Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

Hyderabadi chicken biryani is one of the most popular Indian rice recipes around the globe.

Biryani is a rice-based dish that derives its flavor from a combination of aged basmati rice and a special blend of spices and herbs. It can be made with chicken, mutton, fish, eggs, or vegetables.The name is derived from the Persian word beryān which means “fried” or “roasted”. Hyderabadi biryani takes its name from the city of Hyderabad and it is the most popular form of biryani there (mind you there are over 40 types of biryani in India , so being the most popular type is no laughing matter )

There are two main schools when it comes to cooking biryani:

Dum ki uses meat that has been marinated for a long time, it is then placed in a pot and topped with rice then it is cooked over low heat for a long time till the meat is cooked through and the steam infuses the rice with the flavor.

Pakki Biryani marinates the meat for a short time, it is then cooked with toasted spiced until it is completely done. The meat is then is placed in a pot with the rice , cooked for a short time to infuse the rice with flavor

Biryani  is an integral part of the Indian cuisine and culture.It is served in marriages, feasts,and almost all the important occasions. When you try it, you will understand why. It is a true feast for the senses. The smell, color and flavor are enchanting, you just have to try it to know what I am talking about.

One final note before getting to the recipe: Please don’t feel intimidated by the long ingredient list, this recipe is honestly super easy to make and the fact that you marinate the chicken the night before means that there is very little active working time on the day of cooking.

How to prepare Chicken Biryani Restaurant Style:


  • 2 1/2 cups Basmati rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 chicken cut into 4 or 8 pieces (1000-1200g)

For the chicken marinade

  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 black cardamom  pods
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 4 Cloves pods
  • 1 teaspoon Shahi jeera  (you can use 1/2 teaspoon cumin if you can’t find it)
  • 6 black pepper berries
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon star anise
  • 1 bunch Coriander, chopped  (about 3/4 of a cup after chopping )
  • 1 bunch mint chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2-3 green chillies cut into 1 cm pieces (optional)

For cooking the Biryani

  • 1/2 cup rosewater
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 cup fried onions
  • 2-3 tablespoons ghee


  • Reserve half of the chopped mint and coriander In a food processor, place all of the marinade ingredients and process until the spices are finely ground.
  • Place the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade and toss to combine
  • Refrigerate the chicken mixture overnight.
  • Wash the basmati rice and soak it in warm water for 1 hour, drain, discard the water

Cook the rice:

  • In a pot bring 10 cups of water to a boil, add 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of salt
  • Cook the rice till 70% done.
  • Drain the rice, discard the water.
  • Place the chicken with the marinade in a single layer covering the bottom of the pot.
  • Traditionally biryani is cooked in a heavy bottomed pan called biryani handi but any pot that has a tight lid and allows you to place all your chicken pieces in one layer on the bottom of the pot will work.
  • Place one half of the drained rice on top of the chicken
  • Scatter the reserved mint and coriander
  • Add the fried onions
  • Top with the remaining rice
  • Add the ghee a teaspoon at a time in different locations on top of the rice
  • Add a tablespoon at a time of the rosewater and saffron mix at various places on top of the rice.
    This will result in parts of the rice being vibrant yellow and others pure white
  • Cover the handi or your pot  with a lid and make sure that it fits tight
  • First cook the biryani  on high flame for first 45 minutes then reduce the flame to low. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes and switch off the flame.Allow the biryani to rest in the pot for 40 minutes before opening.


Serve garnished with mint, coriander and boiled eggs if you like.

Serve with Raita or homemade yogurt


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