Sunday, 22 December 2013

Chicken dum biriyani

To post or not to post? The taste of this dish has nothing to do with this dilemma. Fortunately the chicken dum biriyani here is of my father's and I have to say, he has perfected this one over the years. The main reason I was hesitant before writing this post clearly lies in the recipe length and ingredients list. The ingredient needed and directions are a bit too long and it requires a tad more patience, to write as well as to make it :)

Me being lazy to the core, very rarely attempt to make dum biriyani. It is always N or my parents who take the responsibility of cooking this rich dish at home. I have to say, they are pretty good at it. This recipe is easily adaptable and can be changed according to taste,especially spice level. If using tender chicken, there is no need to pressure cook it and can be added directly to the masala before keeping in dum (steam cooking the rice with vegetables and meat in a sealed vessel). 
Chicken dum biriyani recipe:
Ingredients required:

1. Main ingredients:
1 1/2 kg skinless chicken, cleaned and cut into desired pieces
3 cup biriyani /long grain /basmati rice
4 ½ cup boiling water / chicken stock to cook the rice
Water to pressure cook chicken
Salt to taste
2. To marinate for one hour:
1 ¼ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp salt
3. Green masala paste
2 large red onions, thinly sliced and caramelized
10-12 cloves of garlic
5 small ginger pieces 
5-6 green chilies (adjust according to taste)
½ bunch coriander (10-15 stem and leaves
¼ bunch mint (leaves)
4. To fry
Handful of cashew nuts and raisins
1 tsp vegetable oil + 1 tsp ghee
5. Whole masala for cooking rice:
3 black cardamom pods
2 bay leafs
6-8 cloves
1 big stick of cinnamon
2-3 mace
12-15 black pepper corns (according to taste)
1 tbsp ghee + 1 tbsp vegetable oil
6. Masala for biriyani:
1 big red onion, sliced
2 large tomatoes, blanched and pureed
¾ tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp red chilli powder (according to taste)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp Meat masala / biriyani masala
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp vegetable oil + 1 tsp ghee
7. Garnish:
Fresh mint and coriander leaves
Caramelized onion
2 drops vanilla essence
Lemon juice
A pinch of saffron in 3 tbsp warm milk, to infuse color
Marinate the chicken pieces for an hour with the ingredients mentioned in step 2(pepper powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt). Cover and keep in refrigerator.

If the chicken is not tender, pressure cook the pieces for one whistle. The water level should be just enough to cover the whole pieces (the bird will release water once it starts cooking). Retain the stock for cooking rice. If using tender chicken, this step can be omitted.

Meanwhile, soak the rice in water for half an hour. Then thoroughly wash the rice, till the water runs clear. Drain the water and  spread the rice grains on a clean kitchen towel or absorbent paper to remove the excess water.

To a large pot, add 1tbsp ghee and 1tbsp vegetable oil mentioned in step 5. Once the mix heat up, stir in the whole masala (cardamom, cinnamon, mace, cloves, bay leaves and pepper corns) and fry for a couple of minutes till a nice aroma arises. Don't forget to stir continuously. Now, add the drained rice to the whole masala and saute for a few minutes till the grains change start to change color. To check the texture, take a grain of rice and if the middle cracks into two, then it's time to add water. Pour boiling water  or chicken stock (4 1/2 cup) required to cook the rice. For 1 cup rice, 11/2 cup boiling water / stock is the ratio. Season the water with salt. Cook the rice till 3/4th done and the water is evaporated. We pressure cooked the rice for one whistle.

To a large sauce pan, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp ghee. Once the oil and ghee are hot enough, add a handful of cashew nuts(Step 4) and stir fry till golden. Remove the nuts from heat and to the same pan, fry a handful of raisins till they are golden. Remove the raisins from the pan.

To the same pan, caramelize the thinly sliced onions (step 3). Add more 1 tbsp oil if necessary When the slices are caramelized and golden brown, remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled down, blend the onions along with the rest of the green masala ingredients (step 3) together to make a fine paste.

To dum the biriyani, take a large vessel and heat oil and ghee, 1 tbsp each. Once it is hot enough, add the sliced onion (step 6) and saute till translucent. Add the green masala paste (step 3) from the previous paragraph and cook till the raw smell leaves. Blend in the pureed tomatoes and cook for around 8-10 minutes till the paste is reduced down and oil floats on top. Now stir in all the masalas mentioned in step 6. If the mixture is too dry, a few table spoons of hot water or chicken stock can be added. Add the chicken pieces and stir constantly so that the pieces are well-coated in the masala. Season with salt. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Uncover the vessel and layer the cooked rice on the chicken pieces. On top of the first layer of rice, add fried cashews, raisins, caramelized onions (garnish) and freshly chopped coriander and mint. Add one more rice layer and repeat the process till the whole rice and garnish is used up. If using saffron, drizzle a few soaked strands and milk over the rice before adding the garnish. Cover the vessel completely and seal the edges with dough to prevent steam from escaping. Cook in a low medium flame for around 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and garnish with fresh coriander and mint, a few drops of vanilla essence and lemon juice. Serve hot with raita and pickle. After the rich and heavy main, this carrot payasam will be a perfect dessert. 


  1. This is indeed a very long recipe but every bit is important. Glad you shared this recipe, Raji. I'd love to refer to this when I make biryani...doesn't happen often but I love the taste!
    Merry Christmas to you too! And thank you for the suggestion you made in your comment on my blog.:)

    1. You are always welcome, Kanak :) Dum biriyani requires a lot of patience to make, but in the end it taste just amazing..Merry Christmas!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing, I love eating chicken biriyani - I hope one day I will gather the courage to cook it:)