Chicken Biryani, Hyderabadi Style

An authentic Hyderabadi-style biryani that is a trademark of home-cooking in south India. For a more traditional version, substitute curd (homemade south Indian yogurt) for yogurt. If you cannot find ginger garlic paste, crush together ginger and garlic in equal portions.

READY IN 1 Hr 15 Min


  • 1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 20 whole cloves
  • 9 whole cardamom pods
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 small green chilly peppers
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 3 cups uncooked jasmine or white rice
  • 4 1/8 cups water
  • 1 sprig cilantro leaves with stems


  • Soak rice for 30 minutes in enough water to cover; then drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in cloves, cardamom, and bay leaves. Then stir in onion, and cook until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in chile peppers and ginger paste. Stir in yogurt, salt, and curry, and then place chicken in pan. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the chicken pieces, until only about 1 cup of liquid remains.
  • Mix in rice, water, and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Check rice after about 12 minutes; if it is dry, add 1/2 cup water, and continue cooking.

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