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Chicken Biryani on a gold-trimmed platter with a silver rice spoon resting on the side

32+ Pakistani Eid Recipes Including The BEST Pakistani Chicken Biryani

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An uncomplicated yet authentic Chicken Biryani recipe with simple, easy-to-follow instructions (no curveballs!) and mouthwatering, traditional Pakistani and Indian flavor. Don't miss 31 more Eid Recipes in this Roundup!
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Halal
Keyword Authentic Chicken Biryani, Chicken Biryani, Pakistani Chicken Biryani
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings 6 servings
Calories 591

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs bone-in, cut up, skinless chicken, cleaned and excess skin removed (~567 g)

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (~115g)
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp biryani masala (recipe in original post) or sub store-bought biryani masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp red chili powder start with 1/2 tsp if using store-bought biryani masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • pinch cane sugar omit if using store-bought biryani masala
  • 2 tsp kosher salt start with 1 ¼ tsp if using store-bought biryani masala

Whole Spices

  • 3 medium dried bay leaves (tez patta)
  • 5-6 whole cloves (loung)
  • 4-5 whole black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
  • 6 star anise (badiyaan)
  • 6 green cardamom pods (elaichi)
  • 2 3-inch cinnamon sticks (daarchini)
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns (kaali mirch)

Parboiled Rice

  • 1 3/4 cups aged, long grain basmati rice (~350g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar

Biryani

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil plus more as needed
  • 2 tbsp ghee or sub butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions (~400 g) thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves crushed (1 tbsp heaped)
  • 1- inch ginger crushed (1 tbsp heaped)
  • 1 small tomato (~75-80 g) finely chopped
  • 1-2 small green chili peppers (such as Thai or Serrano) chopped
  • 5 dried plums (alu bukhara)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala may omit if using store-bought biryani masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes optional
  • 1 tsp kewra essence depending on strength
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Layering/Topping

  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala or garam masala
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp mint leaves chopped (or sub more cilantro)
  • 1/8 tsp yellow/orange food coloring mixed with 1 tbsp milk or water
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced (5-7 slices)

For Serving

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the ingredients listed under ‘marinade’. Cover and set aside or refrigerate (ideally) up to overnight. When ready to use, allow the chicken to come to room temperature.
  • Thoroughly wash the rice and soak it in water. Set aside.
  • Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add the oil, ghee, and onions and sauté until the onions are golden (~15-20 minutes). Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup water. Once the water dries up, add the whole spices, garlic, and ginger and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken with its marinade and sauté until it changes color (~2-3 minutes). Add the tomatoes, green chili pepper, and dried plum (alu bukhara) and stir to coat. Add ½ cup water (the water should cover about 1/3 of the chicken) and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer (this is low heat on my stovetop), cover, and allow the chicken to cook for 30 minutes, stirring midway. While the chicken is cooking, proceed to the next step. Turn off the heat once the chicken has cooked.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Place a medium pot over high heat and bring 7 cups (1.75 quarts) of water to a boil. Add salt, oil, and lemon juice/vinegar and stir. Once the water comes to a boil, drain and add the rice. Stir, and bring it back up to a boil. Once it comes to a boil again, boil for 5 minutes (no more than 5 minutes and 30 seconds), or until the rice is just cooked with a bite to it. It shouldn’t get mushy when pressed between your fingers.* Drain and set aside.
  • Uncover the chicken. Raise the heat to medium-high to sauté out any excess water for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, garam masala, and red chili flakes for more heat (if desired). The oil will have separated from the ‘masala’. Turn off the heat. Add kewra water and lemon juice and stir to combine.

Steaming ('Dum')

  • If needed, lightly oil the bottom of a dutch oven or stock/soup pot. Layer half of the drained rice. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of the chaat/garam masala on top of the rice. Add in all the chicken, and top with the remaining rice. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 tsp of chaat/garam masala. Drizzle in the colored milk and oil. (Optional: Sprinkle a pinch of food coloring directly for more variation in color.) Sprinkle the cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and arrange the lemon slices on top.
  • If your pan isn’t heavy bottomed, place a heat diffuser, flat griddle, or tava underneath the pan to diffuse the heat. Layer the lid with a kitchen cloth (or aluminum foil) and seal tightly.** Turn on the heat to medium and allow the biryani to develop steam for 4-5 minutes. You’ll be able to feel the steam starting to escape the sides. Then turn down to the lowest heat and allow it to cook in its steam (‘dum’) for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the biryani to rest with the lid on for 10 minutes. Do not stir or mix. To serve, gently move on to platter with rice paddle or small plate. Serve hot with yogurt or raita.

Video

Notes

Tip: When boiling anything, cover with a lid to make it boil faster.
*How long you boil will depend on the age of your rice (5 minutes for aged rice, 4 for younger/newly harvested). The rice should be just edible, but not fully cooked, as they’re more likely to break during the steaming/dum if allowed to cook fully. See post on how to fix rice if overcooked or undercooked. 
** The goal is to keep as much of the steam inside as possible.

Nutrition

Calories: 591kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 2966mg | Potassium: 562mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 495IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg