Best Ever Restaurant Style Chicken Biryani | Chicken Biryani Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6 servings
For making fried brown onion:
  • Onion – 6, large
  • Mustard oil for deep frying
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
For making rice and chicken:
  • 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
For marinating chicken:
  • 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)
For final assembly of biryani:
  • Freshly chopped coriander – 1 cup
  • Fresh mint leaves – ½ cup
  • Kewra / Screw pine water – 2 tsp
Making brown onion:
  1. Peel and wash all onions. Thinly slice all of them and cut the length into half too. Separate the slices and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Also, do not add salt while frying the onions. Only drizzle salt after they are done frying and resting on a plate.
Marinating chicken:
  1. 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.)
  2. Give the ingredients a good mix preferably using a wire whisk so that everything is mixed thoroughly.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover the marinated chicken and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or upto 8 hours.
Making rice for biryani:
  1. Wash the basmati rice 3 to 4 times, not more than that. Soak them in room temperature water for 30 minutes.
  2. While the rice is soaking, fill a large pan with water and season it with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to boil.
  3. 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.
  4. Drain the rice and fluff it with a fork. Set it aside until further use.
  5. 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.
Making chicken for biryani:
  1. 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).
  2. Temper the hot oil with green and black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorn, star anise, bay leaf, mace, shahi jeera and slit green chillies.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
Final assembly of biryani:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. Do not stir the biryani; just take a serving spoon and lift the biryani from bottom with chicken and the rice on top.
  9. Serve the restaurant style chicken biryani warm with raita and green salad and as always, enjoy!
Recipe by Everyday Indian Recipes at