Chicken Dum Biryani

Authentic and delicious Hyderabad style Chicken dum Biryani.

When we think of biryani, the first thing that comes to our mind is Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani, right? Growing up, we always had biryani every week and after coming to USA, I craved for a spicy and authentic style Hyderabadi Biryani. Its so hard to find a good restaurant style Chicken biryani here, so My husband kinda experimented and learned how to make biryani. He succeeded and now makes the most delicious biryani and this is his recipe, to be honest. But then, when the extreme kitchen takeover happened and the kitchen duty fell into my hands, the recipe got super simplified 😀 This recipe of chicken biryani is super simple and achieves that hyderabadi dum biryani taste in a very easy way at home. Any Biryani is generally served with Mirchi ka Salan, Onion Raita and sliced onions on the side.

I know that this recipe will seem very long but its more information about the process rather than the actual process. Once you get the hang of it, you will be making restaurant-grade Biryani yourself. Trust me and try it once!

Chicken Biryani with chicken drumsticks and eggs on top.

So what is Biryani? Lets start there…

Biryani is a mixed rice dish made using any meat or vegetables and rice. It is believed to be originated from the royal kitchens of Mughal empire. But now, it is famous all over the world and enjoyed by many. Biryani is also prepared in lots of variations and Hyderabad-style Dum biryani is the most popular one. Dum is a slow cooking method where meat and rice are cooked together in a sealed container to infuse the spices. By cooking slowly in its own juices, the biryani attains the natural flavor of herbs and spices, simply put, lip-smackingly delicious! 😋

Different types of Hyderabadi Biryani:

Chicken Biryani is made in two different ways. One is Kacchi Biryani, which means that the chicken is raw and layered at the bottom of thick-bottomed pan. 50% cooked rice is added on top and then everything is cooked in a slow-cooking method for an hour or so. This makes the chicken juicy and succulent and the rice perfectly grainy. Another method is called Pakki Biryani, where the chicken and rice are cooked 70% and then “dum” or slow cooked together till the flavors are infused into rice. Today, we are going to learn Pakki Biryani, after several years of trying it, this is a perfected method where the rice is not going to be mushed and the chicken is going to be the best. This is a super easy method and requires very little supervision.

Chicken Biryani with chicken drumsticks and eggs on top.

What chicken is best for chicken Biryani?

Unless you are making a chicken fry biryani or chicken 65 biryani, Please use a bone-in chicken. I am using drumsticks here because its dark meat and drumsticks taste so good in biryani. I also use a whole chicken(skin and all) cut up into big chunky pieces sometimes and that taste even better because of the extra fat from the skin. Pick your meat carefully for best results. I am using 2 pounds of chicken for 3 cups of basmati rice.

Steps to achieve the perfect Chicken Dum Biryani:

I believe, for a biryani, Process is more important than the ingredients. Biryani has 3 basic steps and if done right, you will get the best biryani ever.

Marination and preparing the base/gravy: Chicken for chicken biryani needs to be marinated for at least 4-6 hours. I prefer to do it overnight as this will be make the chicken absorb more flavors and stay more juicy and soft when cooked. I will be using Instant Pot here to make the gravy, as drumsticks cook way faster in instant pot and I don’t need to babysit my chicken. But the gravy or base can be made in a regular pan as well.

First, the marination:

Process to marinate the chicken for chicken biryani.

After 6 hours, we make the gravy:

  • Turn on the sauté mode on Instant pot and add ghee. Add whole garam masala spices to the warm ghee and sauté for a minute till they start to sizzle and beautiful aroma of spices comes out. The spices I added here are cloves, cinnamon, shah jeera, bay leaf, cardamom, star anise.
  • Add the marinated chicken and sauté for 5 min till the oil starts to ooze out.
  • If you are using eggs, put the instant pot trivet and place eggs on it.
  • Cancel Sauté mode, close the lid and set pressure cook/Manual mode for 3 minutes. When the timer is done, QPR carefully after 5 min. If you are using small pieces of chicken, reduce the sauté time to 3 minutes and pressure cook time to 1 minute. Do not add any water.
Process to cook the chicken and eggs for chicken biryani.

If you are not using Instant pot for gravy:

  • Heat a pan on medium heat and add ghee. Add whole garam masala spices to the warm ghee and sauté for a minute. The spices I use are cloves, cinnamon, shah jeera, bay leaf, cardamom, star anise.
  • Add the marinated chicken and sauté for 15-20 min till the oil starts to ooze out and chicken is almost cooked 70%
  • If you are using eggs, Boil the eggs separately in a sauce pan or Instant pot.

