Chicken Biriyani

Biriyani is my mother’s favorite dish and was always served on our birthdays and special occasions. At that time, I never understood what was all the fuss about. After all, it’s just another chicken curry sandwiched between rice. Only when I tried to make my own did I understand how blasphemous I must have sounded!

An amateur like me couldn’t use the recipes I had , as they lacked exact measurements. So I was always on the lookout for biriyani recipes that used only green chillies and Shab’s Cuisine was the answer.Her perfectly detailed recipe was my first blog experience . Although I am constantly ridiculed for counting the chillies and garlic , I have followed every word in that recipe and never felt the need to change it.

Last year, I came across a vlog by Shana’s Recipes Are Simple . The recipe sounded as authentic as it could get and since then we’ve been following her recipe at my home. Her recipes are available in vlog and blog formats so you can see for yourself what each stage looks like and refer the recipes at your convenience.The chicken biriyani recipe that I have written is influenced and inspired by both these bloggers.


Wash, soak and drain rice.

Try to use jeerakashala or wayanadan kaima rice instead of basmati.

Slice onions thinly.

Freshly crush ginger , garlic and green chillies

Prepare biriyani masala powder. If you have time constraints, you could use store bought ones or replace it with garam masala.

Chop tomatoes, coriander and mint leaves.

Keep the mint stalk aside for cooking the ghee rice and discard it when assembling the biriyani


For Chicken Masala

Chicken -1/2kg

Onions – 2 medium sized

Green Chillies- 6-8

Crushed ginger -2 tbsp

Crushed garlic – 2.5 tbsp

Turmeric -1/4 tsp

Tomato – 1

Mint leaves – 1/4 cup

Coriander -1/2 cup

Lime -1 tsp

Biriyani masala powder* – 1/2 tbsp

Yogurt or curd – 1 tbsp

Oil-as required

Salt – to taste

For Biriyani Masala Powder ( from Shana’s Recipes are Simple)

Cloves 3

Cardamom -3

Fennel Seeds / Saunf / Perunjeerakam -1/2 tsp

Cumin Seeds/ Jeera -1/4 tsp

Black peppercorns -1 tsp

Caraway Seeds/ Shahi jeera-1/4 tsp

Nutmeg / jayiphal -1/4 tsp

Mace/ jatipatiri -1/4 tsp

Cinnamon2 small sticks

Poppy Seeds/ kasa kasa -1 tsp

Mild Deseeded Dried Red Chillies -2

Star Anise / thakkolam -1 petal

For Ghee Rice

Jeerakashala / kaima or basmati Rice2 cups

Boiling Water – 4 cups

Clarified Butter / Ghee – 3-4 tbsp

Crushed ginger – 1 tbsp

Crushed garlic – 1 tbsp


Cloves – 6

Cinnamon- 2

Cumin – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Bay leaf -1 (optional)

Leftover mint stalk (tie with a twine to remove later)

For Garnish & Assembly

Onion (thinly sliced and golden fried) – 1

Mint leaves & coriander leaves (chopped) – 1/4 cup

Biriyani Masala powder (for sprinkling ) -1 tsp

Saffron soaked in warm milk – a pinch(optional)

Clarified butter / ghee – 1 tsp

Raisins and cashews (fried in ghee) – as required (optional)

Boiled egg- as required (optional)

Flour / Atta for kneading dough


For Chicken Masala

  • Heat the oil in a deep dish Or Kadai
  • Sauté the onions till they are translucent.
  • Sauté the crushed ginger, garlic and green chillies till the raw fragrance is gone.
  • At this stage, the spice levels of the biriyani is determined. It should be a little more spicy than your normal level as it will be balanced later when we add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the cleaned chicken and turmeric . Sauté till cooked all over.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and let it cook till all the tomatoes have incorporated with the masala.
  • Add chopped coriander and mint leaves and lime juice at this stage.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Once the chicken is well cooked and there is very little gravy, add the curd and the special biriyani masala powder. You could add more masala powder according to your preference.
  • Blend it well and cover the kadai with a lid. Let it rest for a 10 minutes.

For Biriyani Masala Powder

  • On a low heat, sauté all spices except poppy seeds, chillies and star anise.
  • When the spices start getting fragrant, add the rest and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Take it off the flame and powder it in a dry grinder.
  • Store the masala in an airtight container.
  • There is more than enough to use for future biriyanis and curries.

For Ghee Rice

  • Heat the ghee in a stock pot .
  • Add the spices and ginger-garlic. Sauté just till it softens , do not let it brown as that will change the colour of the Ghee Rice.
  • Add the boiling hot water.
  • Add the salt to taste . It should be a little more than your normal salt level
  • Now add the cleaned,soaked and drained rice.
  • Then add the mint stalks( optional)
  • When the rice starts coming to the top, lower the flame.
  • Cover and cook till done.
  • Remove and spread out the rice so that it doesn’t over cook.

For assembly and garnish

  • Preheat the oven @ 180 degrees.
  • Knead a dough with flour for making the dum.
  • Take a stockpot or the dish in which you are going to bake the biriyani. It’s better to be only 3/4th filled as it’ll give more room for the steam to blend the flavours.
  • Divide the rice into 3 portions
  • Add one layer of rice.
  • Divide the chicken into two portions.
  • Add one layer of chicken
  • Sprinkle a little biriyani masala powder , mint and coriander leaves and fried onions.
  • Repeat the same for the next rice layer and chicken layer.
  • Cover the second chicken masala layer with rice.
  • Sprinkle saffron milk and ghee over this layer.
  • Place the dough around the rim of the dish
  • Now seal it with aluminum foil or a steel lid.
  • Bake @180 degree for 30 minutes.
  • Garnish with fried onions, raisins, cashews, mint and coriander leaves and boiled egg.
  • Serve with raita ( vegetables in yoghurt ) , pickles and Pappad.

She knew he was the one.

When she realised that she loved him

A little more than Biriyani.. —Eurus

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