Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani


Biryani holds a very special place in most of our hearts. One thing I noticed about DD was that, you take him to any restaurant, his default choice would be Biryani 🙂 I have to really convince him to get something else. Hehe..And I have realized that Biryani is dear to most Indians! This being my 50th blog(Yes, I managed to get thus far!!! Pufffff!!!!!), I thought it should be something special. And I couldn’t think of anything more special than a Biryani!

I had Hyderabadi chicken biryani after coming to US and I absolutely loved it. I love the different colors of the rice. Another thing I realized is that this biryani doesn’t have tomatoes as opposed to other biryanis I have had in the past. When you think of biryani, you would actually think that is it a tedious thing and takes a lot of time and expertise. Atleast that was my impression before I knew how easy this preparation was.

You major task is just to marinate the chicken and that’s all! That’s what determines the taste of your biryani. For making this biryani, you would need a good heavy bottomed pan with an air tight lid. If you don’t have one, trust me, buy one and it is a good investment 🙂 The biryani is cooked in dum, that is , ideally its cooked by steaming using coal. But now, we skip the ‘coal’ part of it and prepare it in steam 😉 . The flavors get slowly and evenly induced to the rice by the steam and you get this marvelous product called Chicken Dum Biryani. Here, as part of my 50th blog celebration, I have for you Hyderabadi dum biryani 🙂 Enjoy!



Chicken – 2.2 lbs or 1 kg
(To give an idea, I used 4 drumsticks and 2 thigh pieces)
Basmati rice – 4 cups ( rice cooker cup which is 160 ml)
Onion – 1 large sized
Mint leaves – 8-10 leaves
Coriander leaves – 20 strands
Saffron – 7-8 strands
Milk – 1/4 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – 2-3 pinches

For the marinade:-
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Yogurt – 2 tbsp
Lime juice – of 1/2 lime
Peppercorns – 8-10 nos
Cloves – 8 nos
Cardamom – 4 nos
Bay leaves – 2 nos
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Black cardamom – 1 no
Shah jeera – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala(optional) – 1/4 tsp
Mace – 1/2 nos
Green chilli – 3 nos
Coriander leaves – 5 strands
Mint leaves – 7-8 leaves
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 3/4 tsp)
Oil – 1 tbsp

For the rice:-
Cardamon – 2 nos
Cloves – 3 nos
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch stick
Bay leaf – 1 nos
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Lime juice – 2 tsp OR
Oil – 2 tsp


1. Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces. Don’t cut the drumstick pieces. Wash and clean them. Ensure to squeeze out all the water from chicken.
2. Marinate chicken with the ingredients mentioned under the ‘For the marinade’ section. Mix well and marinate for atleast 2 hours. Marinating and refrigerating overnight is recommended.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a pan and fry sliced onions. Sprinkle salt while frying the onions. Fry in medium-high flame till the onions turn crispy and brown.
4. Once the onions are done, strain the oil and keep aside on a kitchen towel/cheese cloth so that the extra oil/ghee can be removed.
6. In hot milk, soak the saffron strands. Keep aside for later use.
7. Wash the rice and soak in water for 30 mins. Meanwhile, in a deep pot, boil enough water required for cooking rice.
8. Into the water, put all the ingredients mentioned under ‘For the rice’ section. Oil/Lime juice will prevent the rice from sticking to each other. When you add salt, just make sure that the water tastes just as salty you would want your rice to be.
9. Once the water boils, put the soaked rice into it and wait till the rice boils. The rice will start bubbling/dangling in the water after 3-4 mins and if you crush a grain of rice, it would crush easily at this point. Remove the pot from heat and drain the water. Spread the rice on a flat surface so that it doesn’t get cooked further.
10. Now in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, layer the chicken. Place the chicken tightly packed so there is no gap between the pieces and chicken pieces touch the bottom of the pan.
11. Layer half the rice on top of the chicken. With a spoon pour half the saffron milk on the rice evenly. Also drizzle 1/2 tbsp oil onto the rice. Put half portion of fried onion on this layer of rice. Put half portion of chopped mint leaves and chopped coriander leaves also into this layer.
12. Repeat the process(step 11) for the remaining half portion of rice. Layer this rice, pour saffron milk and remaining 1/2 tbsp oil, spread the fried onion and chopped mint and coriander leaves.
13. Close the lid. It is very important to have an air tight sauce pan. If you don’t think that the lid closes tightly, then seal the lid with the help of chappati dough. This will ensure that the moisture is captured inside the pan.
14. Cook the biryani in high flame for 5 mins, in medium flame for 10 mins and in low flame for 15 mins. Remove from heat and open the lid. If you have used chappati dough, you would know that the biryani is done when the dough on the outside gets hard. You would also know that the biryani is done when a nice aroma comes out and the lid is covered with some droplets.
15. Don’t stir the rice too much while serving. The colors come out beautifully when served without mixing it much.

Serve with raita, papad and pickle.

NOTE: 1. Most people don’t get their biryani right in the very first attempt. Neither did I. One thing that can go wrong in most cases is that your chicken might get burnt. Two reasons why that can happen. Reason 1:Your saucepan isn’t air tight. So while cooking, the moisture escapes and can burn the chicken. So very important that you cover it with an air tight lid or the safest option is to seal it with chappati dough. Reason 2: Your saucepan is not heavy bottomed. Now there is a solution to that. You could use you any other pan that is heavy bottomed and place your biryani pan on top of that pan. This will prevent burning too.
2. Before layering the chicken, I usually saute the marinated chicken in a different pan(not the pan in which I plan to make the biryani). This is to take off the rawness of ginger garlic paste. This isn’t an important step though.
3. Instead of frying onions, you could use store bought fried onions and use that instead. Will save some time and effort 🙂


5 thoughts on “Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

  1. Nice post Divya 🙂 Couple of variations that you can do :
    1) You can cook rice in rice cooker . You have to use 2 – 2 1/2 cups of water for 2 cups of soaked and drained rice.
    2) You can make this in oven too instead of stove top…… you can cook it in normal aluminium pan and cover it with foil.It gives the same flavor without having to check the chicken . You can bake at 350 or 375 F for about 30 to 45min depending on your oven.

    • Thank you for the input Sushma.

      But I think I didn’t emphasis properly that the rice shouldn’t be cooked fully. It should be only half cooked.

      The oven idea. Thanks for the details. Will try that when I make in bulk.

  2. Well well..biryani..is always a tricky process to do..nd if uuhh don’t find it hectic then uuhh might b doing it wrong…I loved ur approach for the flavours chef…it was indeed another something near to god(at least for the food lover like meeh) the only thing I wud like to point out is uuhh don’t need this much of the masala going in this biryani..!!

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