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How To Make The Best Bombay Biryani

Biryani is a perfectly cooked rice dish, seasoned with whole spices, and layered between tender chunks of meat and streams of delicious gravy. It’s a dish that will give you the perfect bite each time. This is Kanchan Koya’s favorite biryani recipe that is sure to keep everyone you know coming for more.

Tasty Team
May 27, 2022
Total Time

3 hr

3 hr

Prep Time

20 minutes

20 min

Cook Time

1 hr 10 min

1 hr 10 min

How To Make The Best Bombay Biryani
Total Time

3 hr

3 hr

Prep Time

20 minutes

20 min

Cook Time

1 hr 10 min

1 hr 10 min

Ingredients

for 4 servings

Chicken

  • 1 cup full fat greek yogurt (245 g)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 ½ lb bone-in chicken thighs (650 g), and/or drumsticks

Rice

  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice (300 g)
  • 5 cups water (1.2 L), plus more for rinsing and soaking
  • 4 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 whole black cardamom pod
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Biryani

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced into half-moons, plus 1, finely chopped, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron thread
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • 3 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 1 in (2.54 cm)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 piece mace
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tomato, large, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup water (60 mL)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (10 g), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaf (10 g), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted prunes (40 g)
  • onion raita, for serving
  • pickled mango, for serving

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 689
  • Fat 20g
  • Carbs 92g
  • Fiber 47g
  • Sugar 17g
  • Protein 37g

Estimated values based on one serving size.

Preparation

  1. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, cumin, coriander, garam masala, chile powder, and lime juice. Add the chicken and toss to coat well, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  2. Soak the rice: In a medium bowl, gently rinse the rice in cool water, ensuring the grains don’t break, then drain. Repeat a few more times, until the water is clear, then cover the rice with fresh water and soak for 30–45 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Partially cook the rice: In a medium pot, combine the water, green and black cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook until about three-quarters of the way done, but still al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain, then spread the rice on a plate or baking sheet in an even layer and let cool
  4. Make the biryani: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and season generously with salt. Add the potatoes, cover, and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to dry for a few minutes.
  5. Heat about 2 inches of neutral oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 350°F (180°C).
  6. Blot the boiled potatoes with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  7. Add the sliced red onions to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1–2 minutes. Use the spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a separate paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  8. Add the saffron threads to a small bowl. Pour in the boiling water and gently crush the saffron with the back of a spoon to release the color and flavor.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  10. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of neutral oil and 1 tablespoon ghee over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorns, mace, bay leaf, red chile, star anise, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds and cook for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant, but not burnt.
  11. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3–5 minutes, until softened.
  12. Add the marinated chicken, water, and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until chicken is starting to cook through. Stir in the fried potatoes and prunes. Remove the pot from the heat.
  13. Transfer half of the chicken mixture to a medium bowl. Layer half of the par-boiled rice on top of the chicken in the pot. Sprinkle with half of the saffron water, half of the cilantro and mint, 1 teaspoon ghee, and half of the fried onions. Layer the remaining chicken over the rice layer, then top with the remaining rice, saffron water, cilantro, mint, 1 teaspoon ghee, and fried onions.
  14. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then place the lid on top. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  15. Remove the pot from the oven and allow the biryani to rest covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and foil.
  16. Serve the biryani immediately with raita and pickled mango.
  17. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for 4 servings

Chicken

  • 1 cup full fat greek yogurt (245 g)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 ½ lb bone-in chicken thighs (650 g), and/or drumsticks

Rice

  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice (300 g)
  • 5 cups water (1.2 L), plus more for rinsing and soaking
  • 4 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 whole black cardamom pod
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Biryani

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced into half-moons, plus 1, finely chopped, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron thread
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • 3 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 1 in (2.54 cm)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 piece mace
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tomato, large, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup water (60 mL)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (10 g), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaf (10 g), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted prunes (40 g)
  • onion raita, for serving
  • pickled mango, for serving

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 689
  • Fat 20g
  • Carbs 92g
  • Fiber 47g
  • Sugar 17g
  • Protein 37g

Estimated values based on one serving size.

Preparation

  1. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, cumin, coriander, garam masala, chile powder, and lime juice. Add the chicken and toss to coat well, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  2. Soak the rice: In a medium bowl, gently rinse the rice in cool water, ensuring the grains don’t break, then drain. Repeat a few more times, until the water is clear, then cover the rice with fresh water and soak for 30–45 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Partially cook the rice: In a medium pot, combine the water, green and black cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook until about three-quarters of the way done, but still al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain, then spread the rice on a plate or baking sheet in an even layer and let cool
  4. Make the biryani: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and season generously with salt. Add the potatoes, cover, and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to dry for a few minutes.
  5. Heat about 2 inches of neutral oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 350°F (180°C).
  6. Blot the boiled potatoes with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  7. Add the sliced red onions to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1–2 minutes. Use the spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a separate paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  8. Add the saffron threads to a small bowl. Pour in the boiling water and gently crush the saffron with the back of a spoon to release the color and flavor.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  10. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of neutral oil and 1 tablespoon ghee over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorns, mace, bay leaf, red chile, star anise, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds and cook for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant, but not burnt.
  11. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3–5 minutes, until softened.
  12. Add the marinated chicken, water, and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until chicken is starting to cook through. Stir in the fried potatoes and prunes. Remove the pot from the heat.
  13. Transfer half of the chicken mixture to a medium bowl. Layer half of the par-boiled rice on top of the chicken in the pot. Sprinkle with half of the saffron water, half of the cilantro and mint, 1 teaspoon ghee, and half of the fried onions. Layer the remaining chicken over the rice layer, then top with the remaining rice, saffron water, cilantro, mint, 1 teaspoon ghee, and fried onions.
  14. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then place the lid on top. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  15. Remove the pot from the oven and allow the biryani to rest covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and foil.
  16. Serve the biryani immediately with raita and pickled mango.
  17. Enjoy!
How To Make The Best Bombay Biryani

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