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Secrets of Making Perfect Authentic Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe


Best Chicken Biryani Recipe

There exists a beautiful city by the name of Hyderabad in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India, a city where religion, culture and philosophy have attained their culminating points. Also referred to as the "City of Pearls" sometimes, Hyderabad has for many years, taken pride in its food culture, ancient Mughalai cuisine, and culinary arts. Even in the modern day, if you take a walk during Ramadan in a busy area, the smells emanating from the local food joints will magically lure you into stopping for a bite before continuing the rest of your shopping. Although there are numerous mouth-watering dishes that come to mind when you think of Mughalai cuisine,

Hyderabadi Biryani tops the list. It is a delicious and healthy dish, which can serve as a main course at a party, be the dinner for your family, or the perfect comfort food on a lazy day in front of the TV. The recipe that is listed here is one that I derived on my own after trying various different ones that are prevalent. It’s not complicated and gives you the best results even if you have some minor ingredients missing. After doing it twice, I can now make it without referring to any recipes, yes it’s that easy, and tastes just like the ones in Indian restaurants or even better, according to my husband.

Here is the list of ingredients that you will need, I have written some notes in parentheses next to the ones that you can ignore if you don't have them available in your kitchen.

Hyderabadi Biryani - Recipe for four Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes

Tandoor chicken masala

1) Chicken - 4 lean breasts (you can use legs too, I just like lean meat better)
2) Rice - 4 cups
3) Yoghurt - 4 cups
4) Tandoori Chicken masala - 3 tbsp ( Best if you have it, if not you can substitute the quantity with garam masala or rasam powder or sambhar powder, or curry powder)
5) Garam Masala - 4 tbsp
6) Ginger garlic paste - 6 tbsp ( You can use garlic powder, minced garlic, and ginger powder too)
7) Vegetable oil - 10 tbsp
8) Turmeric powder - 4 tbsp
9) Whole cinnamon, cardamom, bayleaves - 4 of each; cloves - 12 ( These ingredients will give the best results, if you don't have them however, you can ignore these, if you have cinnamon powder, you can one tsp in the marinade, and 1 tsp while boiling rice)
10) Onions - 3 large
11) Tomatoes - 3 medium to large
12) Red chili powder - 2 tbsp ( According to your taste)
13) Cumin seeds - 3 tbsp
14) Saffron - 3 to 4 threads ( If you don't have Saffron, don't sweat, I almost never have it ;) )
15) Coriander leaves (minor)
16) Mint leaves (minor)
17) Salt - 2 tbsp


1) Cut the chicken in big pieces, wash and wipe the water off and place it in a big bowl.

2) Add the yogurt to the chicken.

3) Add 4 tbsp of vegetable oil, 2 tbsp of turmeric powder, 1 tbsp of red chili powder, 3 tbsp of tandoori chicken masala, 2 tbsp of garam masala, whole cinnamon, cardamom, bayleaves, cloves, 1.5 tbsp of cumin seeds, 3 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, 2 tbsp of garam masala and 1 tbsp of salt.

4) Mix all these ingredients together with the chicken, and cover and keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can keep the marinated chicken in the freezer if you would like to use it at a later date, the more time the chicken remains marinated, the better it is for our recipe. I usually marinate my chicken for 2 to 3 hours before cooking, for a party however, I would marinade it a day or two in advance.

Marinated chicken

Marinated chicken

1) Cut the onions into thin slices and divide them into half.

2) Cut the tomatoes into medium sized chunks and keep aside.

3) Wash and soak the rice. The rice should be soaked for thirty minutes before boiling, so time it accordingly.

4) Fry half the sliced onions in a pan till they are dark brown and crisp, and keep them aside after wiping off the extra oil with a napkin.

5) Finely chop the mint and coriander leaves, and keep aside.

