Dum Biryani – Simple Indian Chicken Biryani

Three things to be mindful of

  1. Start with browning finely chopped onion ( s)
  2. Cook the chicken slightly prior to adding the rice – do not soak the rice even a little – just wash it and add it in. The problem with most rice screw ups in Biryani is that rice gets overcooked (rarely undercooked)
  3. The entire mixture (rice + water + chicken) needs to be SEALED.  Soaked bread slices can achieve this – by adding these soaked slices to the sides of the cooking pot – and firmly pressing the lid over them.


Step 0 – Pre-Prep

  • Brown some finely chopped onions – and keep them on the side for use later.
  • Take On-Bone defrosted chicken pieces and make deep gashes in them (so the spices can seep in better).
  • Wash the rice a few times – do not leave it soaked in water –  just wash and rinse the water out.

Step 1 – Prep the main cooking pot with oil and chicken

    • Marinate the (defrosted and gasnhed) chicken in a separate container – using ginger/garlic paste, yogurt, garam masala, red chili powder (hot), elaichi powder, salt and some ghee. 
    • Add some mustard oil and ghee  combination in a cooking pot. This should be large enough to contain the chicken and the rice+water (which will be added later).
    • Add whole spices – cardamom (green and black), clove, bayleaf – to the ghee/mustard oil in the pot.
    • Add the marinated chicken to the same cooking pot.
    • Cook for just enough time to brown the outsides slightly – the inside will stay uncooked.

Step 2

Boil water in a  kettle separately.

Step 3 – Combine the Rice, Water and Chicken

  • Add the boiling water first to the pot containing the chicken and the whole spices.
  • Now, add the washed rice.
  • Add the browned onions.
  • Now add enough salt to cover the entire rice and water and onions.
  • Add some elaichi (green cardamom powder).
  • Add 2-3 sliced green chilies.
  • Add a mint leaf if you desire (optional)
  • Add some saffron if you happen to have some (also optional)

Step 4 – Seal it and set the flame on LOW

  • Once you have finished step 3, take some wet bread slices and try and SEAL the outer rim of the cooking pan. Doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it is snug once the cover is placed on it-  you should be fine.
  • Let the mixture cook on a low, very low flame for about 20 minutes. The rice and the chicken will get done together. This is why it was crucial to NOT cook the rice (or even soak the rice) at the start – since that would have enabled the rice to finish first – and get overcooked.

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