• 1 1/4 lbs (567 g)bone-in, cut up, skinless chicken, cleaned and excess skin removed


  • 1/2cup (115 g) plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 2tbsp Shivani’s Biryani masala
  • 1tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2-1tsp red chili powder
  • Chopped cilantro and chopped mint (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Salt

Parboiled Rice

  • 1 3/4cups (~325-350 g) aged, long grain basmati rice
  • 1 1/2tbsp kosher salt
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 3 green cardamon (crushed)
  • ½ nutmeg crushed
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds (or use regular cumin seeds if you can not find the black ones)
  • 1 Black cardamon (crushed)
  • 3-4 cloves (crushed)
  • If you do not have above mentioned whole spices please use 1 tsp biryani masala.


  • 1/4 cup oil plus more as needed
  • 2 (~400 g)medium yellow onions, thinly sliced or finely chopped


  • 6-8 (1 tbsp heaped) garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1- inch (1 tbsp heaped) ginger, crushed
  • 1 (75-80 g)small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1-2 small green chili peppers (such as Thai or Serrano), chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala or Biryani masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes, optional
  • 1 tsp Kewra essence depending on strength
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped (or sub more cilantro)
  • 1/8 tsp yellow/orange food coloring mixed with 1 tbsp milk or water (optional)


  • 1 (5-7 slices)lemon, thinly sliced


  • In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the ingredients listed under ‘marinade’. Cover and set aside or refrigerate (ideally) up to overnight. When ready to use, allow the chicken to come to room temperature.


  • Thoroughly wash the rice and soak it in water for 20 mins. Set aside.


  • Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add the oil, and onions and sauté until the onions are golden (~15-20 minutes). Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup water. Once the water dries up, add the whole spices, garlic, and ginger and sauté for another 2 minutes.


  • Add the chicken with its marinade and sauté until it changes color (~2-3 minutes). Add the tomatoes, green chili pepper and stir to coat. Add ½ cup water (the water should cover about 1/3 of the chicken) and bring to a gentle boil.


  • Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer cover, and allow the chicken to cook for 30 minutes, stirring midway. While the chicken is cooking, proceed to the next step. Turn off the heat once the chicken has cooked.



  • Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Place a medium pot over high heat and bring 7 cups (1.75 quarts) of water to a boil. Add salt, oil, Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the flame and let the rice to be cooked 90%. Now drain and add the rice.. It shouldn’t get mushy when pressed between your fingers. (See Note 1) Drain and set aside.


  • Uncover the chicken. Raise the heat to medium-high to sauté out any excess water for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, garam masala and red chili flakes for more heat (if desired). The oil will have separated from the ‘masala’. Turn off the heat. Add kewra water and lemon juice and stir to combine.


  • If needed, lightly oil the bottom of a stock/soup pot. Layer half of the drained rice. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of garam masala/biryani masala on top of the rice.
  • Add in all the chicken, and top with the remaining rice. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 tsp of biryani masala/ garam masala. Drizzle in the colored milk and oil. (Optional: Sprinkle a pinch of food coloring directly for more variation in color.) Sprinkle the cilantro leaves and mint leaves, and arrange the lemon slices on top.
  • If your pan isn’t heavy bottomed, place a heat diffuser, flat griddle, underneath the pan to diffuse the heat. Layer the lid with a kitchen cloth (or aluminum foil) and seal tightly
  • Turn on the heat to slow and allow the biryani to develop steam for 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the biryani to rest with the lid on for 30- 45 mins.
  • Garnish with mint leaves and Cilantro leaves
  • To serve, gently move on to platter with rice paddle or small plate. Serve hot with yogurt.





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