Hyderabadi biryani recipe – Making a good Hyderabadi biryani is very simple and this recipe is perfect for a home preparation. This is the easiest biryani since it needs no sautéing of spices or meat. Just marinate the meat with the spices & other ingredients. Layer partially cooked basmati rice over it. Cook on a slow dum process, trapping the steam to retain the aroma.
To get an authentic flavor and taste of Biryani, do use all the mentioned ingredients and if desired you can substitute ghee for oil.
This is one of the best hyderabadi biryani recipe I have made for years and has been a favorite among the readers of this blog. It is very easy and even a beginner can try without any troubles.
This is a kacchi hyderabadi biryani, meaning partially cooked rice is layered over the marinated raw meat.
To make the best out of this recipe, chicken needs a proper marination which mainly helps to tenderize it, resulting in juicy, flavorful, soft and tender chicken.
It can be marinated the previous night and refrigerated to make the best flavorful biryani.
How to Make Hyderabadi Biryani (Stepwise Photos)
1. To a mixing bowl, add 2/3 cup (165 ml) yogurt, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 to 1½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 to 1½ teaspoon biryani masala, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 2 slit green chilies, 1¼ tablespoons ginger garlic paste and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder. Do not use sour curd here.
2. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. If your curd is even slightly sour, then just skip lemon juice.
3. Mix all of them and taste the marinade. Add more salt if needed. I had to add another half tsp.
4. Add the chicken and marinate. Cover the bowl and allow it to sit overnight in the fridge or for at least 2 hours.
5. Keeping overnight makes the chicken very soft & succulent once the biriyani is cooked. If you are marinating it just for 2 hours, I suggest keeping the pieces to small to medium and not very large.
6. Skip this step if using store bought fried onions. This can be done the previous night or just before you begin to make the biryani. Slice 1 large onion uniformly and thin. Separate the layers. Heat ¼ cup ghee in the same pot you intend to make the biryani.
When the ghee turns hot, add the onions and spread them well. Fry them uniformly until golden, crisp and aromatic. Keep stirring uniformly to fry them evenly without burning. When they brown, remove them and set aside. Do not over fry as they turn bitter quickly.
7. Soak a large pinch of saffron in 3 tablespoons hot milk. Do this just before you soak the rice.
8. Wash rice at least thrice. Do note that biryani turns out good only with aged premium quality basmati rice.
Cook Rice for Hyderabadi Biryani
9. Pour fresh water and soak for 30 to 40 mins. Refer to the rice pack for soaking time.
10. Drain after 30 to 40 mins. Set this aside.
11. Add all the whole spices and 1½ teaspoon salt to a large pot of boiling water. Also pour 1 tsp oil. Stir and check the salt, the water has to taste salty. If not add more salt to your liking.
You can add the whole spices to a muslin cloth and make a knot if you don’t like to get a bite of the spices. Allow the water to simmer for 5 mins. Then bring it to a rapid boil.
12. Add soaked drained basmati rice.
13. Cook on a medium high flame till rice is ¾ th cooked.
14. The rice must be grainy and you must get a bite into it, meaning it has to be slightly under cooked. If you are a beginner, please take a look at this detailed post on how to cook basmati rice for biryani.
15. Drain the rice to a colander.
Make Hyderabadi Biryani
16. While the water for rice boils, add the chicken marinade to the heavy bottom pot you used to fry the onions. I used my 6½ ltrs heavy bottom pressure cooker pan. Sprinkle half of the fried onions, 2 tablespoons coriander leaves and two tablespoons mint leaves. Add the ghee or oil (4 tbsps we used for frying onions).
17. Mix all of them and level the chicken to spread to a single uniform layer.
18. Layer half of the cooked rice over the chicken. The rice must be moist and not with dripping water. It should not be dry either. Add a few more fried onions retaining some more for later. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon mint and 1 tablespoon coriander leaves retaining a few more for later. Sprinkle little more biryani masala (about 2 to 4 pinches).
19. Layer the rest of the rice again.
20. Sprinkle the rest of the fried onions, mint and coriander leaves and biryani masala. Pour the saffron milk.
21. To finish off, pour 2 tablespoons ghee. Please don’t use oil here, you won’t get the real flavor.
22. Method 1 – You can use either moist cloth or foil to seal the rim of the biryani pot. The cloth has to be thick and moist. Spread it over the rim. Place a heavy lid and bring the edges of the cloth to the center. (refer video for details)
23. Method 2 – Use a foil to seal the rim completely. Or make dough and stick to the rim of the pot. Place a heavy lid.
24. Place a old tawa or griddle on the stove. The flame has to be medium high. Do not use a non stick pan or a dosa tawa. I used my lodge cast iron pan which doesn’t work for making dosa. The flame has to reach across the diameter of the pan.
