Spicy Chicken Biryani

Its raining like anything in lahore. and the downpour isn’t ending any time soon, looks like the whole monsoon season decided to get crazy on one day! amazing weather obviously calls for food which fits the hot, spicy, fiery category, so here i am, cooking up for you -the very essence of pakistani cuisine – biryani!

Every household has a specific favorite recipe for Biryani – the dish is made up of three core ingredients : meat (usually chicken), potatoes and rice. The rice are layered in the final steam with a spiced chicken gravy which seeps to the bottom of the pan and flavors every spoonful of rice ensuring that you get the taste of all the spices in every mouthful. Best served piping hot with a side of cool mint raita, this is sure to get your taste buds kicking!


  • 3 glass rice
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 3 inch pieces approx
  • 3 large potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup oil
  • Garam masala*
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp tamarind/Imli dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow food coloring, dissolved in a tbsp of water
  • 2 lemons, sliced in thin rounds
  • 2 green chillies chopped finely
  • 1 small handful mint, chopped.
  • water, as required

For the Garam Masala:

Pulverize the following ingredients in a spice grinder to make your spice blend:

  • 1 piece jaifel (nutmeg)
  • 1 piece javitri (mace)
  • 1 tsp zeera (cumin)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3-4 pieces long (clove)
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 dry taiz patta (bay leaf)

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Start by preparing the chicken gravy in a large heavy based pot. Cook the sliced onions in 1 cup of oil and add ginger and garlic. The onions should turn pink and gold and transparent. If this begins to burn the bottom of the pan, give a slight sprinkle of water to the pot.

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Add the tomatoes and the chicken and cook till tomatoes soften and start resembling a thick paste. Add the chicken and seal it completely in the heat from the pan. Cover the pan for some time so that the tomatoes can become more lazy and eventually start to hug the chicken.

This is your cue to add the spices – the garam masala, salt, red chilli powder and the imli water with the imli pods.

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When the chicken has cooked and left oil on the sides of the pan, add your potatoes and fry this on high heat till the potatoes have cooked halfway.


Now add 1/3 cup of water to this and let it cook completely and evenly for around 7 minutes before removing from heat.

For the rice:

Soak the cleaned and washed rice for 20 minutes

Boil almost 2 litres of water in a wide pan and add 1 tsp of coriander seeds.

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Boil the rice for 10 minutes before draining the water. Now its the time you’ve been waiting for!

Layering the rice into delicious levels of chicken and potato!

In the same pan, start of with a smattering of rice for the base. Add the gravy and sprinkle half the lemon slices, half the mint and half the chillies. Now add another layer of rice – by this time my mouth usually starts to water because the spices start to tease me. Sigh, well on with it! Repeat till you finally have the pan covered with rice. Dot the rice with yellow food coloring.


Cover the pot with a damp cloth and steam for 10 minutes. Finally mix in the layers and serve as soon as possible!

Just look at that hot steaming plate of golden spiced rice and the chicken cooked to perfection!

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