Biryani is said to be the ultimate party and special occasions meal in India. Biryani is made in large quantities and mostly prepared by men. Home cooked version of biryani, in my personal opinion tastes better and healthier too.

This is a home made recipe for the famous Hyderabadi Biryani. The influence of Mughlai influence is evident in Hyderabadi  cuisine.

This one is a Sunday lunch dish and keeps you full the whole day. And a crowd pleaser too 🙂

It’s best to prepare it early in the morning itself, since it needs to rest for a while before serving. This is prepared in 4 stages :

  1. Cooking of rice
  2. Frying onions, cashews and raisins
  3. Cooking of chicken
  4. Layering of rice and chicken

Prep time : 20 mts

Cooking time : 15+10+20+15

Serves : 10

Stage 1

Ingredients for making rice:

  • Basmati rice – 3 cups
  • Onion – 1 (diced)
  • Oil – 2 table spoons
  • Cinnamon stick – 4 cm
  • Cloves – 5
  • Cardamom – 5
  • Water – 3 1/2 cups
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt – 1 1/2 tsp

Method of making rice:

  1. Wash and clean the rice with plain water at least 3 times to remove excess starch in it.
  2. Once it’s clean soak the rice for 10 mts, and not any longer. If you soak it longer the rice will break while cooking.
  3. By the time the rice is soaking cut the onions and keep a deep vessel to heat.
  4. Add oil and the whole spices cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
  5. Be careful to move away from the fire while adding the whole spices since it may explode on you.
  6. Add in the onions and allow it to soften.
  7. Now drain the rice and add to the vessel and lower the heat.
  8. Fry the rice till it separates. Take your time doing this. It may take around 10 mts.
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  10.  When the rice is separated add in the water and mix slowly.
  11. Add the salt and lime juice and mix well.
  12. Allow the water to start boiling.
  13. When it starts to boil close it with a tight lid and cook in medium heat for 7 to 8 mts.
  14. If you’re in doubt check the rice after 5 mts and slowly give it a mix.
  15. Switch off the gas and take it off the heat. Sprinkle some water on the rice and keep it aside for layering later.
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Stage 2

Ingredients :

  • Onion – 3(medium, diced)
  • Raisins – 1/4 cup
  • Cashew nuts – 1/4 cup
  • Oil – for shallow frying

Method :

  1. When the oil is heated fry all the ingredients separately and drain in paper towel.
  2. While frying onions keep in mind that once the onions starts to brown it’ll take only matter of seconds before burning. 🙂

Stage 3

Ingredients for cooking chicken:

  • Skinless chicken pieces – 1 kg (medium cut)
  • Onion – 2 (medium, diced)
  • Fried onions – 2 (dice and shallow fry in oil till golden brown)
  • Garlic – 6 (minced)
  • Ginger – 1″ (minced)
  • Curry leaves – 3 stalks
  • Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup
  • Mint leaves – 1/2 cup
  • Tomato puree of 3 tomatoes ( cut in to chunks and blend it in mixer)
  • Green chilli – 3 (slit in the middle)
  • Water – 1 1/2 cups
  • Yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Oil – 3 table spoons
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp

Spice mix:

  • Chilli powder/paprika – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
  • Garam masala / Chinese all spice powder – 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Meat masala powder  – 1/2 tsp

Method for cooking chicken:

  1. Keep a deep sauce pan on fire which is enough to layer both the chicken and rice.
  2. Add oil and when the oil gets hot add ginger and garlic mince and saute for a few minutes.
  3. When the mince starts to release aroma add in the chopped onion and saute till the onions are soft.
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  5. Add in the tomato puree and saute till oil starts to release.
  6. Add in the spice mix and roast in low fire for few seconds.
  7. Now you can add 3/4 of the fried onions and mix it together.
  8. Pour in the yogurt slowly and mix in low fire. If you keep the fire in high it’ll will split.
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  10. Add in the curry , coriander, mint leaves and water and mix everything well.
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  12. When it starts to boil place the chicken pieces slowly and cook till the chicken is almost done.
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  14. Lower the fire and now its time for the next stage ie; to layer the chicken and rice.
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Stage 4: 

Layering of chicken and rice:

  1. In the same pan in which chicken is cooking you can layer the rice. If your pan is small and won’t fit everything then take a bigger pan and add 1/2 table spoon of oil and heat and layer the chicken first. If you want you can make many layers. Here I’m doing only one layer since I ‘m making in a wide mouthed non-stick pan.
  2. Remove the whole spices from the rice before layering on top of the chicken.
  3. Remember to keep the fire very low.
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  5. After layering/spreading the rice sprinkle few handfuls of water on to the rice.
  6. Now spread the remaining fried onions, cashews and raisins and close it with a light lid and keep some weight on top of it.
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  8. Cook it for 10 – 12 mts and not longer than that. Switch off the gas.
  9. Do not try to open the pan till its almost cooled down. It may take more than an hour.
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  11. Enjoy it with raitha, papad and lime pickle.
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