Recipe for Biryani- Pakistan


26 april 2021
Auteur(s): Sophie Churchill
Learn how to cook one of the most famous recipes from the Indian subcontinent- biryani!

By Sophie Churchill

Contributing Writer

The much-loved dish of Biryani not only has a flavorful taste, but also a flavorful history. Although it is now popular in India, it is generally accepted that this meal of rice, meat, vegetables, and spices originated in Iran. The name comes from the Persian word birian, which translates to "fried before cooking" and birinj, the Persian word for rice, according to The Better India. There are many legends that claim the story of Biryani that are recorded as early as 2 A.D. However, the most popular of these legends says that Queen Mumtaz Mahal, the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal, asked a chef to prepare a balanced meal after seeing how malnourished the Mughal soldiers were. The exact origin story remains unknown, but we do know that the blend of spices used has resulted from a history of foreign rulers. Turks, Afghans, Persians, and Arabs each introduced a different flavor profile to Biryani to make it their own. Biryani by Kilo states that Arabs and Persians are credited with the original recipe including chicken or mutton. These differences continue to be seen today, as southern regions are dominated by a coconut and tamarind flavor while northern regions prefer curd as a marinade along with cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf. There are many different versions of the dish as well. For example, Kolkata biryani includes potatoes which were introduced by Europeans. Tehri biryani is a vegetarian version that was created for bookkeepers of the court who would not eat the original mutton recipe. Now, there are variations all over the world; from Malaysia to The Philippines, to Africa. There is certainly a version of biryani for every taste bud!

Preparation Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 750g chicken thighs


  • 150 ml yogurt
  • 125 ml water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • ⅛ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp garam marsala
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 ¾ tsp salt

Parboiled Rice

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 450 g uncooked basmati rice

Crispy Onions

  • 2 medium onions
  • 250 ml oil


  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp warm water


  • 240 g coriander
  • 60 g ghee


  1. Mix marinade in a large pot. Add chicken and coat well. Marinade for 20 minutes to overnight. Bring 3 litres water to a boil, add salt and spices. Add rice, bring back up to a boil then cook for 4 minutes. Drain immediately. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Cook onion, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove onto a paper towel to drain.
  3. Place saffron ingredients in a bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Place the pot with chicken in it onto a stove over medium heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid. Cook for 5 minutes, turning the chicken twice. Remove from heat.
  4. Turn chicken so the skin is side down. Scatter over the onion and half the coriander. Top all with rice and gently pat-down. Drizzle saffron and ghee across and place the lid on. Return to the stove over medium heat. As soon as you see steam, turn down to low then cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the stove, rest for 10 minutes.


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