25. Place the biryani pot on the tawa. Cook on a medium high flame for 15 to 20 mins. Then Lower the flame to very low and cook for another 15 minutes. Switch off the stove and let it rest for atleast 20 mins.
26. When done, there should be no excess moisture left in the hyderabadi biryani. If you see too much moisture, then cover back and cook until it is done. Fluff up the rice gently.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 ½ cups basmati rice (aged)
- ½ kg chicken (preferably thighs & drumsticks)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon biryani masala (garam masala for layering)
- 1 large onions or ⅓ cup fried onions store bought
- 4 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro ,finely chopped, 2 tbsps + 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp divided)
- 4 tablespoons mint leaves (pudina, finely chopped, 2 tbsps + 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp divided)
- 4 tablespoons oil (or ghee)
- 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- ¼ teaspoon saffron strands (kesar, soaked in 3 tbsps hot milk)
- 1¼ tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit
- ⅔ cup yogurt (fresh curd) (or 165 ml or ½ cup + 3 tbsp)
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon red chili powder (paprika, adjust to taste)
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon biryani masala powder (or garam masala)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder (or elaichi powder)
- ¾ teaspoon salt (I used 1 ¼ tsp pink salt)
Whole spices for rice
- 7 cups water
- 1 to 1¼ teaspoon salt (I used 1 ½ tsp pink salt)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 3 inch cinnamon piece (dalchini)
- 6 cloves (laung)
- 4 green cardamom (elaichi)
- 1 star anise ( biryani flower)
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
- 2 strands mace (javitri) (optional)
- ½ tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera) (optional)
Make fried onions for Hyderabadi biryani
- Slice onion thinly, separate the layers and set aside.
- Heat 4 tbsps oil or ghee in a deep pan.
- Fry the onions stirring often until deep golden to brown.
- Do not burn else they turn bitter. Remove them from oil & set aside.
- Cool & pour this oil to the marinade later.
- Add yogurt, salt, turmeric, chili powder, biryani or garam masala powder, cardamom powder, green chilli, ginger garlic paste & lemon juice to a mixing bowl.
- Mix well & taste this. If needed add more salt or spice.
- Next add in chicken & marinate for 2 hours to overnight for best results.
- Overnight marination in fridge yields best soft succulent chicken.
- Wash rice till the water runs clear. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain & set aside.
- Heat 6 to 7 cups water in a pot. Add 1 tsp oil, whole spices & salt.
- Taste this. The water has to be slightly salty.
- Boil water rapidly for 5 mins to release the aroma of spices.
- Add rice & cook till it is ¾ or 75% done.
- The center of the rice must be still slightly uncooked.
- Do not make the rice mushy. Drain off to a colander.
How to make Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
- While the rice cooks, transfer marinated chicken to a heavy bottom casserole or non-stick pan.
- Add oil, ½ of the fried onions, mint & coriander leaves. Mix & spread chicken in a single even layer.
- Layer the cooked rice evenly, sprinkle fried onions, mint & coriander leaves over the chicken.
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp masala powder. Pour the saffron milk all over & then ghee.
- Cover the pot with a foil to trap the steam or dum. Then cover with a tight & heavy lid.
To bake Biryani in Oven
- Bake for 30 to 40 mins at 200 C in a preheated oven. The timings will slightly vary depending on the depth of the casserole/pot used. Once done, if the chicken is too moist then bake for another 10 mins.
To dum cook on stovetop
- Place this over a thick hot griddle or tawa. Set the flame to medium high such that the flame reaches all over the diameter of the casserole. Cook this way for exactly 20 mins.
- Reduce the flame to lowest. Cook for exactly 15 mins. Off the flame. Rest for 20 to 30 mins.
- Garnish hyderabadi biryani with fresh chopped coriander leaves & serve with raita.
- If you do not like to bite in the spices, then tie up all the whole spices for rice in a muslin cloth. Add this to the rice pot.
- Do not use sour curd or flavored yogurt.
- To Brown the chicken – The last 5 mins cook the biryani on a medium high flame. This gives browned chicken. To prevent charring you can check the chicken at the bottom before you do this.
- If you do not like to use a cloth for trapping the steam or dum, you can use dough to seal the lid of the utensil. But cleaning up the mess is difficult. An aluminium foil too works.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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