Bombay Chicken Biriyani

I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook any ingredient I get in my hand. I have already mentioned before, if it turns out really good, it immediately appears on the blog and if doesn't, I still jot down the recipe to improve it in my next trial. Most of the time, Alhamdulillah my first trials have always been good. For me, cooking is all dependent on my mood. If I am in a really good mood, whatever I cook, even if it is a simple dish, it comes out well, but if I am lousy, I just prefer keeping myself away from cooking rather than trashing the food, as simple as that...

I love it when my colleagues share their recipes with me. It gives the cook in me a push. I have already posted a couple of them that were passed onto me by my colleagues, one example being this curry. The colleague I am talking about today is my bestie in office, P. We joined with a gap of 10 months and have been together since then. I have always heard people say that women are hard to get along with each other, but I share a good rapport with the handful of female staff in my office but P tops the list hands down. Her daughter is just a few months younger to Rasha, so that bonding is also quite there. She would always keep saying how much she loathes making biriyani since it is always a tedious task. That is what pushed me to ask her for her recipe. I don't know if this is really authentic Bombay biriyani, but as far as I know, this is how P makes it and shared it with me. Yes, I did make some adjustments here and there to get to my taste but I kept the essence of her recipe. The highlight is the fragrance of safforn - just unbeatable. It is always fun to see how different biriyanis are made and how the taste is derived, but biriyanis are always biriyanis so this one was a winner as well! Off to the recipe...

Bombay Chicken Biriyani
Serves 4


For marination:
1 kg chicken, cut and cleaned
4 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

For masala:
1 tbsp oil
3 onions, sliced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/4 tbsp coriander powder
A handful coriander and mint leaves

For dum:
Ghee/oil for frying
2 onions, sliced long
15 cashews

For rice:
3 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
900 ml water
2 inch cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
2 cardamoms
8 peppercorns
4 cloves
Salt to taste
A big pinch of saffron, soaked in 1/4 cup hot water


Draw stashes on the chicken pieces. In a bowl, marinate the chicken along with all the marination ingredients and leave in the fridge overnight. 

Bring the chicken to room temperature. Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Saute onion till soft. Add the tomatoes and cook till mashed up. Add in the masala powders and leaves and saute till well fried. Add the chicken along with the marinade and cook till the chicken is almost done.

Fry the sliced onions in ghee/oil till browned. Drain and set aside. Fry the cashews till done. Set aside.

In a big saucepan, Boil water along with the whole masalas and salt. Add the rice and cook till done.
Take a part of the rice and add the saffron soaked water. Mix well.

For dum, heat a chapathi tawa. On top of the chicken masala, sprinkle half the fried onions and cashews. Put the rice along with the saffron rice and top with the remaining fried onion and cashews. Sprinkle the fried ghee all over. Cover tightly with an aluminuim foil and close the lid. Put on dum for 10-15 minutes.

For serving, open the pan, mix well to combine the rice and masala and serve warm with raita, pickle and papad!


While cooking rice, if you don't like whole spices in your biriyani, tie them in a small cloth like a pouch and drop into the water of the rice. Throw the pouch away when the rice is done. This is the way P does it. I love to see the whole masalas in my biriyani, so I skipped this step!

Labels: , , ,