Tuesday, November 4, 2014

B for Biryani......Kolkata Style Chicken Dum Biryani

Biryani.......Naam toh suna hi hoga :) 

The name is enough to make anybody drool and especially the Indians. The origin of Biryani is still debatable. Few says that it was originated in Persia and then brought to India by the Mughal Emperors. However, some also say that the dish was known in South Asia even before Babur came to India.

Biryani is a medley of basmati rice, meat(chicken, mutton or lamb), potatoes, various spices and condiments. In India every house hold have their own version of Biryani. It is generally made in two ways:
1. Kachhi (Raw) Biryani: where marinated raw meat and partially cooked rice are layered and cooked on dum (steam) over low heat.
2. Pakki(Cooked) Biryani: where cooked meat and partially cooked rice are layered and cooked on dum (steam) over low heat.

For us, Sundays are always special not only because its a holiday but also because its on Sundays that our home is filled with rich, aromatic fragrance of Chicken Biryani. Yes, I love making Biryani on Sundays without it our Sunday is just incomplete. 

I learnt making this royal dish from my then colleague and friend Farina Sheikh. She's one of the finest cooks I have ever met. I still have the recipe in my diary that she had shared with me but I made slight changes to it to adjust our taste buds. 

Making Biryani is a lengthy process it needs lot of TLC (Tender, Love and Care) and the exact spices, you can't skip any step nor you can replace any spice with the other. But at the end when you serve it on your plate its a pleasure seeing the beautiful Chicken Biryani cooked with the aromatic spices and condiments. Your home even your neighborhood gets filled with its fragrance.

I firmly believe a person first eats with his eyes and then tastes with his tongue. So the look of the Biryani (or any thing you cook) is very important. There's no meaning of cooking a Biryani which doesn't even look like one. So few things to keep in mind while cooking it:
1. Use the best quality long grain Basmati Rice
2. Marinate the Chicken for at least 2-3 hours. Overnight is preferable.
3. Be cautious not to overcook the rice. So always keep an eye while boiling the rice.

Let me take you through the beautiful journey of preparing this royal dish.


For Biryani Masala:

1. Cinnamon(1" stick): 2
2. Cardamoms: 4-5
3. Cloves: 4-5 
4. Black Cardamoms: 2-3
5. Black Peppercorns: 7-8
6. Shah Jeera(Black Cumin Seeds): 1/2 tsp
7. Mace(Javitri): 1 floret
8. Nutmeg(Jaiphal): 1/4 tsp(grated)
9. Fennel: 1/4 tsp
10. Star Anise: 1

For Marinating Chicken:

1. Chicken: 2lbs (900gms approx)
2. Yogurt(Curd): 4-5 tbsp
3. Ginger-Garlic Paste: 2 tbsp
4. Biryani Masala: 1 1/2 tbsp
5. Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
6. Salt to taste

For Cooking Rice:

1. Basmati Rice: 4 cups
2. Bay Leaf: 1
3. Cinnamon(1" inch): 1
4. Black Cardamom: 1
5. Green Cardamom: 3-4
6. Cloves: 4-5
7. Black Peppercorns: 3-4
8. Mace(Javitri): 1 floret
9. Nutmeg(Jaiphal): 1/4 tsp(grated)
10. Star Anise: 1
11. Salt to taste
12. Lemon: 1
13. Oil: 2 tbsp
14. Green Chilies: 2-3 (adjust to your spice level)
15. Coriander (finely chopped): handful
16. Mint (finely chopped): handful

Other Ingredients:

1. Onions (medium size): 3 (finely chopped)
1. Hard Boiled Eggs: 2
2. Potatoes(medium size): 2
3. Milk (warm): 1/4 cup
4. Few saffron strands
5. Oil for cooking
6. Kewra Essence: 4-5 drops
7. Ghee(Clarified Butter): 2-3 tbsp
8. Coriander: for garnishing
9. Mint: for garnishing


To make Biryani Masala:

1. Dry roast all the ingredients mentioned under "Biryani Masala" till they are aromatic.

2. Let it cool down and then grind it to fine powder. Keep aside 1 1/2 tbsp (for marinating chicken) and the rest you can store in air tight container for future use. I like to add this Biryani Masala in some of my chicken preparations.

