Spicy Chicken Biriyani

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A classic biriyani cooked with spices, chicken and rice – slow cooked to perfection. The key to this recipe is to cook the rice to perfection and the marinade. I prefer to use freshly made stoss1pice powders and avoid garam masala which generally uses most of the spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreeks seeds in addition to whole spices. I stock up fresh spice powder specifically made for biriyani making, which uses only selected whole spices.


Dry roast the following ingredients and blend them to a fine powder.

Ingredients For the spice powder
3 tsp fennel seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 Cloves
7-8 cardamom pods
a pinch of nutmeg
3 bay leaves
3 to 4 Star anise
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (Soumf)


  • 3 large Chicken pieces
  • 1 ½ cup Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 3tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 2tsp red chilli powder
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 2tsp spice powder
  • 1cup chopped coriander and mint leaves
  • 1 cup fried onions
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1tsp shahi jeera
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil and Clarified butter/ghee as required


Step 1

Make few slits on chicken pieces for the marinade to be absorbed well.

Step 2

Prepare the fried onions: Slice 2 onions as thinly as possible and shallow/deep fry until crisp and golden.

Step 3

Marinate the chicken pieces for an hour or 30 minutes with yoghurt, ginger and garlic paste (preferably home made) ,turmeric powder , red chilli powder, spice powder, chopped coriander and mint leaves, juice of half a lemon and salt to taste.

Step 4

Soak the basmati rice in plain water 30 to 40 minutes before cooking.

Step 5

In a heavy bottomed vessel, pour vegetable oil and clarified butter (Ghee). Once hot, add the shahi jeera, sliced onions and sauté it for a minute. You can add the spice powder again (2tsp) to release some flavour. Now add the marinated chicken and chopped tomato and cook until tender. Close the lid and cook for half an hour keeping the heat to the minimum.

Step 6

Bring water to boil by adding whole spices to flavour the rice.Whole spices to boil the rice: 1 tsp fennel seeds ( Soumf), Star anise – 3, Cinnamon- half, Cardamom (4- crushed), Cloves (6), Maze leaves (just little), Nutmeg ( just a pinch) Do not forget to add salt. The rice will taste bland if not. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water. It may take only few minutes to cook the rice. Cook the rice partially – until done 70%.

Step 7

Drain the cooked rice completely and spread it on a big plate ( I prefer to use a perforated ladle to scoop out the cooked rice directly and add it to the meat) Now layer the rice on the cooked chicken. You can also add fried onions between each layers. Cook it on dum for 30 to 40 minutes.

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