Chicken Biryani


  • 3 lb. skinless chicken, cut up into serving size pieces
  • 2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt (2 uses)
  • 2 cups yoghurt
  • saffron, a few strands
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 6 each cloves and black peppers
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 medium bay leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander pwdr
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 4 green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 3 -4 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds


  1. Blend together ginger, garlic. chopped onion, turmeric, cayenne, and 1 1/2 tsp salt and mix with yoghurt and chicken pieces, coat the meet well. Set aside to marinate for 4 hours. Turn chicken pieces once or twice.
  2. place saffron in a small cup, heat milk and pour it over saffron.
  3. heat oil in a dutch oven and fry sliced onions until golden brown. Take out half of  the onions.
  4. when ready to cook, wash and soak rice for 15-20 minutes.
  5. In a large saucepan, boil 6 cups of water, add well drained rice, cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp salt, cloves and black peppers. Cook rice until parboiled and drain in colander, run cold water, and set aside.
  6. Add marinated chicken and the rest of marinade to the dutch oven with the onions, cook chicken on medium heat stirring frequently. After 6-8 minutes, add cardamoms, bay leaves, tomatoes, coriander powder, and garam masala. Stir and fry another minute. Turn heat off.
  7. take an oven proof dish, at least 5 qt. in size and butter it. Spread few pieces of chicken evenly in it, layer 1/4 of boiled rice all over the chicken and a small amount of the reserved brown onions. start all over again and place a layer of the chicken and the other ingredients. repeat the procedure.  
  8. Add gravy, left from the chicken, last. Add green peppers, mint leaves, and cumin seeds. Pour saffron milk on top. Tightly cover with foil.
  9. Cook for 30-40 minutesin the oven preheated at 450 degrees. Fluff with a fork before serving. Serve with cucumber raita.

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