Fried dark brown crisp onions:



I would advise you to use a large heavy bottomed skillet which has a tight lid, if you don't have that, use a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, if you don't have a tight lid, you can use a clean kitchen cloth underneath the lid as shown in the picture. The idea is to not let the steam escape and let the half-cooked rice and chicken cook inside the pot with the steam and the wonderful aromas of the ingredients. Also, this is the trickiest part of the biryani, although very easy, if not timed right, you may end up with burnt or overcooked chicken at the bottom. Mughalai cuisine is famous for getting the best flavors and aromas out of the spices, by slowly cooking the food and thereby retaining its nutrients, no wonder all the dishes taste so majestic and rich. Just follow the steps below and you will have the best results in your own kitchen.

1) Heat 6 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet or pan.

2) Add the rest of the cumin seeds to the hot oil.

3) When the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the rest of the onions to the oil, be careful because the oil is very hot and may jump a little when you add the onions. Keep stirring the onions once in a while till they turn light golden brown or translucent.

4) Add the rest of the ginger garlic paste and mix into the onions while stirring.


5) Once the onions and the gg paste becomes golden brown, add the rest of the turmeric powder, garam masala, red chili powder, half cup of water and mix thoroughly in the pot. Keep cooking this mixture for about 6 to 7 minutes on a medium flame, while stirring once in a while, and make sure to add little amounts of water to scrape of any residues that stick at the bottom of the pan.

6) While the onions and the spices are cooking, we need to prepare the water for the rice. Take a medium sized pot and fill it with water, add 2 tsp of salt and place it on the stove with the lid on, on a high flame. The water should take about 10 minutes to come to a rolling boil, meanwhile you can follow step 7.

7) The mixture will be cooked when it starts to leave oil on the sides, as shown in the picture. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir nicely and cover the pot with the lid and let it cook the tomatoes for about 2 minutes.

8) Take the lid off; add 1 tbsp of salt and half cup of water to scrape any residue off the bottom. Cover the lid and let the tomatoes cook to a pulp for about 4 to 5 minutes.

This is our biryani masala.


9) Add the chicken to the pot with the masala and mix it well so the masala is uniformly mixed with the chicken, add one cup of water to the pot and cover the lid and let the chicken cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on a medium flame.

10) By this point, the water for the rice should be boiling. Add the soaked rice in the water and wait for about 6 to 8 minutes. When the rice starts to jump in the water (about half cooked), turn the flame off and strain the rice while draining off all the excess water.

11) Take the strainer with the rice and spread it over the chicken and the masala.

12) Sprinkle mint and coriander leaves and the fried onions over the rice. If you have saffron, soak it in a cup of lukewarm milk for about 5 minutes and pour it over the rice, this will give a beautiful orange color to some rice grains, giving the biryani its brilliant colorful look.


13) Cover the pot with the lid, or with the towel and the lid as shown. Cook it on a medium flame for 5 minutes, and then on a slow flame for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not open the pot in between because you do not want to let the steam escape.


Biryani is known for its wonderful smell and the beauty of the different colored rice grains. There is another way of cooking the biryani which I will write about later. It’s not very different other than the layering method and the much known dum-pukht style of cooking. Raita is the major accompaniment for Biryani, as are some other gravy dishes like Bagara Baingan, I usually whip up a quick Raita by adding grated cucumber, roasted cumin powder and salt to some yoghurt. I hope you like the recipe; do leave your comments in the section below.

Curry Paste


Nishtha on October 14, 2016:

Thanks for your recipe my kitchen smells wow when I cook heyderabadi chicken biryani

Gautam on July 12, 2014:

Who puts 4 tablespoons of Turmeric in any dish ??!! I tried this with just 4 TEA spoons of turmeric and my tongue is still burning.

purviz anjum on July 10, 2014:


Hope you must have recovered your health God bless you.

i have tried many type of biryani, your described ingredients are same but quantities are bit high in your recipe and those are be going to make something deferent i guess!!! and tandoori masala too, but don’t you think few ingredients are missing in to your awesome biryani like jaephal and mace or javitri, kewda, and mint leaves along coriander leaves too ??? Please reply

