Chicken Biryani (Chicken with Rice)

Biryani is one of the popular dishes introduced to India by the Persians. This rice dish can be made with any meat and/or vegetable. I grew up in Lucknow where this signature dish is prepared by cooking rice and meat separately and combining them toward the end of the cooking. I like to save time by doing most of the cooking in the oven. It turns out perfect every time!

for marinating chicken:
2 lbs. bone-in, skinless chicken pieces (see notes)
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup fried onions (see notes)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch cube ginger, minced
1 1/2-2 tsps. Garam Masala
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp. mace, crumbled
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter

for rice:
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
2 cups hot water
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. black cumin seeds (use regular cumin seeds if black cumin is not available)
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
3 green cardamoms
2 inch stick cinnamon, broken in half
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vegetable oil or butter

for garnish:
1/2 cup fried onions (see notes)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 tsp. saffron, dissolved in 1 tbsp. water
6-8 drops yellow food color
I use 2 pounds of bone-in drumsticks or thighs or 1 1/2 lbs. of boneless thighs.
You can buy fried onions or fry 2-2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions in 1 cup of vegetable oil until browned, drain on paper towels. You can watch the video about learning how to fry onions.

  • Combine chicken and all the marinade ingredients and refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Bake chicken in an oven-proof pan or skillet large enough to hold chicken and rice for 20 minutes. 
  • Turn chicken pieces over and bake for 20 more minutes. (Total baking time 40 minutes).
  • If using boneless meat, reduce total baking time to 25 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, rinse and soak rice in 3-4 cups of water for 30 minutes or more. Drain rice.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat oil/butter.
  • Add whole spices salt and rice, stirring to coat rice with oil. 
  • Add two cups of hot water and bring rice to a rolling boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about five minutes. 
  • Take chicken out of the oven and layer the half-cooked rice on top of the chicken. 
  • Sprinkle with fried onions, mint, saffron and dot with 6-7 drops of yellow food color. 
  • Cover the pan, lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake Biryani for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with Raita and Chutney.
Copyright © Rashmi Rustagi 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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