Pakistan- Chicken Biryani Recipe

Chicken Biryani

This recipe for Chicken Biryani comes from Food Fusion and was recommended by my friend Sindhiya from Pakistan. When I first asked Sindhiya for a Pakistani recipe, she said that I could buy a ready-made spice packet for biryani. But I wanted to try something from “scratch” so she sent me the link to this video. Now I understand why she suggested using the spice packet, because this recipe requires a huge number of ingredients! In any case, I could not get away from the biryani masala spice packet, as that is one of the last ingredients to sprinkle on the top. Was it worth it? Yes it was worth the work! It was fragrant and perfectly spiced. It also made a huge portion which froze well.

I have never been to Pakistan, though I have visited nearby India. However, I do not have any idea how the flavours may differ between countries for dishes with similar names. And I have only ever tried chicken biryani at the Indian restaurants around London, so it was interesting to find out how much work goes into making it. In my cupboard, I found most of the ingredients, but I needed to buy a few extra spices. Luckily in London it is easy to find all of these ingredients. One thing I will comment on is that you need to be careful about eating the whole peppercorns. They can be quite spicy!

Lots of ingredients for this recipe!
Combining the spice and yoghurt


1/2 c water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
2 Tbsp Garlic ginger paste
2 medium onions, sliced
700 g chicken, in large pieces
1/2 c corn oil (or vegetable oil)
2-3 green cardamom
2 black cardamom
1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
5-6 cloves
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp garam masala powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c plain whisked yoghurt (or Greek yoghurt)
1/2 c fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 c fresh mint, chopped
3-4 green chilies, de-seeded but left mostly whole
8-9 dried plums (I would add more as they are tasty)
Fried onions for sprinkling on top
700g basmati rice, cooked
1 Tbsp biryani masala spice mix
1 lemon, sliced
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp dried yellow food colouring or liquid food colouring


In a frying pan add water, turmeric powder, salt, cumin seeds, and garlic ginger paste. Mix well. Add sliced onions and chicken pieces. Cook covered over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes. Remove cover then cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

In a separate large pot, add oil, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, black pepper. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and yoghurt. Mix well then add cooked chicken. Cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add fresh coriander, mint and chilies. Cook over high heat until oil separates. Add dried plums then cook for a few more minutes.

Remove 1/3 of the chicken mixture into a separate bowl and put it to the side. Sprinkle some dried onions into the mixture, and stir. Layer half of the rice on top of the mixture in the pot. Then put the chicken mixture in the separate bowl on top of the rice. Sprinkle with more fried onions and the biryani masala.

Place the lemon slices on top. Then layer the remaining rice on top.
Mix food colouring with the 2 Tbsp water. Then drizzle colouring over the top in a large circle. Sprinkle with more fried onions. Cover and steam on low flame for 10-12 minutes. Mix slightly and then serve hot.

Adding the food colouring
Final dish, mixed together. Perfectly spiced!

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