Chicken Biriyani - A Hyderabadi and Awadhi blend

This has been my mantra for years now. “Don’t know what to have for dinner? Let’s drool over some biriyani then 🙂 “. It is such an aromatic and mouth-watering savory dish that I have never managed to walk past, without gulping a mouthful or two. Succulent pieces of chicken topped with caramelized onions and a rice jam packed with flavors – What can be a better way to share a meal with your friends? My love for biriyani has always been so immense that I have once biriyani-hopped across all the famous biriyani joints in Pune, until I found “the one” place which serves “the best biriyani ever”.

Biriyani is thought to be originated in Persia and brought to India by the Mughals. I also heard another story about biriyani during my recent visit to Lucknow (Well, how can biriyani not come up when you are in Lucknow). So, according to the story, one Mughal queen wanted an one-pot meal packed with all the essential nutrients for the king and his soldiers such that they stay fit during their invasions. And she came up with biriyani. And it kept on evolving and now there are numerous varieties of biriyani within the Indian Subcontinent itself. 

Broadly classifying, there are two types of biriyani – the “raw type” and the “cooked type”. The raw type is the one where the meat is layered with rice, both uncooked and cooked over low heat over a longer time whereas the cooked type is the one where cooked meat and rice is blended with all the spices to give a culinary favorite. The classic example for the “raw type” is the hyderabadi style biriyani and even though there are a lot of “cooked type” versions present in different parts of India, I like the Awadhi style the best. 

I, here, draw my inspiration from both the Awadhi and the Hyderabadi preparation and I tell you, it is very popular among friends and family and has always been a clean swipe off the plateI have once learnt how to make an Awadhi style biriyani from a very close friend who hails from Lucknow and I already had a clear background of the hyderabadi style. And next step was easy. Mix and match the favorite parts and I have this one right here. This can be served with some raita or some Mirchi ka salan, the recipe of which you will find here.

Chicken Biriyani - A Hyderabadi and Awadhi blend

This is my take on the classic chicken biriyani. I have picked up the best parts of Awadhi and Hyderabadi biriyani and this is how I like it.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Biriyani, chicken
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 338kcal
Author: Anindita Das

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 500 gms chicken
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt

For the rice:

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 3 quantity bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 quantity star anise
  • 2 quantity mace
  • 10 quantity peppercorns
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 quantity lemon
  • Salt as required

For the gravy:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 quantity medium onion
  • 8 quantity green chillies
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • Salt as required

For the garnish:

  • 1 quantity medium onion
  • 20 quantity cashews
  • 0.5 cup coriander leaves

Instructions

For the marinade:

  • Mix the chicken and the yoghurt and let it marinade for 2 hours.

For the rice:

  • Add some ghee to a pressure cooker.
  • Temper the bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns and the mace in the ghee.
  • Add the basmati rice and fry it for a minute along with the other ingredients.
  • Add water according to the quantity of rice so that the rice gets only half-cooked. I usually add 1.5 times the quantity of rice. Season it with some salt. Add lemon juice to the rice. (Lemon juice ensures that the rice does not stick to each other and is grainy.)

For the gravy:

  • Temper the oil with chopped onions until it turns translucent.
  • Next, make a paste out of the fried onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric.
  • Fry the masala paste until the oil starts separating from the gravy and the gravy starts sticking to the pan.
  • Add the chicken marinade and cook it until the chicken is cooked. (Make a gravy like consistency by adding water at last such that after assembling, the rice can get cooked in the gravy.)

For the garnish:

  • Make fine crescents out of the onions and deep fry them such that they are brown and crispy.
  • Slit the cashews length-wise and deep fry them as well.
  • Finely chop the coriander leaves.

For the assembly:

  • Take a big vessel. Line it with ghee. Place a layer of the chicken gravy. Top it off with the rice. Add a layer of the crispy fried onions, cashews and coriander leaves.
  • Make 3 such layers and add a lot of garnish for the last layer.
  • Cover the vessel and seal off the edges using some dough.
  • Let the biriyani cook for 30 minutes. Rest it for a while off the flame and serve it with mirchi ka salan or some raita.

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