Note: since you have given excellent detailed demonstration, my asked ingredients might be not matching in your recipe , but i still want to learn Urmila.

please write me on


sd on April 09, 2014:

hi urmila, this looks wonderful and easy to prepare. since i have never made biryani please can you advise how much kg chicken should be taken for this recipe. thanks

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 13, 2013:

Sorry for the delay response, being not as active as I should be due to my health issue. Thanks for visiting and reading the article.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 24, 2013:

I enjoy this kind of meal, but don't make as often, thanks for the recipe

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on July 18, 2012:

Glad to know you love biryani and off course your mother will make the best one for dinner. Take care Vinaya.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on July 18, 2012:

I love biryani. Maybe I should ask my mother to make biryani for dinner.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on April 24, 2012:

daisynicolas, thanks for choosing the dish to make this summer. I am sure you will love it.

daisynicolas from Alaska on April 24, 2012:

I'll be making this dish at the lodge this summer, so thanks for the tips from a direct true source.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on April 14, 2012:

Thank you so much for dropping by and nice comments. Have a great weekend!

Sneha - Hyderabad on April 13, 2012:

Thnkyou so much its such beautiful and delicious reciepe I really loved it

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on April 10, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and nice comments,Denisemai.

Denise Mai from Idaho on April 09, 2012:

Looks delish! I'll have to give it a try. :-)

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 29, 2012:

I am glad you liked this recipe. Thanks for stopping by and comments.

Vasanthan R Menon from India on March 29, 2012:

now i know how to make one of my favourite dishes.....not that I am going to start making Will certainly give a print of the same to my wife....thanks for the hub

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 14, 2012:

Indian Chef, thank you so much for stopping by and your kind words. I really appreciate it.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 14, 2012:

I have just noticed that I replied on your comments but did not mention your name, seanorjohn.

See below. This is a correction for that. Sorry.

urmilashukla23 Hub Author 3 days ago

Thank so much for stopping by and your nice comments. Yes, I did not made a video this time. But when I cook next, I will. Thanks for this suggestion.

You are funny!

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on March 14, 2012:

Biryani is one of my Favourite. The rich aromas of biryani, the meat ( mutton or chicken) and the rice, along with all the ingredients just wonderful and your recipe is really very very good.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 11, 2012:

Thank so much for stopping by and your nice comments. Yes, I did not made a video this time. But when I cook next, I will. Thanks for this suggestion.

You are funny!

seanorjohn on March 11, 2012:

This is one of my favourite dishes. Great hub and detail. Did you know you can now upload a video showing people how to do this stuff. Just noticed this new feature today. Voted up and useful.

I really must start writing some useful hubs instead of my usual nonsense.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 11, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and nice comments,Peggy W. I really appreciate it.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 11, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and nice comments, jojokaya. I really appreciate it.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 11, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and nice comments, Docmo. I really appreciate it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2012:

I'll bet that your house smells heavenly when this is being made! Sounds delicious. Thanks for your step by step photos and recipe. Up and useful votes.

jojokaya from USA on March 11, 2012:

I love biryani. Thanks for the recipe

Mohan Kumar from UK on March 05, 2012:

This is a great and easy to follow recipe. I do love a Hyderabadi Biriyani as I grew up in South India before moving to UK. This does sound delicious- I am going to give it a go soon.voted up!

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 03, 2012:

Thank you so much for stopping by and feedback alocsin. Enjoy your weekend weekend!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 03, 2012:

Wow, I love biryanis and this sounds excellent. Voting this Up and Useful.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 02, 2012:

Thank you for stopping by and your comments rjsadowski. I really appreciate it. Take care.

rjsadowski on March 02, 2012:

A great hub and well laid out. I will save this recipe for a later date when I can do it justice.

Urmila (author) from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 01, 2012:

Thanks for your vote and comments biancaalice. I am glad that you liked the recipe. Take care.

biancaalice from Southern California on March 01, 2012:

Oh man this sounds so tastey. I think I might try this on saturday night for dinner. Thanks so much

Voted up & useful.

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