Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

Biryani is one of the most popular dishes in Hyderabad, India. To make Hyderabadi Biryani, the meat and the rice are cooked in an air tight pot on very low flame, so that the rice is cooked in the flavors of meat and gets the aroma of the meat. The meat gets the direct heat from the flame and the rice is cooked with steam generated by the air tight method of cooking, also known as Dum method. It is a length process but the taste is worth going thru the elaborate process.

There are two ways to prepare Hyderabadi Biryani. One is, precooked meat method and the other is raw meat method. In both the methods, meat and half cooked rice are arranged in layers, and cooked until the rice and the meat are fully cooked. For Chicken Biryani, I use the raw meat method and for Mutton Biryani I use the precooked meat method.

Total Time: 1 hours
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (excludes marination time)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-5

The measuring cup used here is the cup that comes with the rice cooker, which is 160ml.

2 lbs Chicken cut up into 2” pieces
½ cup Yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
2 – 3 tsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Coriander Powder
12 small Chilies split into two
1 cup chopped Mint Leaves
1 cup chopped Cilantro
½ tsp Turmeric
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Garam Masala Powder
10 Pepper Corns
10 Coves
½ tsp Cardamom Seeds
½ tsp Sahajeera or Black Cumin
1” Cinnamon Stick
1 Large Onion sliced
1 cup Oil
½ tsp of saffron strands
½ cup milk
4 cups Basmati Rice soaked for 30 minutes
Spices for boiling rice
6 Cardamoms
3 Cloves
2 Bay Leaves
1 Bay Flower or Biryani Flower
1 tsp Sahajeera
½ tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tbsp of Oil
First Full of Salt

Clean the chicken and cut it into 2” pieces. Wash the chicken and squeeze all the water from it. This is very important that you squeeze all the water away from the pieces or put it a colander to let water drain away.
Grind all the ingredients listed under garam masala to a fine powder.
Mix all the ingredients of the marinade and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
In pan heat oil and fry the onions until light golden brown.
Soak saffron in hot milk.
In a big pot bring water to a boil, add all the spices for boiling rice and mix well.
Add rice and continue to cook until you get a one good boil, i.e rice should roll over with boiling water. It takes about 2 ½ – 3 minutes on my stove. Drain the rice and keep aside.

One good boil after adding rice
Now its time to arrange chicken and rice in layers, one layer of chicken and two layers of rice. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, pour ½ the oil at the bottom, arrange the chicken pieces and sprinkle some oil on top of the chicken.

Arrange ½ the boiled rice on the chicken pieces, sprinkle some oil, ½ the fried onions and ½ the saffron milk.

Repeat the above step for the last layer, I.e, arrange the last layer of rice. Spread the rest of the rice, sprinkle all the oil, fried onions and the saffron milk.
Now, we need to seal the the container and make it air tight so that the steam doesn’t escape when we cook. In India, flour dough or a big cloth is used to seal the container and the cover together. Here, I use an aluminum sheet. take 2 sheets of aluminum foil (the sheets should be bigger than the diameter of the sauce pan) and place it on top of the sauce pan and then cover it with the lid. We will have aluminum sheets between the pan and its lid. Since we took the sheets bigger than the diameter of the pan, we will use that to seal the pan and the lid.
Put a heavy object (motor pesto or heavy pan or skillet) on the top of the container, so that the steam doesn’t escape easily.

Cooking dum biryani with a sealed sauce pan and a heavy object on it
Cook biryani for 8-10 minutes on high until stream escapes from the foil seal. Then reduce the flame to medium low and continue to cook for another 20 minutes. 
 Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before opening it.

Mix the rice and serve it hot with raita or chicken shorva or mutton shorva.


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