadhi biryani, Hyderabadi biryani, Kerala biryani etc. To enjoy it best, serve it with yogurt and biryani salan.

Ingredients

  • Dressed Chicken, cleaned and cut into big pieces                   300 grams
  • Long grain basmati rice, washed and soaked for an hour       1 cup
  • Onion, peeled, sliced and deep fried                                      1 cup
  • Ginger-Garlic paste                                                              1 tablespoon
  • Red chili powder                                                                   2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper, crushed or pounded                                         1 teaspoon
  • Roasted Cumin seeds powder                                                1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder                                                                 1 tablespoons
  • Garam Masala                                                                      2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaf                                                                                1
  • Whole Cloves                                                                        4
  • Whole Black pepper corns                                                     6
  • Whole Green Cardamoms                                                     2
  • Whole Black Cardamom                                                        1
  • Whole Maces (Javitri)                                                            2
  • Whole Cinnamon stick                                                          1 inch piece
  • Whole Caraway seeds (Shahjeera)                                          1 tablespoon
  • Lemon juice                                                                          1 tablespoon
  • Yoghurt                                                                                1 cup
  • Fresh Coriander (Cilantro), chopped                                       1 cup
  • Fresh Mint leaves                                                                   1 cup
  • Salt                                                                                       To taste
  • Saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm milk                       Few strings
  • Rose water (gulab jal)                                                             2 tablespoon

  Or

  Screw pine water (kewra)                                                       1/2 teaspoon

  • Ghee (Clarified butter)                                                           4 – 5 tablespoons

Procedure

  1. In a heavy base saucepan or biryani handi thoroughly combine half of the fried onions along with yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, roasted cumin seeds powder, crushed black pepper, coriander powder, 1 teaspoon Garam Masala, green cardamom powder, salt to taste, lemon juice, half of mint and coriander leaves and 2 – 3 tablespoons ghee.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to this mixture, mix to coat all pieces evenly and then keep aside, covered to marinade for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Put a deep pan on medium heat with plenty of water in it. Let the water come to a boil.
  4. Tie all whole spices except caraway seeds into a cheese cloth or muslin cloth as a pouch and drop it along with some salt into boiling water.
  5. Add soaked and drained basmati rice in it and boil until half done.
  6. Lift out half boiled rice with a slotted spoon and spread over marinated chicken evenly, let some water also go into the biryani handi but only whatever is carried along with half boiled rice.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining Garam Masala, rest of brown onions, chopped green coriander and mint leaves over the contents of the handi.
  8. Also sprinkle rose water and saffron dissolved in milk over spread rice.
  9. Finally drizzle 2 tablespoons melted ghee all over the rice layer; close and seal the lid of the handi tightly.

Tip: Biryani handi is traditionally sealed with a thin layer of wheat dough at the joint of the lid and handi.

  1. Place the handi on high heat and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Then lower the heat to low medium.
  2. Once you see steam coming out of the pan puncturing the wheat dough seal, it means the chicken and rice are almost done but not thoroughly cooked, this will take approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Put a flat heavy base pan or griddle plate (tawa) beneath the pan and let it cook on medium heat for next 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let it remain as it is until it’s time to serve.
  4. Transfer the Hyderabad chicken biryani into serving bowl or on a platter and garnish with mint leaves.
  5. Serve hot with choice of yogurt (onion-tomato-mint raita is recommended) and/or with mirchi ka salan if you desire.

Tip: You may also add some fried cashew nuts and raisins to the biryani to add a royal touch, the way the Nawabs of Hyderabad liked it.

Preparation Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 2

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