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Chicken Biryani Simplified

For those of you, who are intimidated by the idea of making biryani, here’s a really easy step by step recipe for you. This one is made with chicken but you could substitute with lamb or veggies and paneer.

Its important to steam the biryani on a very low flame in the last step or the chicken will burn.

Indian cooking made easy:

What you need:

Brown Onions:

2 large onions, sliced evenly

2 tbsp oil

Chicken Marinade:

700 grams chicken thighs and drumsticks, bone-in and skinless

3/4th cup yogurt

1/4th cup tomato puree

1/4th cup oil

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tsp paprika powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

2 tbsp brown onions

1 1/4 tsp salt


2 tbsp milk

10–15 Saffron strands

Parboiled Rice (70% cooked):

2 cups rice

6 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 bay leaf

5–6 cloves

2–3 cardamom pods

Other Biryani Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh Mint Leaves

1/2 cup fresh Coriander Leaves

1 1/2 tbsp Ghee/Butter

Putting it all together:

1. To make the brown onions, pat the onions dry and leave them out on a kitchen towel for 15-20 minutes to dry them out slightly. Heat oil in a pan and add the onions. On a medium flame, shallow fry the onions till they are a deep golden brown, without burning them. Drain them out on a paper towel, and set aside. These can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container overnight.

2. Mix together all the ingredients under chicken marinade and marinate for at least two hours or overnight for best results.

3. When you are ready to make the biryani, soak saffron strands in hot milk and rub them slightly with the back of a spoon. Set this aside.

4. Bring water to a boil and add salt, whole spices and basmati rice. Cook for 7 minutes and drain completely, leaving the whole spices in the rice. This will cook the rice to about 70% doneness which can be checked by pressing a grain of rice between two fingers – the rice should still be raw in the middle.

5. Heat a heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven, and add the chicken to it. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then turn the chicken pieces once. Cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

6. Sprinkle half the onions all over the chicken, and then the coriander and mint leaves. Next layer the rice all over the mint and coriander, and in the end drizzle saffron milk and ghee all over the rice. Sprinkle over the remaining onions.

7. Cover and cook on a low flame for 10 minutes – this will steam the rice. Take off the heat and leave covered for another 10 mins.

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