Classic Chicken Biryani Recipe

I made Pakistani 🇵🇰 style Biryani for Eid. Biryani is a world-famous dish that people LOVE 💕. There are many different variations of biryani as it has become its own niche in South Asian cuisine. The best of biryanis are found in Hyderabad, India and Karachi, Pakistan. Biryani can be made from mutton, beef, chicken, seafood and more. It is made by layering meat, rice and different spices. It is best accompanied with raita (yogurt dip) and sliced onions.

*Serve 10 people


Ingredients for Chicken Curry

  • 2 whole chicken (without skin), cut into medium size pieces, (3.26 kilogram)
  • 3 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 ½ coriander powder
  • ¼ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp 5 spices powder (garam masala) – Whole 5 spices includes: (1 inch cinnamon stick, 4 green cardamoms, 2 black cardamoms, 5 whole cloves, 5 whole black peppers)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup tamarind pulp juice, or dried apricot (Khubani in urdu), or dried plum (Aloo Bukhara in urdu)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼ tbsp yellow food colour, mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • ¼ tbsp nutmeg powder (Jaifal)
  • ¼ tbsp mace powder (Javitri)
  • 2 cups chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 3 green chillies, cut in half an inch pieces

Marinate the Chicken

  1. Wash and dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  1. In large bowl add chicken pieces, ginger and garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well and marinate for 2 hours in room temperature or refrigerator.

Preparation for Chicken Curry

  1. In large heavy bottomed pan, turn heat to high and add vegetable oil or ghee.
  2. When oil is hot, add the sliced onions, bay leaves, whole five spices and cumin seeds. Fry for 5 minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and fry until golden brown.
  1. Add the marinated chicken pieces, fry for 10 minutes.
  1. Add chopped tomatoes, nutmeg and mace powder.
  2. Cover with lid and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  3. After meat is tender, put the heat on high and fry for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, add yogurt and stir for 5 minutes. The gravy should have a thick consistency.
  5. Add tamarind juice and garam masala powder.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes or until oil come to surface, in low heat.
  7. Turn off the heat and add saffron, chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves and green chillies.
  8. Keep inside.

Ingredients for Rice

  • 6 cups basmati sella rice (or other good long grain basmati biryani rice) soaked in water for 40 minutes
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamoms

Preparation for Rice

  1. Wash and rinse rice a few times with water and soak in water for 40 minutes for best results. (soaking the rice in water makes the rice fluffy and long)
  2. Drain in a colander after 40 minutes.
  3. In large heavy bottomed pan, add water, salt, cinnamon and cardamoms.
  4. Put the heat on high and boil the water.
  5. When the water is boiling, add rice.
  1. Cook the rice until water is dried. The rice is not completely cooked, it is only 70% cooked. Keep a side.

Preparation for Biryani (Chicken Curry + Rice)

  1. In another large heavy bottomed pan, take half of the chicken curry and spread in the bottom of the pan to make one layer.
  2. Now take half of the boiled rice and put it on top of the chicken curry, making a second layer.
  3. Drizzle the food colouring you made (listed in ingredients for chicken curry) over the rice.
  4. Repeat steps 7-9 again. In which you add chicken curry, then top with rice and drizzle with your food colouring.
  1. Cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes in medium heat.
  2. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.
  3. Turn off the stove, rest with 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, serve hot with slices of onion and raita (recipe below).

Recipe for 2 Kinds of Raita

  1. In bowl, add one cup yogurt, ¼ cup water, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper powder and ¼ tsp cumin seeds. Mix well.
  1. In bowl, add one cup yogurt, ¼ cup water, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ black pepper powder, ¼ tsp cumin seeds, 2 tbsp chopped onion, 1 tbsp chopped tomatoes, ½ tbsp chopped coriander leaves, ¼ tbsp chopped mint leaves and ¼ tbsp chopped green chilli. Mix well.


  • They have two ways to boil the rice for biryani:
  1. The method I used.
  2. Add lots of water (you do not need measure) and boil the water. When water is boiled, add rice and cook for 5 minutes. Next, drain the water and keep aside.
  • You can add diced potatoes in the biryani too. You can cook your chicken curry in pressure cooker and rice in rice cooker to save time.

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