An optional Step:

  • Put cuts on the eggs and Fry them in a bit of oil, salt and chilli powder.
  • Soak Saffron in little warm water to get orange color in biryani. Food color can be added to get the orange effect.

2. Make Rice: Biryani rice needs to be super fluffy and should scatter like pearls. Mushy rice is just not allowed, period. I like using Royal Chef’s Secret Extra long grain Basmati rice to attain that pearl like texture. The aroma is so amazing, that you can eat the rice as is.

  • Wash and soak the rice for at least an hour.
  • First boil a pot of water, add salt, 2 tbsp butter, cardamom and a bay leaf. There is no measure for water. Just a large pot more than half way filled. The water should be salty like sea water. The butter makes sure the rice doesn’t stick.
  • Add rice and boil for 5-6 minutes or until the rice is almost 70% done. We do not need to cook the rice completely. The rice should still have a bite to it but almost cooked. Check the salt in rice and add more if needed.
  • Drain the rice and let the water drain out completely. Do you see how flaky the rice is?
Preparing rice for Biryani.

3. Dum the biryani: Now comes the part where the action is. Dum is an integral part of biryani and I use my Conventional Oven to slow cook the biryani and infuse the spices and flavors together. These are trays I use in the oven to “Dum” my biryani. You can use any flat dish you have.

Trays used for chicken biryani.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Apply some butter/ghee to a large flat tray and pour the chicken gravy at the bottom.
  • Add a handful of fried onions on the rice and add chopped cilantro.
  • Spread the rice on top of the gravy.
  • Add a handful of fried onions on the rice and add chopped cilantro again.
  • Next, Add a couple more tablespoons of butter or ghee, place eggs in rice.
  • Add saffron water and I also added orange color mixed in water for more added effect. This is completely optional.
  • Seal it with aluminum foil and bake on the top rack of oven for 40-45 minutes.
  • Open it up after its done and mix it gently to mix the gravy through the rice.
Process to layer the rice and chicken and dum the biryani.

Alternate ways to “Dum” your Egg biryani:

After the first two steps are done i.e. Making the gravy and making rice, we can dum the biryani in two easy ways.

On the stove top:

  • Use a heavy bottomed pot to make the gravy. Turn off the flame and in the same pot, Add the layers of rice, eggs, cilantro and fried onion.
  • Now put a cast iron griddle or a heavy flat pan on the stove top and turn the heat on to low flame. I use this Cast iron griddle.. its super heavy!
  • Put the prepared layered pot on the griddle and cover the pot with a clean cloth/kitchen towel. Put the lid on tightly and Wrap the towel around the lid. Traditionally, dough is used to seal the container. But here I don’t let the steam escape by using a cloth.
  • Dum or slow cook like this for 40-45 minutes on very low heat, basically like slow-cooking.
Stove top method to dum the biryani.

In the Instant pot:

Instant pot works great for those small portions of instant cravings for biryani. I say small portions because I would like to keep the rice intact and don’t mush it while mixing. But still, I love my instant pot version dum biryani too because I don’t have to keep checking if the biryani is burning at the bottom. Here’s how its done:

  • Make the chicken gravy in the pot as mentioned above. Quick pressure release carefully and Remove the eggs. Run them under cold water and peel them when they are cool enough to handle.
  • Boil rice separately on stove-top and drain it.
  • Layer rice on the gravy and then fried onion, cilantro, eggs and butter and close the Instant pot lid.
  • Turn off sauté mode and turn on Slow cook mode. Slow cook (or Dum) the biryani for 40-45 minutes and done!

“Good to know” stuff before making a Biryani:

How does a good biryani look like?

Biryani rice has to look separate and should scatter like pearls. Mushy rice in biryani is just not right. The color of the biryani depends on your gravy, your chili powder and basically how you mix the rice. You have to be very very gentle when mixing the biryani, just fluff it and don’t rush with the mixing, even though your family is starving 😁

Basic stuff we need for biryani:
  1. A good basmati rice, the aroma of basmati rice just sets it apart. I like using Royal Chef’s Secret Extra long grain Basmati rice to attain that pearl like texture.
  2. Fried onions: They are easily available in stores or amazon. If you cannot find fried onion, you can make it yourself. Just dust them with a light coating of corn flour or all-purpose flour and fry them in oil till they are golden brown. We fry them in the Air fryer too sometimes and they turn out just fine.
  3. A little bit of mint
  4. lots of cilantro or coriander leaves
  5. Plain Yogurt
  6. Whole garam masala spices. If you don’t have a whole lot of spices, we can manage with only cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
Which method is better? Stove-top/Instant pot or in the Oven?

As I said, Dum biryani is about the process. As long as you can Dum it someway, any method will work. I have tried all the methods and they all provide good results.

