Pakistani Chicken Biryani Recipe

Quick Overview

Biryani can be made with either chicken or lamb and is traditionally served with a special yoghurt called raita

How to make Chicken Biryani – Pakistani Style : 

How to make Fried Onion : 

1. Heat oil in a pan  over high heat. Add finely thinly sliced onions; cook for 20 to 25 minutes, untill dark brown; stirring occasionally, sprinkle little sugar to caramelize, remove and drain on to the paper towel; set aside. (Note : Use half of fried onions while you marinate chicken and save other half for chicken masala.)

Marinating Chicken: 

1. In a big bowl, add all the ingredients listed above ” For Marinating Chicken”  and allow the chicken to marinate for 1/2 to 1 hours.

How to cook Chicken Masala : 

1. Grind ginger,garlic,green chillies to coarse paste and set it aside.

2. Heat ghee/clarified butter or cooking oil /canola oil in large cooking vessel /pot over high heat (Note : We going layer the rice in this same vessel/ pot, so make sure to use large capacity-cooking vessel/pot, say like 4-5 qt capacity.)

3. Add garam masala powder, red chile flakes, turmeric powder, whole black pepper corns , whole garam masala listed above ” For Chicken Masala”; saute until fragrant for a minute. (Note : Make sure not to burn the spices)

4. Add grounded gralic-ginger-green chilli coarse paste, chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring for couple of minutes.

5. Add the marinated chicken  and adjust the salt, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium; cook until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.

6. Now add remaining half of fried onions, 1/2 cup of yogurt, chopped mint, and chopped coriander /cilantro leaves (save little for garnish); cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. Set aside.

How to cook rice for Biryani :

1. Soak the rice for 30 mins and drain the water completely.

2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in big saucepan. Add cumin seeds and all whole garam masala listed above “For Rice”, and add salt to taste .

3. Cook the rice till ¾ done (Note : it takes 5-8 mins approx;  depending upon the rice variety your using, so cook accordingly.) and then drain in the colander and set it aside. Optional – remove the whole masala from the rice if you don’t prefer.

Final Cooking and Layering Biryani:

1. Transfer half the chicken masala to the same cooking vessel /pot in which you cooked rice. Top the chicken masala with half the rice.
2. Pour half the saffron mixture onto rice along with a few drops of rose water ; mix gently into rice with fork.
3. Top with remaining chicken masala and remaining rice; drizzle with remaining saffron and drops of rose water; mix gently with fork. Sprinkle few corainder and mint leaves as final layer over the rice.
4. Cover and steam on very low heat until rice is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the fire.
5. Let it rest unopened on cooking vessel/pot for another 10 mins. Open and garnish with remaining chopped mint and cilantro.

Serve hot with Raita, Pickle or Boiled egg and Pappadam on the side and Enjoy!

Notes :

  • Chicken may be substituted with mutton/lamb/goat or beef or pork as you wish.
  • Original recipe doesn’t call for any marination, but I personally prefer marinating the poultry /meat, cause makes it more juicy and flavorful.
  • I prefer to use fresh fried onions instead of store bought as it gives a great taste to dish.
  • Always sprinkle corainder and mint leaves as final layer over the rice, which makes the biryani taste more flavorful.