Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to have Biryani enough to want to make it myself. In fact it is one of the dishes I never considered making. But for some odd reason, I suddenly felt like making it and started watching videos about making Hyderabadi Biryani incessantly.

Done and ready to dig in

Of course, I am making a couple of modifications along the way. For example, the majority of recipes suggested having uncooked marinated chicken as the bottom layer. I decided to cook it slightly in ghee with sautéed onions and whole spices. A lot of recipes added the spices to the water meant for boiling rice. I used some while boiling rice and some directly in the oil I used for cooking chicken.

Just unveiled

So without further ado, here’s what I did.

Phase 1: Marinate the chicken

Ingredients: 250 gms chicken, 200 gms curd, 2 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric, a handful of finely chopped mint leaves, a handful of crispy fried onion, 2-3 slit green chillies, 1 t 1/2 tsp each of coriander powder, cumin powder and 1 tsp  chili powder and fennel seed powder.

Method: I mixed all the ingredients together well and left the chicken to marinate overnight.

Ready for the fridge

Phase 2: Cook the chicken and parboil the rice


1 1/2 cup basmati rice soaked in water for at least 20 minutes, 2 tbsp ghee, 5-7 pepper corns, 4 green cardamom pods, 2 black cardamom pods, 5 cloves, 1 1/2 tsp shahi jeera, some mace, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 threads of saffron mixed in 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup fried brown onion, a handful each of finely chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves


1. Heat ghee in a non-stick thick bottomed pan, half of the shahi jeera, 2 green cardamom pods, 2 cloves, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, mace, 1 pod of black cardammom and 1 bay leaf.

2. When the warm spice smells start emanating from the pan, throw in half a cup of finely chopped onions.

It’s already smelling like Biryani

3. Once the onions turn soft and translucent, add the marinated chicken and mix well.

4. Let the chicken cook for 5-6 minutes.

Bottom layer ready!


1. Boil 4-5 cups of water, add salt and the rest of the whole spices.

2. Once the water is boiling, add the rice. Stir gently to avoid breaking the grains.

Fragrant water

3. 3. I made sure the rice was only half cooked and fluffed up. The rest of the cooking would be done with the aromatic chicken. Strain the water immediately.

Phase 3: Layering

Now it’s just about layering

1. I just rearranged the chicken in the same pan I cooked it in to make sure there were no gaps at the bottom. Then I covered it with a thin layer of cooked rice. I then strew some finely chopped mint, coriander and a handful of the fried onion.
2. I then topped it with another layer of rice and repeated the same layering of mint, coriander and onions. I kept doing this till the rice was over.

pretty onions, huh?

3. I then drizzled the milk and saffron mixture over the top layer.

4. I also made 2-3 small holes in the top layer and poured some warm ghee in it.


5. As a final step, I covered the edges of my pan with some bread/ chapati dough and then covered it with a lid. This ensures that the steam stays inside and the rice and chicken all blend well and stay moist.

scent trail steaming away


I cannot even begin to describe the aroma of warm ghee, whole spices, lovely basmati rice, all blended together in a heady concoction of scents in my kitchen. This is what Mughal kitchens probably smelt like.

And I don’t mean to brag, but this is one of the very very few times I was completely and utterly satisfied, why happy with the outcome. I am overstuffed with Biryani and have a layer of well being on my skin as I write this. 🙂

And of course, how could I not share the prep pics. It’s also one of the very few times when I get off by bum for longer and take pictures of each step. so here you go!

finely chopped onion for frying
Just beginning to caramelize
And onions are done!
Acting all neat and tidy for the pic

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