This restaurant style chicken biryani may give the restaurants’ biryani a run for its money. Once you make and taste this at home, you will forget the takeaways and that’s my guarantee!
If you are one of the biryani lovers like us but gets intimidated of making restaurant style chicken biryani at home, I will make you a pro today, take it from me! Just follow this recipe of restaurant style chicken biryani to the tee and be assured that you will be the master chef of your home! Chicken biryani, I believe is the most loved and most ordered dish in any restaurant all over India. Being the flagship dish of Indian cuisine, I also believe that we should know how to make this quintessential chicken biryani at home. Making chicken biryani is not difficult, trust me on this. Yes, it may be a little lengthy but once you get a hang of it, you will love to make it and never go for the home delivery option, just like us!
With practice you will be able to make it quick too as you can multitask with the independent steps of making biryani; I call it my quick chicken biryani as end to end it takes just an hour plus/minus 15 minutes. How you ask? I will explain it to you. If you scroll down the recipe now, it will seem too long to you; so just hold on a moment and refrain yourself from scrolling down immediately. The reason of longer texts in my chicken biryani recipe below is nothing but my humble effort to explain the steps in as simple detail as possible so that you don’t have any doubt at any stage.
There are 3 primary steps of making biryani – making fried brown onion, preparing chicken and rice for the biryani and the final assembly. Once I break down each step, you will see for yourself that none of them is even close to difficult. Let’s start –
Making fried brown onion:
This is a very interesting thing – this brown onion. If you master yourself in making perfectly crispy brown onion, it will help you not only for biryani but for many other recipes too as these crunchy brown babies add lot to any dish, not only just biryanis. Make sure you use a deep-frying pan and fry the sliced onion in batches. Adding too much onion to the oil at one go will release too much moisture into the oil and your sliced onions will simply clump together resulting in a soggy ball of mess! You definitely do not want that!
Making rice and chicken for biryani:
Boil the basmati rice in a large vessel using large amount of water as that will leave the rice grains with lot of space to fluff. With enough space to run around in water they would not get pressed together and turn mushy.
Marinate the chicken according to the recipe instructions below and you can keep it marinated overnight. That way, you will save a lot of time on the day you are actually making the biryani. You will notice that I have not used any special biryani masala in my recipe as honestly you don’t need to. You just need a good garam masala, preferably home made and you are completely sorted. Check out my quick video on how to make garam masala.
Final assembly of biryani:
Now this step is a complete child’s play, if I may say so! Only thing you need to master at this step is to keep patience. No matter how tempted you feel to take a peek at the biryani pot, you can’t! That’s strictly prohibited. Just layer the biryani with chicken, rice and all other aromatics according to the instructions below, put the pot on a tawa and the tawa on high heat for first 5 minutes and on lowest heat setting for 20 minutes. Put an alarm of 20 minutes in your clock, find yourself a good movie or book for this time and forget about the chicken biryani! As soon as the alarm buzz, the wait is over!
Finally, it’s time to experience the most exotic chicken biryani made at home from scratch! Do not stir the biryani. Use a slim, flat serving spoon and insert it into the pot along the inner wall of the vessel; once the spoon touches the bottom of the pan and can’t go further, put slight pressure and lift up the chicken from beneath the rice. While you bring the chicken up, rice will accompany it and you can serve this restaurant style chicken biryani onto a plate.
Trust me, it will not only be the homemade chicken biryani that will glow at your dinner table today, but also you with all your glorious accomplishment!
- Onion – 6, large
- Mustard oil for deep frying
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Basmati rice – 500 gms
- Chicken – 1 kg, preferably a full bird cut into 10 to 12 pieces (you can discard chicken breasts for biryani and reserve it for some other recipe as chicken breasts tend to turn very dry in biryanis)
- Ghee / mustard oil – ½ cup
- Green cardamom – 4 to 6
- Black cardamom – 1
- Cloves – 4 to 6
- Cinnamon stick – 2-inch piece
- Whole black peppercorn – 1 tsp
- Bay leaf – 1
- Star anise – 1
- Mace – 1 large thread
- Shahi jeera / caraway seeds – 1 tsp
- Green chilli – 4, slit lengthwise
- Tomato puree – ¼ cup or 4 large tomatoes, chopped and deseeded
- Garam masala – 1 tbsp
- Thick yogurt / hung curd – 1 cup / 250 gm
- Ginger paste – 2 tbsp
- Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Coriander powder – 4 tsp
- Cumin powder – 2 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
- Garam masala – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1 & ½ tsp
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- Juice of 1 small lemon (about 2 tsp of juice)
- Freshly chopped coriander – 1 cup
- Fresh mint leaves – ½ cup
- Kewra / Screw pine water – 2 tsp
- Peel and wash all onions. Thinly slice all of them and cut the length into half too. Separate the slices and set aside.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying in a kadhai. Now add half of the sliced onion and fry them on medium heat until they turn golden. Don’t make them too brown in the kadhai as fried onions keep on turning brown after taking them out from hot oil. If you make them too brown in kadhai, they will turn almost black after taking them out and may taste bitter. Take the golden fried onion out on a plate.
