Hyderabadi chicken biryani, as the name says it’s from Hyderabad, the land of Nawabs.
Hyderabadi chicken biyani is a visual treat, long-grain rice, tender and succulent chicken pieces, the aroma of different spices, and different layers of rice depending on spice preference. Because of all this, it is one of the most popular biryani around the globe. Also, it is a favorite of many, including me.
About Hyderabadi Biryanis
Hyderabadi biryani is one of the most popular dishes of the city. Locals enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Simply put, it is enjoyed at any time.
Hyderabadi biryani is not an origin of Hyderabad. Also called as Hyderabadi Dum biryani, it’s a style of biryani from Hyderabad. Infact, biryani did not originate in India.
The city has a history of continuous movement of foreign rules from all over the world and from with the Indian sub-continent too. Different rulers from Turk, Afghan, Persia, Arab have left behind a rich and royal culture of foods.
So, the exact origin of biryani is uncertain. As per Wikipedia, Biryani was originated in Persia; the word comes from Persian language “birian” which means “fried before cooking.” Mughals introduced biryani to Indian people during the reign of Mughal empire. India has various cultures and cooking styles; Mughlai cooking has influenced the Indian style of cooking.
Types of Biryani
Hyderabadi Chicken biryani is mainly of two types:
The kachchi (raw) biryani. The word kachchi translates to raw. Does not mean biryani is eaten raw, LOL!! It is a way of cooking the biryani. Locals also call is Kachch-e-ghost ki biryani.
The process of cooking this biryani is; marinate the kachchi ghost (raw meat) with spices, curd, fried onions, herbs, and rest for few hours before cooking. Later, a layer of parboiled rice is spread on the marinated meat and cooked on a slow fire or dum for a fragrant and aromatic flavor. The cooking time for kachchi biryani can be 20-40 minutes, depending on the quantity.
Whereas in pakki (cooked) biryani, cooked meat and cooked rice are stacked in alternating layers and dum cooked for less time, about 10-15 minutes.
But, it’s said that Hyderabadi chicken biryani was created during the Nizam’s rule. Traditionally biryani was made with only mutton and cooked over charcoal in an earthern pot. Over the years, Hyderabadi biryani has been improved and the modern period biryani is as the per local preferences. This makes is unique derivative cuisine that excels over the original.
Hyderabad is famous for its different biryanis. Hyderabadi cuisine is known for non-veg dishes. But that does not mean, vegetarians cant enjoy biryani. There are varieties of veg biryani available too.
Biryani in Hyderabad is served with mirchi ka salan and raita/dahi ki chutney. For me, a well-made briyani does not need any accompaniments, it is a one-dish meal. It’s been 10 years in Hyderabad and I’ve tasted biryani at many restaurants. Every biryani is unique in itself.
Each spoonful of this special rice dish is suffused with aroma and rich flavors.
About the recipe
Depending on the state, India has different varieties of biryani. The primary distinction between these biryanis is the choice of spices, ingredients, and way of cooking.
This special rice dish is made with layers of aromatic par-boiled rice, pre-marinated meat, fried onions, herbs, Ghee or oil for richness is drizzled from topped. The crowning glory is drizzle of saffron infused milk to give basmati rice the signature patches of bright yellow color. The Biryani pot is sealed and cooked over a low heat, also called as “Dum”. During the dum cooking, rice absorbs the aromas and flavours from the marrianted chicken masala underneath, whilst still being beautifully fluffy and non-sticky long grain rice. This is one of the secrets of Hyderabadi chicken biryani.
Sounds very easy, right? Well, it’s not. Making Hyderabadi chicken briyani is an elaborate process which is the reason many fear making it at home. But, with this recipe, you won’t feel the fear ever again.
In this post, I will share the traditional and authentic method of making Hyderabadi Chicken biryani. Also, there are tips to make perfect biryani even for a beginner.
Cooking biryani is an art and skill of cooking perfect biryani lies in cooking the rice to perfection and retain the flavor and aroma of spices and herbs used in the cooking. Also, biryani tastes better when dum cooked as it imparts a unique flavour and retains all the moisture in the dish.
Ingredients to make Hyderabadi Chicken biryani
The taste of any dish totally depends on the ingredients used. Its the same with biryani too. Moreover, to make this special rice dish, be sure to choose the finest quality of ingredients. At first glance, the list of ingredients may look long. After you try the recipe 2-3 times, you wont refer the list again.
Chicken: Finest meat cuts and size is preferred for biryani. Traditionally skinless chicken with bone is used to make chicken biryani. At home can use boneless too but with bone tastes better. A mix of chicken breast, thighs and legs are used.
Rice: Aged for atleast 2 years and good quality of basmati/long grain rice. There are many brands of basmati rice in the market, my personal choice is Dawat long grain rice. This long grain rice is firm, fluffs up well and fragrant.
Biryani masala/Whole spices: Good quality of whole spices is important to elevate the flavor of chicken biryani. Spices needed are shahi jeera, green cardamom, javitri, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, and star anise.
In case you do not have whole spices, you can use garam masala or everest brand shahi biryani masala.
