Chicken Biryani is a delicious savoury rice dish that is loaded with spicy marinated chicken, caramelized onions, and flavourful saffron rice. For my Biryani, I simplify the order of operations, while retaining the traditional layered approach to assembling it.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 grams garlic (grated)
10 grams ginger (grated)
1 serrano chili peppers (to taste, minced)
5 grams mint (finely chopped)
10 grams cilantro (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
900 grams bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
6 cups water
2 ½ teaspoons salt
5pods green cardamom (smashed
)1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
360 grams basmati rice (~2 cups)
2 tablespoon ghee
2medium onions (sliced thin)
1 cup preserved boiling liquid (from rice
)1/2 teaspoon saffron threads cilantro (for garnish)
- To marinate the chicken for the biryani, combine the oil , garlic, ginger, chili peppers, mint, cilantro, garam masala, cinnamon and salt during a large bowl and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and toss together ensuring the chicken is thoroughly coated within the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight.
- In a pot wide enough to carry the chicken during a single layer, add the ghee and onions and sauté the onions until they're well caramelized (15-20 minutes). Transfer the caramelized onions to a bowl and set aside.
- Caramelized onions add a pleasing sweetness to contrast the spicy chicken within the Biryani.
- While the onions caramelize, prepare the rice by washing during a strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear.
It’s important to wash your rice thoroughly to rid it of any excess starch so your Biryani turns out fluffy.
- To par-boil the rice, add the water, salt, cardamom, cumin and herb to a pot and convey to a boil. Add the rice and boil for 7 minutes. Strain the basmati rice, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.
- Parboiling the rice with spices not only ensures the rice is cooked through, it infuses your biryani with tons of flavour.
- In the pot you caramelized the onions in, add the chicken during a single layer, skin-side down. Fry till its turn golden brown on one side (about 5 minutes). Flip the chicken over and fry the opposite side until golden brown. Shift the chicken back to the bowl you marinated it in.
Browning the chicken for the Biryani brings out the flavours of the spices and aromatics in the marinade.
- To mix the biryani, add the saffron to the rice and toss to distribute evenly. Now add half the rice mixture to the bottom of the pot you browned the chicken in.
- Top the rice with the chicken during a single layer.
The browned chicken gets layered on the rice.
- Top the chicken with an even layer of fried onions.
A layer of fried onions goes on top of the chicken for the Biryani.
- Finish producing the Biryani by adding the remainder of the rice in a good layer. Add 2 table spoon of reserved liquid from boiling the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and put the pot on the stove over medium heat and set the timer for 20 minutes. When you can see steam escaping from under the lid, turn down the warmth to low and continue cooking until the timer pops then close up the warmth .
The Biryani is finished off with a layer of saffron rice.
- Without opening the lid, set the timer for an additional 10 minutes to steam the biryani.
- Mix the Chicken Biryani together then transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.