Chicken and Rice Biryani

    1 hour 15 minutes

    My husband's mother taught me this recipe, an authentic Hyderabadi-style biryani that is a trademark of home-cooking in south India. The chicken, spices and rice all cook in the same frying pan.

    61 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 3 cups uncooked basmati or long grain rice
    • 125g ghee or butter
    • 20 whole cloves
    • 9 whole cardamom pods
    • 5 bay leaves
    • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
    • 5 small green chillies
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
    • 1,2cm knob fresh ginger, grated
    • 375ml (1,1/2 cups) natural yoghurt
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 6 curry leaves (optional)
    • 1, 1.5kg whole chicken, cut into pieces
    • 1 litre water
    • 1 sprig coriander leaves with stems

    Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:55min  ›  Ready in:1hour15min 

    1. Soak rice for 30 minutes in enough water to cover, then drain.
    2. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. Then add onion and fry until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes.
    3. Stir in chilli, garlic and ginger and then stir in yoghurt, salt, and curry leaves if used.
    4. Add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the chicken pieces, until only about 1 cup of liquid remains.
    5. Mix in rice, water, and coriander. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Check rice after about 12 minutes; if it is dry, add 1/2 cup water, and continue cooking.

    Watch a video of it being made…

    Chicken and Rice Biryani
    Chicken and Rice Biryani

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    Reviews in English (39)


    Very nice recipe. I skinned the chicken, replaced the butter with olive oil and used half amount (~60g). Used full cream yoghurt at room temperature to avoid curdling. Added a few extra indian spices such as cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder, etc. Added a few veggies such as carrots, snow peas, etc.  -  30 Aug 2012


    Actually, this recipe is incomplete. I hail from Hyderabad. I don't see any instruction to layer the meat and the rice. Although we suggest 1:3 water for rice, this is not standard. You must vary the water according to your rice. And yes, please use a good basmati rice for best results. Using about 2/3rd of the water required to make the rice, cook rice separately till half cooked. Now place a layer of chicken 'curry' then a layer of rice then chicken again and top off with rice. Each layer of rice should be sprinkled with a saffron solution: soak about a teaspoonful of saffron in a cup of milk before you start cooking the chicken. This will be well soaked by now. Sprinkle half of it over each layer of rice. Cover pot tightly. If you do not have a tight fitting lid, make a stiff dough with wheat or all purpose flour and seal the pot. Now place it on a low-medium flame and finish the cooking: about 15 minutes. Try this. A lot of trouble but worth the effort. Hopefully I justified my two star rating.  -  31 Jul 2009  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    This recipe was excellent! Very different from the mughalai version of biryani. I made a few modifications though because I did not have all the ingredients. I used biryani masala (available at all indian grocery stores) instead of cloves. I also doubled the quantity of chili peppers bcoz I used the tiny red Thai chilis and we like it hot in our house I used boneless skinless chicken breasts and added 2 potatoes too (I love potatoes in biryani). The recipe is definitely a keeper.Thank you for submitting it.  -  05 Sep 2005  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)