Chicken dum biryani is a deal breaker in our home. It has to be the most eagerly awaiting lunch and its almost like everyone’s hopes and dreams are resting on the first bite of the biryani.
In the words of my mum ,the biryani musts be fragrant and the chicken juicy. Basically, the chicken must have all the masalas marinated so well that every bite tastes of succulent chicken and spices.
The one thing you must remember is to use the freshest ingredients ,the best quality rice and a heavy bottomed lidded pot. I use my cast iron casserole for this biryani .
Also you can’t hurry this biryani. The marination must be overnight.
Also, in all the years the that I have been making this biryani,I’ve never been able to take one decent photo of style this to look like restaurant style biryani.
So don’t go by the pictures. But you will be amazed at the fragrance of the biryani when you lift the lid.
Also don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients here.
Make sure you read the recipe twice so that you don’t miss any steps . Also you can reduce the level of spices in the biryani.
Chicken Dum Biryani
2 cups or 500 GM’s long grain basmati rice
1.25 kg cleaned and cut chicken on the bone ,cut into medium pieces
1 cup yogurt
4 tsp ginger garlic paste
10-12 green chillies slit
3 tomatoes thinly slices
1 cup packed fried onions slices or Birista
2-3 tbsp mustard oil (not smoked)
6-8 green cardamom
2 -3 ,2 inch pieces cinnamon
6-8 cloves, pepper corns
2 piece mace or javitri
15-20 bay leaves fresh(double if you’ve fresh leaves) or dry
3-4 tbsp clarified butter or Desi ghee
1 cup milk
1-2 generous pinches saffron
1 cup chopped green coriander
1 cup torn mint leaves
3-4 tsp salt
1 tbsp red chilli or smoked paprika
1 tsp garam masala
2 lemons cut into quarters
1 large Ziploc bag
Whole wheat dough made with atleast two cups whole wheat flour and water.
For the Marination
In the Ziploc bag, place the yogurt, half the fried onions, green chillies, chopped coriander and half the mint leaves. Add the mustard oil,3 tsp salt,red chilli powder,garam masala, the quartered lemons and the sliced tomatoes.
Add half the whole spices mentioned not touching the bay leaves at all. The remaining will be used with the rice.
Seal the ziploc bag and with your hands mash the mixture together.
Wash and pat dry the chicken. Make small slits in the pieces to cut to the bone,to ensure the spices go deep.
Add the chicken pieces and seal the bag. Mix the marinade and massage it all into the chicken. Place this on a plate and in the fridge to marinate at least overnight. If you intend to make the biryani a few days later ,place the bag in the freezer and then in the fridge to defrost overnight before using the chicken.
A few hours before you are going to make the biryani, wash the rice under running water and soak the rice for at least half an hour.
In a large pan fill atleast 2 litres of water . Place on the burner and add in the remaining whole spices and salt. Bring the water to a running boil and add a few mint leaves. Add in the soaked rice and allow to come to a boil again.
Cook the rice till it is aldente. Almost.
A little raw is what you’re looking for. About 80% done.
Drain the rice in a collander and spread the rice out to cool. The mint and spices can remain within.
Now take a large heavy bottom sauce pan or dutch oven or degh with a proper fitting lid. I use my cast iron pans for this.
Grease the bottom of the pan generously with half of the desi ghee or butter if youre using that.
Spread over the bay leaves to cover the base of the pan. This ensures that the chicken will not burn. now empty the contents of the ziploc bag over the bay leaves. Spread the chicken out so that there is a single layer of chicken pieces. Spread over all the marinade ,squeezing it out so that not a drop of marinade is wasted. Remove the quartered lemons. They’ve done their job. Whatever it was.
Now gently, without breaking the grains of rice, spread over the chicken to make a layer of about 3-4 inches.
Spread over the remaining fried onion. The remaining mint leaves can also be sprinkled over, also add some more chopped coriander if you want to. I generally avoid coriander at this stage ,but a whole lot of people do like it.
Warm the milk till its just hot. Add in the saffron and allow the saffron to soften. Once it begins to leave colour, stir it once.
Pour over the biryani gently dotting the saffron in places where the mint and onions are thinly spread.
Dot the remaining ghee or butter over the rice .
Now place the lid over. Roll out the dough into a rope as long as the diameter of pan or degh. Start pressing the dough over the rim of the degh or pan so that minimal steam escapes from the pan. Also set out a heavy bottomed griddle or tawa for the cooking. If you can manage a heavy weight to place over the lid…you’ll need it.
Once you’ve pasted the atta or dough properly to seal the degh as well as possible, run over it with wet hands, to help seal it better.
Set your kitchen alarm.
Place the degh on high heat for exactly 12 minutes. After 12 minutes ,reduce the heat to the lowest possible and set the timer to 25 minutes.
The atta seal will give way some places and some fragrant steam will come out. Place the weight over the lid now to ensure minimum steam escapes.
You cant prevent the steam escaping, just reduce the amount of steam escaping. Remember the idea is dum, not pressure cooking. Dum would be the food cooked in steam.
After 25 minutes, place the degh on the tawa while the heat is still low. ALlow the degh to remain like that for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat after 15 minutes and allow the biryani to rest for atleast 15 minutes.
Lay out the plates and the cutlery. Place a kachumber salad , lachcha pyaaz salad , pickles and yogurt or a simple raita as accompaniments.
With a sharp knife, cut off the maximum dough you can.
Bring the Degh to the table and then lift the lid. The steam, the aromas and the appearence will wow your family.
Dig in the service spoon to scrape out the bottom and bring out the chicken and serve with the rice. The chicken will be slightly charred,but the spices will be present on each bite.
The rice is fragrant with saffron, the caramalised onions melted into the rice,you can’t spot the tomatoes,and the bay leaves have been spot on.
I have been promising myself that I’ll take proper pictures of this biryani for the longest time. However,my biryani never makes it to the resting stage….
The family is always waiting for the biryani. The steam that escapes… Well it ensures that everyone is seated at the table well before it cooked.
We don’t make breakfast the day biryani is on the menu,and dinner is also sorted with the leftovers. So this blogpost is more for me to document the time taken and the ingredients added than a food styling post. I promise you, I will take good pictures the next time I make biryani. The rains are on in Mumbai. And it’s biryani and chai season now.
Till then, try this biryani. It’s spicy, fragrant and awesome. Oh and this will suffice for 4 people.