Onion: Onions are a key ingredient in biryani. Thinly sliced onions are fried to crisp texture. Please check the pro tips to get this right.
Ghee: Traditionally biryani was made using ghee. You can also used the oil used to fry onion as it imparts unique flavor.
Curd/Yogurt: It is one of the main ingredients used in the marination of chicken. It tenderises the meat and also adds a balanced sour flavour to the rice.
Other ingredients: Ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander, mint leaves, saffron.
Secrets to make perfect Hyderabadi Chicken biryani:
- Rice to Meat Ratio: The golden ratio followed is 1:1 ratio, which means 1kg chicken and 1kg basmati rice.
If you like quantity of meat more in the biryani, then you can increase the meat quantity. 750 grams chicken and 500grams rice.
- Soaking the basmati rice: This process is mandatory as soaking lets the rice puff up completely. Basmati rice needs to be soaked for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Salt: It is a key ingredient to enhance taste in any food. Especially in biryani, if the rice lacks salt, biryani will be a disaster in flavor. All your efforts will go in vain. Make sure to add enough salt in water for boiling rice. To check the salt, taste the water, it should taste salty.
- Thick bottom vessel: Biryani is cooked on slow flame, so it’s mandate to use a thick bottom vessel so that the chicken does not stick to the bottom.
- Cooking the rice: To cook rice perfectly, use a large pot with plenty of water. Do not cook the rice completely. As it will be dum cooked, rice grains will over cook and turn into mushy.
Cook rice for 10 minutes, more or less depending on the quantity or till 70%.
- Fried onions: They are also called as Birista. Deep fry thinly sliced onion in large pan over medium flame.
Fry in small batches and remove when they are light golden in color. The heat continues to cook the onion
further. If the onion is fried till golden color, it will further cook and turn bitter.
- Marination: This is the only way chicken absorbs the flavors. I prefer to marinate the chicken twice.
First marination is with the following ingredients: ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, pinch of turmeric powder, and lemon juice.
Second marination is with; curd, mint leaves, coriander leaves and fried onions.
- Make the marination ahead: Biryani is a time taking process. To reduce time, you can marinate meat the night before the actual cooking day. The Hyderabadi Chicken biryani gets aroma and flavor from the marination.
Long hours of marination will tenderise the meat and hyderabadi chicken biryani will taste better.
You can serve this Hyderabadi Chicken biryani with mirchi ka salan or any raita.
Always, top the biryani with generous amount of fried onions before serving.
Ingredients to make Hyderabadi Chicken biryani
For The Marination of chicken
1 kg chicken cleaned and washed (cut into 12 pieces)
salt to taste
1 tbsp red chilli powder or according to your spice.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 green cardamoms
1/2 tsp jaiphal powder nutmeg
1/2 tsp javitri powder mace
2 tbsp green chillies paste
1 bunch of freshly chopped coriander leaves
1 bunch of freshly chopped mint leaves
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 cup of deep-fried onions
2 cups of hung curd
1 tbsp lemon extracted juice
Rice: 500 gms
1 cinnamon stick, shahi zeera, cloves
salt – to taste
water for boiling rice
1/4 cup saffron flavor milk
chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
chopped mint leaves for garnishing
fried onions for garnishing
Firstly, in a vessel, add washed chicken pieces, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste.
Into the marinade add cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves, nutmeg, and mace powder and mix well.
Add green chilli paste, mint leaves, coriander leaves, crush the deep-fried onions and add into it.
Mix the whole mixture well. add oil and mix it well.
Rest this marination for about 1 hour.
After marination add hung curd into the marination, add garam masala powder, add lemon juice and mix well.
For The Rice:
Wash basmati rice and soak the rice in water for about 1 hr
In a cooking pot, add water 3/4
Add salt into it.
Add whole spices that are cinnamon, elaichi , shahi zeera cloves
Mix it well.
Bring the water to a roaring boil and add the soaked rice into it.
Cook the rice until it is 60-70% done.
Strain the rice completely and put it aside.
Take a heavy bottom cooking pot in which Biryani is cooked.
Add the chkn marination into it and spread it evenly.
Add the rice over the marinated chicken and spread it evenly.
Over the rice sprinkle with saffron flavor milk or colour and mint leaves, corinader leaves.
Add lemon juice and
Add Birista all over the rice.
Top it with some desi ghee.
Sprinkle oil all over.
Cover the lid and seal it tightly with a dough put heavy weight on the lid.
Switch on the flame and then
Place a tawa on the flame.
Place the cooking vessel on the tawa as your biryani will not burn
Dum the biryani for about 4-5 minutes on high flame and then
Reduce the flame to medium and give dum the biryani for about 10 minutes on low flame and let it rest till more 15 minutes
Switch off the flame.
from one side of the corner you have to dish out biryani always
The biryani should be taken out with a big spoon from the bottom to the top.
Serve the hyderabadi chicken biryani with raita and mirchi ka salan
Spices such as mace and nut meg are totally optional but it gives a good flavour if kept.
Place a tawa below. The dum vessel prevents the biryani from burning at the bottom, Adding oil and Desi ghee gives the fragrance to the biryani.
Spices which are added can be increased or decrease according to your choice.