Classic Chicken Biryani

    2 hours 5 minutes

    The famous Pakistani dish chicken biryani has a long preparation time but it is always worth the effort!

    159 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
    • 2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 (5cm) cinnamon stick
    • 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken pieces cut into chunks
    • For the Rice
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
    • 1 pinch powdered saffron
    • 5 pods cardamom
    • 3 whole cloves
    • 1 (2.5cm) cinnamon stick
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 500g basmati rice
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    Preparation:30min  ›  Cook:1hour35min  ›  Ready in:2hours5min 

    1. In a large frying pan, in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or ghee) fry potatoes until brown. Drain and reserve the potatoes.
    2. Add remaining oil to the pan and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chili, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and the tomatoes. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
    3. Add yogurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp. It may be necessary to add a little hot water if the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan.
    4. When the mixture is thick and smooth, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until the chicken is tender, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. There should only be a little very thick gravy left when chicken is finished cooking. If necessary cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the gravy.
    5. Wash rice well and drain in colander for at least 30 minutes.
    6. In a large deep frying pan or saucepan, heat vegetable oil (or ghee) and fry the onions until they are golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice. Stir continuously until the rice is coated with the spices.
    7. In a medium-size pot, heat the chicken stock and salt. When the mixture is hot pour it over the rice and stir well. Add the chicken mixture and the potatoes; gently mix them into the rice. Bring to boil.
    8. Cover the saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while cooking. Spoon biryani onto a warm serving dish.

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    Reviews in English (128)


    this recipe is absolute rubbish , excuse me but it is not biryani its more like a mixture of tahiri and pullao  -  01 Aug 2004  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I haven't made thsi recipe, but I am an Indian and both my husband and I loovveee Biryani and cook often. If you want to know the secret to fast biryani cooking, go to any Indian/Pakistani grocery store and buy "Shan" spice mix for it, its so easy adn really good. I can't say the best, but its so much easier than doing everything that Biryani recipe makes you do.  -  24 Nov 2004  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    While this recipe is time consuming, it is well worth it! I made a couple changes, I added cashews and raisins when adding the chicken broth, and I used chicken wings and drumsticks with the bone-in instead of cutting up the whole chicken. This is easier, and I wanted to avoid dry pieces of chicken in other biryani dishes that I have had. The chicken came out extremely tender, it was falling off the bone. Absolutely delicious! The flavor is mild for the Indian palatte, so if you like it spicy add more spice, but overall this recipe is a definite keeper. This would be a great dish to make for a lot of people as the quantity is large. Also be sure to use basmati rice with this it is so aromatic and delicious.  -  10 Dec 2006  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)