- Chicken (2 – 3 lbs with bone or boneless skinless thighs)
- Basmati Rice (3 cups)
- Onions (5 large thinly sliced)
- Tomatoes (2 diced)
- Cashew nuts (optional 20 – 30)
- Raisins (optional 20 – 30)
- Saffron (a pinch optional)
- Milk (3-4 tablespoons optional)
- Ginger-Garlic paste (2 tablespoons)
- Chili Powder (2 tablespoons)
- Coriander Powder (2 tablespoon)
- Turmeric Powder (2 teaspoon)
- Garam Masala (1 tablespoon)
- Cumin seeds (1/2 tablespoon)
- Cardamom (3-4)
- Cinnamon (1 stick)
- Cloves (2-3)
- Bay Leaf (2)
- Star Anise (1)
- Yogurt (1 cup)
- Lemon Juice (1/2 lemon)
- Cilantro (chopped)
- Vegetable Oil
- Salt (to taste)
Marinate the chicken with salt, a teaspoon of turmeric, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste, yogurt and lemon juice and leave it for at least 30 minutes. If you can do this overnight even better.
Rinse the rice couple of times and soak it in water for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot add 6 cups of water, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, star anise and salt and bring it boil.
Drain the water from the rice and add it to the boiling water and cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until the rice is completely cooked and fluffy. Pass the rice through a strainer to drain the excess water.
In a pan, add some vegetable oil and add 3 sliced onions and fry it till it has a golden brown shade. You can also do it in batches. Using a skimmer take out the onions and drain any oil and place it on a paper towel and sprinkle it with some salt.
In the same pan, add the cashew nuts and fry for a minute or two till it has a brown shade (add more oil if required) and then scoop it out and put it over paper towel. If you’re using raisins do the same with it but raisins would take just 20 – 30 seconds.
In another pan, add some oil and then add cumin and add the remaining onions. Cook it till the onions turn translucent and then add the ginger-garlic paste, cook it for 30 seconds till the raw smell of the paste goes away.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook it till the tomatoes become mushy. Now add all the spices turmeric, chili, coriander and garam masala and cook it for another minute or two.
Now, add the chicken into the pan and mix it all well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook it for 10 minutes. The chicken should start oozing water. Add a cup of warm water and cook it for another 15-20 minutes till chicken is cooked all the way through and most of the water from the gravy is evaporated. Finish off the chicken with some chopped cilantro.
In a pan bring the milk to boil and then add the saffron and turn off the heat and let it rest. This step is optional.
To assemble the biryani, you need a large pot. Put it on the hob over low flame and warm it up and then add a teaspoon of ghee (you can use oil if you don’t prefer ghee). Layer the pan with rice followed by a layer of chicken then drizzle in another layer of rice, follow this up with fried onions, cashews, raisins and fresh mint leaves and also drizzle some saffron milk over. Repeat till you’ve used all the all the rice and chicken and other ingredients or if the pan is full.
Cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking on a low flame for 10 – 15 minutes.
For serving, open the lid and using a wooden spoon gently stir all the layers together and serve with some yogurt and mango pickle (achar).