Chicken Biryani is the ultimate all-in-one-pot dinner. Learn how to create the perfect biryani every time – with tender meat, beautifully spiced and topped with fluffy, fragrant rice.
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Many people are afraid of the biryani – fearing it too difficult to cook at themselves. In fact, it’s the perfect dish to cook at home! Not as challenging as you’d think. A few steps maybe, but a few easy steps! Learn just how easy with my delicious Chicken Biryani recipe.
Biryani, the jewel in India’s crown
Words cannot describe how fabulous this Indian chicken biryani recipe is. I took inspiration from the best biryani I ever tasted – in the Keralan city of Ernakulam near Kochin in the South. I was told it was cooked by a famous chef, known across India for his mastery of the Hyderabadi chicken biryani.
It didn’t disappoint – the chicken was so moist, packed full of flavour and the unusual rice fluffy and separated. It was one of those places with only one thing on the menu. No choice, you sat down and within 30 seconds a plate of food was in front of you. MY kind of eating experience. (The fact that I got sick eating this particular biryani it is completely irrelevant, I would have eaten it the next day if I could have gotten out of bed!) 😂
A good biryani will have lots of flavour from the meat (in this case, chicken), cooked til meltingly tender – permeated with all the flavour and fragrance from the yoghurt and spice. The rice will be light and fragranced from the meat below. On top will be a sweet, caramalised onion garnish to perfectly balance the dish. Done right, biryani is quite literally one of the finest Indian dishes there is.
What’s the right rice to use for Biryani?
Basmati Rice. It starts with buying the best quality Indian or Persian Basmati you can afford.
Cheap basmati rice generally has more starch and can easily make your biryani soggy. Supermarket basmati is the bottom of the barrel I’m afraid. It’s fine if that’s all you can get, but the best stuff isn’t sold in regular supermarkets. You should pay a visit to an Indian market or buy it online. To achieve the fluffiest, most amazing rice buy the best. I’ve eaten Baghlan Brand amongst others – this stuff is great.
Super authentic rice for biryani (for the die hards amongst us)
The version I ate in Kerala used a different rice called Jeerakasala – it’s a premium short grain rice with a distinctive fragrant aroma and flavour. It’s very different to Basmati. It’s used in the Thallasery biryani – much like this recipe. You can pick this type of rice up at some Indian supermarkets and online in the US here – it makes for a really splendid version of biryani.
Preparing basmati rice
With basmati rice, another essential point is to soak it first. I soak mine for 1 hour in cold water then rinse it ’til the water runs almost clear. This will help achieve nice separate rice grains. Mushy rice is a no no, that’s why you need to invest money, time and attention to getting it right! But it’s not hard!
Once you learn how to make biryani at home, you’ll not only see how easy it it, you won’t believe how tasty it is! There’ll likely be leftovers – fear not, it freezes excellently and reheats in the microwave from frozen like a dream!
More delicious rice recipes
Love rice? Try more of my rice dishes from around the world!