Indian Style Chicken Biryani

I can’t recall if I ever did mention on my blog posts before, but the most memorable Chicken Biryani that I’ve ever had was at my primary school, from the Muslim stall at the school canteen. The stall sells chicken biryani only on a specific day of the week, and I would always eat this dish whenever it’s available. The rice is very nice and fragrant and I especially love the way they cooked the chicken and its gravy. So soft, so delicious, so yummy.

It is, however, very strange that I can’t locate the same taste in any other chicken biryani anymore. It is almost as if the taste has disappeared from the world. Nobody else sells biryani like the way the auntie did. That unique taste of the chicken wing seems to be from a secret recipe that nobody else has, not even in this recipe that I have. For some strange reason, I began to wonder if THOSE plates of chicken biryani back then was the most authentic of all biryanis, after all, it was sold in a school canteen and for all I know, it might have been the wrong way of cooking biryani, but which served as a great comfort food for me back then nevertheless.

So since I am going to try cooking this dish from scratch at home, and I can’t replicate the tastes from the olden days anymore, I could only fall back on adapting from recipes online and hoping that it would turn out tasty and as authentic as possible. Truth is, the rice isn’t that difficult to cook, and I never fail to get amaze by saffron and its wonderful ability to turn white rice into such bright golden colour. It remains a great comfort food to have (as long as it’s chicken and no other meat) and a good one to entertain your guests for hours.


  • Saffron: few strands
  • Ghee: 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
  • Onion: 1, sliced thinly
  • Cinnamon: 1 stick
  • Clove: 6
  • Cardamom pod: 6
  • Basmati rice: 2 cups, rinsed
  • Water: 1 cup + 1 cup
  • Salt: 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Chicken winglets/drumsticks: 500g
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Yoghurt: 1 cup (200g)
  • Ginger & garlic paste: 1″ ginger, minced + 1 garlic, minced, pounded together to form a paste
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder (optional): 2 tsp
  • Ground tumeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Ground white pepper: 1/4 tsp
  • Tomato: 1, diced


  1. Steep saffron in 1 tbsp hot water. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in wok.
  3. Add onions into wok. Saute till golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in pressure cooker. Stir in cinnamon, cloves and cardamom pods.
  5. Add rice, 1 cup water and 1 tsp salt. Leave to cook on rice mode for 15min.
  6. Combine chicken with oil, yoghurt, ginger/garlic paste, garam masala, chilli powder, tumeric, white pepper, tomato, fried onions and 1/2 tsp salt.
  7. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in dutch oven.
  8. Add in chicken mix. Stir-fry for 1min.
  9. Add in 1 cup water and saffron water. Simmer for 1min on high heat.
  10. Place cooked rice on top of chicken and gravy. Cook on high heat for 10min covered.
  11. Garnish with parsley to serve.

4 persons

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