Bombay Chicken Biryani

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Description: Prepared for our Sunday lunch was Bombay Chicken Biryani. Biryani is a very beloved dish in India and works perfect for dinner parties and special occasions. There are multiple variations of biryani and everyone has their own recipe that they follow depending on where they belong in India. Bombay biryani is one such type of biryani. It is made with marinated chicken, potatoes, rice, spices, yoghurt, herbs, tomatoes and most importantly fried onions. Some people even add alu bukhara (dry plums) or prunes for that extra sweet and sour taste. It seems quite tiresome to prepare however, it is quite easy if you break down and follow three simple steps 1) Prepare the chicken 2) Prepare the rice 3) Assemble the biryani by layering the rice and chicken and cook in a closed vessel for infusion of flavours. Enjoy with mint or cucumber raita (curd) which will tone down the heat of the spicy biryani.


  • 6 medium onions, sliced

Chicken marinade:

  • 600g chicken breast, diced in to 1 inch square pieces (or drumsticks)
  • 3-4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander and mint leaves
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coriander-cumin powder
  • 2 tsp biryani masala
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder


  • 4 cups of pre washed rice soaked in 4 cups of water (for at least 30 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon

Chicken masala:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 star aniseed
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp biryani masala
  • Freshly chopped coriander and mint leaves

Assembling biryani

  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 2 tsp biryani masala
  • 2 tsp warm saffron milk
  • handful fresh coriander and mint leaves


Frying onions

  • Slice medium sized onions and fry until golden brown.

Chicken marinade

  • To diced chicken breast or drumsticks, add yoghurt,  ginger-garlic paste, fresh coriander and mint leaves, salt, lime juice, olive oil, coriander-cumin powder, biryani masala, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and some fried onions. Mix chicken well with the marinade and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.


  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add bay leaves, green cardamom pods, cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon. Sauté for a few seconds and add the soaked rice with the water. Pressure cook for 1 whistle or 10-12 minutes. Drain the water from the rice as soon as the pressure is released.

Chicken Masala:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add bay leaves, dried red chillies, green cardamom, star aniseed, cinnamon and sauté for a few seconds. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté further for a few seconds. Add diced potatoes, cover and cook for 5 minutes on low flame. Add chicken with the marinade and chopped tomatoes, mix well. Add salt, biryani masala and some freshly chopped coriander and mint leaves. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until chicken is almost cooked. Remove the lid and cook further until excess water has evaporated.

Assembling the biryani

  • Layer the bottom of a thick, flat bottomed pan with half of the cooked

 chicken and potato mix.

  • Top up with a layer of cooked rice, 1 tsp ghee, 1 tsp biryani masala, 1 tsp warm saffron milk, fried onions, fresh coriander and mint leaves.
  • Repeat these two layers one more time. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on low flame.

Servings 6

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