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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani

hyderabadi chicken biriyani spiced rice and chicken pulao

PBS recently aired a re-run of Planet Food featuring South India, hosted by Padma Lakshmi. One of the recipes was Hyderabadi biriyani made typically with lamb, cooked in "Dum" style - viz., slow-cooked in a sealed vessel using steam. The veteran chef who shared his recipe mentioned that cooking over coal fire in a copper pot gives the best results.

Since I don't have a copper pot or easy way to have a coal fire going, I simply cooked on stovetop, sealing tight with the lid that came with the non-stick pan.

It is fairly simple: marinate the chicken in this exotic yogurt-based marinade, pour rice over it, add some saffron dissolved in milk, some salt to taste, seal and cook till chicken and rice are just done. I tend to overcook chicken sometimes, but, this time I tried to watch closely. Important thing was not to stir at all till it is fully done over slow heat.

I spent quite a bit of time in Hyderabad, India, but never had the chance to try this local specialty. However, one of my mom's friends used to make this incredibly superb Hyderabadi biriyani (vegetarian) and baingan bartha (eggplant dish) which my taste buds remember fondly to this day... Mine here didn't turn out quite as I remember, but was still delicious nonetheless :)

6-8 cardamom pods
2" Indian/Chinese Cinnamon Sticks (Dalchini)
2-3 cloves
1-2 star anise
2-3 Indian bay leaves

2-4 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
2-4 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 cup plain yogurt

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 cups basmati rice, soaked and drained
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
a few strands of saffron, soaked in ½ cup warm milk
1 cup French Fried Onions
salt to taste
1 Tbsp Ghee or Cooking Oil

chopped cilantro for garnish
optional: carrots, peas, edamame, bell pepper, mint leaves; plus, raisins and cashews sautéed in ghee for garnish

  1. marinate the chicken in the marinade for at least 30 minutes
  2. heat oil in a pan/pot, add the marinated chicken, basmati rice, spices, stock/water, saffron in milk, french fried onions, cover tightly and cook over medium-low heat till rice and chicken are mostly done; turn off heat, cover the pan/pot with a tea towel and put the lid back on tight and allow to steam for another 10 minutes till cooked through
  3. garnish with cilantro, and raisin+cashew, serve hot

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  • At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    do you orders, if so two for us please. Myself and my hubby loves briyani. I make briyani very often on sundays (dum briyani).

    There is something called briyani leaves which is sold in TN, which gives you that authentic mughal briyani smells. I haved stocked plenty of it, will give when you visit us. Also I use Jeeraga samba rice for briyani. C likes it better than basmati rice.


  • At 7:19 AM, Blogger Nags said…

    that looks amazing! reminds me of my hyderabad days :)

  • At 1:41 AM, Blogger Kitchen Flavours said…

    Wow looks yummy.

  • At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He also put chopped mint and cilantro leaves in the chicken mixture.


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