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The national dish of Pakistan - Chicken Biryani

Recipe: The national dish of Pakistan - Chicken Biryani

Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4



  • 250 g rice preferably basmati rice that has been soaked for 30 min
  • 600 ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 whole cardamom
  • salt

The gravy

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 125 ml canola oil
  • 1 large potato optional
  • 3 whole cardamom
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 500 g yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500 g chicken you can also use lamb, beef or prawns
  • 5 dried plums soaked
  • 3 green chilies or jalapeños
  • 25 g fresh cilantro ½ cup chopped
  • 25 g fresh mint ½ cup chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp saffron dissolved in 3 tbsp of warm milk


The Rice:

  • In a deep non-stick pot combine the rice, water, salt and rice spices. Cook on high flame, when it starts boiling reduce the flame to medium, let it simmer under a lid until rice is cooked (around 20 min)
  • Strain the rice, and keep aside

The Gravy:

  • Slice the onion finely and cut the tomatoes in cubes
  • While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and fry the cubed potato first if you are including it, then set the fried potato aside
  • Then add whole spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorn, and bay leaf) to the pan with the oil together with sliced onion. Fry until the onions turns golden
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Sauté on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add yogurt, salt and chicken. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the gravy is thick and oil separates.

For Assembling:

  • In a deep non-stick pan or pot, transfer half of the cooked rice, spreading it evenly.
  • Ladle all the gravy evenly over rice, followed by fried potatoes, soaked plums, green chilies, chopped cilantro and mint, then sprinkle with lemon juice.
  • Add the remaining half of the rice, spread it evenly, and sprinkle with saffron milk.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the lid.
  • Place the pan on non-stick girdle, and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer on serving plate and garnish with fried onion, and chopped mint and coriander. You can also use boiled eggs (in halves), fried raisins and nuts.

Serving suggestion:

  • Yogurt and vegetable salad: Chop some red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and mint, add yoghurt. Season with salt.
  • Salsa: Chop some tomatoes, red onions, jalapeño and parsley. Add lime juice and season with salt.