Authentic Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe by Shabana Akbany


What makes the Hyderabadi chicken biryani recipe so unique? Why is it so synonymous with the way of life in Hyderabad? Why does everybody call Hyderabadi biryani the best South Indian dish ever and some even claim that it is better than the Lucknowi biryani?

A biryani from Hyderabad is like its people, exciting, spicy, sweet and tangy – all in one! Pieces of marinated chicken, long grain basmati rice and fragrant whole spices layered and cooked together on low heat till the meat is tender and falls of the bone and the rice has fluffed up and is soft. Fried onions or barista, kewra water and saffron strands added to this brings along plenty more aroma and flavor! Sunday brunch or house party – this biryani is fit for any occasion!


Shabana Akbany shares her recipe on how to make Hyderabadi Biryani – A fragrant chicken biryani from the land of the Nizams.

The Nizams were great patrons of rich food. That was the reason during their regime, the biryani and its many variations spread to all over the Deccan region and Andhra Pradesh.
Hyderabadi biryani originated as a blend of Mughlai and Iranian cuisine in the kitchens of the Nizam, rulers of the historic Hyderabad State.

Chicken Biryani Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked long grain basmati rice

4 Tej patta {bay leaves}

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

For the Chicken:

1 chicken- about 700 Gms, cut into 10 pieces

4 large onions, chopped

1 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2 large tomatoes – chopped

1-cup thick curd

1 tsp chilly powder

Salt to taste

5 – 6 tbsp oil.


1 cup sliced onion, fried crisp golden brown (made from 2 large onions)

1/2-cup poodina leaves

Few drops of orange color or a few strands of saffron (kesar) dissolved in warm milk. (You may also use kewra essence if you do not have kesar)

Flavoring Masala:

1 1/2 tsp sabut jeera

3 – 4 chotti illaichi

3 – 4 laung

2” piece dalchini (cinnamon)

2 – 3-sabut kali mirch (peppercorns)

2-moti illaichi (black cardamom)


4 tbsp ghee

1/2 tsp shah jeera.

Method of cooking Hyderabadi chicken biryani:

  1. To cook the rice, boil 6 -7 cups of water, with tej patta, salt and oil
  2. Add the rice and cook till almost tender. Strain and spread the rice on a wide tray. Run a fork through the rice to let the steam escape.
  3. To cook the chicken, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, Add chopped onions, stir-fry till brown. Add the ginger / garlic paste, stir for 2 minutes, add chopped tomatoes and cook till dry.
  4. Add curd, stir for a minute; add salt, chilly powder, and chicken and bhuno for a few minutes.
  5. Add 1 cup of water and cook till chicken turns tender. If there is any extra curry dry it on the fire. Keep on fire till you get nice thick masala gravy. Remove from fire and keep aside.
  6. Grind all the ingredients under the flavoring masala by adding 1/4 cup of water to get a paste. Add 1/2-cup pf water to the above masala and immediately strain it and keep the liquid masala aside.
  7. For assembling the biryani, take a large, heavy bottomed pan; sprinkle 3 -4 tbsp masala gravy of the chicken at the bottom.
  8. Spread 1/3 of the rice, Place 1/2 of the chicken pieces on it and make the rice moist with 2 – 3 tbsp gravy.
  9. Sprinkle 1/3 of the fried onion and poodina on it. Sprinkle 2 -3 tbsp liquid flavoring masala on it.
  10. Repeat by adding rice, then chicken, then masala gravy, followed by poodina and fried onions and flavoring masala.
  11. Finish the top layer with rice, sprinkled with some fried onions, poodina, and flavoring masala, 2 -3 drops of kewra and color.
  12. Heat ghee in a pan, splutter the jeera and pour it on top of the biryani.
  13. Cover the pan with a tight lid and seal the lid with dough. Place the pan on a Tawa, and give damm for a minimum of half hour, before serving.

Imp: if rich biryani is desired, mix 1/2 cup of cream with yogurt and sprinkle on each layer of rice to give it a rich taste and keep the rice moist.

By Shabana Akbany for Hyderabadi chicken biryani recipe