Marinating Chicken:

1. Clean and wash the chicken pieces. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.

2. In a separate bowl take the yogurt and mix it with the Biryani Masala, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder and salt. Marinate the chicken pieces in this for at least 2-3 hours. For better result marinate it overnight.

For Making Barista (Fried Onions):

1. Finely chop the onions and separate the slices.

2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Once it is ready add the onion slices. Fry the onions till they get a nice golden hue. Remove them in a plate lined with paper towel to soak the excess oil. Take care not to burn the onions. Fry them in small batches. 

3. Don't discard the oil you can use it for cooking the meat.

Preparing the Potatoes and Eggs:

1. Boil the potatoes and eggs.

2. Peel them nicely. Add salt and then fry them till they get a nice golden color.

Cooking the Meat:

1. Add half of the Barista (fried onions) to the marinated chicken.

2. In the same pan heat the same oil in which onions where fried. Add the marinated chicken and cook till the chicken gets nicely cooked. 

3. The oil should be separated by now and there will be no watery gravy.

Cooking the Rice:

1. Wash the rice and soak it in water for almost 20 mins.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan take lots of water. Add the spices mentioned under "For Cooking Rice", oil (2 tbsp), lemon juice(this helps in keeping the rice grains separate), salt, chopped coriander and chopped mint. (You can take a small piece of cloth and put all the spices in it. Tie a knot and put it in the water. Once the rice is done you can remove that cloth). I like to cook the rice with the spices.

3. Once the water starts boiling add the rice. Cook the rice till its partially done i.e 80% done. This is a very important step, always keep an eye to check whether its done or not.
Once done drain the water and spread the rice on a large tray so that it does not stick to each other. 

Preparing the Saffron-Milk:

1. Take 1/4 cup of warm milk, add the saffron strands and keep it aside for 20 mins.

2. Add the Kewra essence to this milk and mix well.

Assembling the Biryani:

1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid, add 2-3 tbsp of Ghee (clarified butter) and wait till it melts. Nicely coat the sides of the pan with the ghee. At this point switch off the heat. 

2. Add a layer of rice, cooked meat, barista, eggs, potatoes, chopped coriander, chopped mint and sprinkle few drops of saffron milk mixed with kewra essence. Again add a layer of rice and continue till you are done. Make sure the pan is heavy bottomed otherwise the rice will stick to the bottom.

3. You can add ghee on top of each layer but I like to add it in the beginning (i.e before layering).

4. Remember that the top and bottom layer should be of rice.Put the lid on. Seal the pan with flour dough. 

5. Place a tawa on heat to the lowest possible mark. Put the pan with Biryani on top of the tawa. Or you can use the double boiler method where you can take a pan filled with water. Boil the water and then place Biryani pan on it.

6. Cook the Biryani on Dum (steam) for 30-40 mins. In the meanwhile enjoy the nice aroma all around your home. Let it stand for 10 mins. Combine the rice and meat very gently. 

7. Transfer it to the serving plate and enjoy it with salad and raita.


For regular updates just click the "Like" button on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Flavors-Of-My-Plate/737185573034586?ref=hl

You can also follow me on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/flavorsofmyplat

If you want the recipe in Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu (or any other language) click on the Google Translate button on the left side.


  1. Nice and looking hot ,We will try this .

    Thanks for sharing.:)

    1. Thanks Amrita and let me know how it turned out :)

  2. wow so spicy your biryani

  3. I blog frequently and I truly appreciate your content. This great article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week.

  4. Thanks for your appreciation and stay tuned :)