- Add the remaining half of the sliced onions and fry them similarly. Take them out and put on the same plate. Sprinkle pinch of salt over the fried brown onions.
- Do not fry all the sliced onions together as they will not turn crispy in that case. Too much onions in the oil will release lot of moisture into the oil making the fried onions soggy and completely opposite of what you need in your biryani.
- Also, do not add salt while frying the onions. Only drizzle salt after they are done frying and resting on a plate.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken. In a large bowl add all the marinating ingredients – hung curd, ginger & garlic paste, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, salt, mustard oil and lemon juice. (The amount of spices may seem a little too much, but do note that these spices will flavor not only the chicken but also the rice of the biryani, hence you need this much.)
- Give the ingredients a good mix preferably using a wire whisk so that everything is mixed thoroughly.
- Drop the chicken pieces into the marinade and massage them with the marinating mixture. This is done best with hands so that you can coat all the nooks and crannies of the chicken pieces with the spice mix.
- Cover the marinated chicken and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or upto 8 hours.
- Wash the basmati rice 3 to 4 times, not more than that. Soak them in room temperature water for 30 minutes.
- While the rice is soaking, fill a large pan with water and season it with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to boil.
- Drain the water out from soaked rice and add it to boiling water. Cook the rice until they are half cooked i.e. soft but still retain some crunch.
- Drain the rice and fluff it with a fork. Set it aside until further use.
- Note: you can add 1 bay leaf and few whole black pepper corn to the boiling water while cooking rice but that is not absolutely mandatory.
- Heat about half a cup of ghee or mustard oil (using mustard oil will cut down the calories significantly but will compromise on the flavor a little – so take your pick) in a large kadhai (it should be big enough for all the rice and chicken).
- Temper the hot oil with green and black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorn, star anise, bay leaf, mace, shahi jeera and slit green chillies.
- Sauté them on low heat for a minute until they become fragrant. If you are using fresh chopped tomatoes, add them now and cook them until they become soft and mushy, about 5 minutes on medium heat. If using tomato puree, do not add it now and proceed to next step.
- Add the marinated chicken along with all the marinating mixture to the kadhai. Stir the chicken so that everything is mixed well with oil and spices.
- Cover and cook the chicken on medium-low heat until completely done stirring after every 8 to 10 minutes. Initially you will notice a lot of liquid coming out from the chicken and marinate but that will eventually soak up.
- After about 15 minutes, add the tomato puree and mix well. Homemade or store-bought, tomato puree needs to be cooked so that the raw smell is gone.
- Cooking the chicken completely would take about 30 to 40 minutes. While cooking the chicken, make sure that spices do not stick to the bottom of the kadhai. If it does, add just a splash of water to deglaze the pot and stir well. Do not add excess water at any stage. One the chicken is cooked through it should be soft and can be cut easily using a spoon.
- By this time 90 percent of the liquid will be absorbed and a thick spice mix will be left in the kadhai oozing out a lot of oil/ghee. Check the seasoning at this stage and adjust if needed.
- Switch off the flame and remove the kadhai from heat. Then arrange half of the half-cooked rice over the chicken inside the kadhai. Try to arrange the rice in as uniform layer as possible.
- Sprinkle half of the fried onion all over the rice. Sprinkle half of the chopped coriander leaves and half of chopped mint leaves, half tablespoon of garam masala and half a teaspoon of salt. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of kewra water. Do not stir.
- Then arrange remaining half of the half-cooked rice and similarly sprinkle remaining fried onion, chopped coriander, chopped mint, half tablespoon of garam masala and half a teaspoon of salt. Drizzle remaining 1 teaspoon of kewra water too. Do not stir.
- Now cover the kadhai with a lid. I did not bother to seal the lid with atta dough, but if you want, you can do that.
- Place the kadhai on a tawa which should be bigger than the kadhai. Then place the tawa with the kadhai on high heat for just 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and let the tawa sit on it for 20 minutes. Do not open the lid or disturb the biryani during this time. This is the time when biryani rice gets infused with all the beautiful aroma of the cooked chicken. Don’t worry, even if the chicken is already cooked, this process won’t overcook them as we have used a tawa beneath the kadhai which is simply to ensure that the heat reaches very slowly to the pot safe-guarding any possibility of over-cooking.
- After 20 minutes, open the lid and enjoy the world’s best aroma ever possible, the aroma of a perfectly cooked chicken biryani at home!
- Do not stir the biryani; just take a serving spoon and lift the biryani from bottom with chicken and the rice on top.
- Serve the restaurant style chicken biryani warm with raita and green salad and as always, enjoy!