Ratio of gravy and chicken to rice:

The biryani will work better if the gravy is 1/3 of the cooked rice. That will make each bite as flavorful as the next. I am using 2 pounds or about 1 kg of chicken for 3 cups of basmati rice.

How to serve biryani?

Hyderabadi Biryani is served with Mirchi ka salan and Onion raita with onion and lemon slices on the side.

Difference between biryani and pulao/pulav:

And last question which I think is the most important of all. Biryani and pulao are almost interchangeable but with a ton of difference in the grain texture. Dum Biryani is cooked in layers in a slow cook process where as pulao is meat/vegetable cooked all together with rice. Biryani which is slow-cooked with the juices of the meat/vegetables will taste entirely different than the pulao which is cooked together with the vegetables/meat. Try it once and you will see the difference.

Mirchi ka salan Recipe to accompany Chicken Dum Biryani:

A good Hyderabad style dum biryani is always accompanied by Mirchi ka salan. The rich, creamy and tangy gravy goes perfectly well with biryani. Please click the below picture for the Mirchi ka salan recipe.

Mirchi ka salan with Chilies on top of Curry.

Lets get to the recipe then:

Chicken Dum Biryani

Recipe by Blissful Bites by TayCourse: Rice/Grain DishesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time in Instant pot

10

minutes
Cooking time for rice on stove-top

30

minutes
Marination time

6

hours
Dum time

45

Minutes

Authentic and Spicy Hyderabadi style Chicken dum Biryani

Ingredients

Method

  • Marinating the chicken:
  • Clean the chicken and put cuts on drumsticks, so that the masalas seep in.
  • Then, we add ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, green chilies, mint-coriander, plain yogurt, Salt, Turmeric, Red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and fried onion.
  • Let the chicken marinate in refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.
  • After 4-6 hours of marination, making the gravy:
  • Wash and Soak the basmati rice for 30-60 minutes.
  • Soak the saffron in warm water.
  • If you using a pan to cook the chicken, check the steps above the recipe card. If you are using Instant pot, Turn on the sauté mode on Instant pot and add ghee. Add whole garam masala spices to the warm ghee and sauté for a minute. Add cloves, cinnamon, shah jeera, bay leaf, cardamom, star anise.
  • Add the marinated chicken and sauté for 5 min till the oil starts to ooze out.
  • If you are using eggs, put the instant pot trivet and place eggs on it.
    Cancel Sauté mode, close the lid and set pressure cook/Manual mode for 3 minutes, QPR carefully after 5 min. If you are using small pieces of chicken, reduce the sauté time to 3 minutes and pressure cook time to 1 minute.
  • Once the pressure is released, peel the eggs once cooled and set it aside.
  • Making the rice:
  • Boil a large pot of water, add salt, 2 tbsp butter, cardamom and a bay leaf. There is no measure for water. Just a large pot more than half way filled. The water should be salty like sea water. The butter makes sure the rice doesn’t stick.
  • Add rice and boil for 5-6 minutes or until the rice is almost 70% done. We do not need to cook the rice completely. The rice should still have a bite to it but almost cooked. Check the salt in rice and add more if needed.
  • Drain the rice and let the water drain out completely.
  • Dum/Slow cook in Conventional Oven:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F . Apply some butter/ghee to a large flat tray and pour the chicken gravy at the bottom.
  • Add a handful of fried onions on the rice and add chopped cilantro.
  • Spread the rice on top of the gravy.
  • Add a handful of fried onions on the rice and add chopped cilantro again.
  • Add butter and place eggs in rice.
  • Add saffron water, Seal it with aluminum foil and bake on the top rack for 40-45 minutes.
  • Open it up after its done and mix it gently to mix the gravy through the rice.

Notes

  • Please go through my post in detail and you can find pictures for each step.
  • I have noted down 3 kinds of methods we can “dum” the biryani above the recipe card. One in conventional oven, in instant pot and on the stove-top. Please see the details for all the methods with pictures above the recipe card.
  • Follow the “Good to know” stuff and you will learn a lot of things to make an amazing biryani. Do not skip this.
  • Biryani is served with mirchi ka salan and raita. Me and my daughter like to eat it plain with raw onion.
  • I am using 2 pounds or about 1 Kg of chicken for 3 cups of rice. This recipe can be easily doubled.
  • You dont have to use an Instant pot to make the gravy. Chicken can be cooked in a regular pan too. Please check above for more detailed instructions.

For more biryani recipes, click below:

Chicken Biryani with chicken drumsticks and eggs on top.

I know this description and post will seem really long but trust me, this is a very easy method. Your family and friends will be in awe when you make this for them. Please let me know if you have any questions and if you try the recipe. We would love to hear from you!

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