Bombay Biryani Rice and Chicken Recipe

Biryani rice with chicken
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  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves six to eight people

This yummy, aromatic rice and chicken dish is made by the Muslim community in Mumbai (previously known as Bombay), hence the name of Bombay biryani. Try it just once and you will be hooked! Serve it with raita and salad of your choice.


  • 6 to 8 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided use)
  • 4 large onions (very thinly sliced)
  • 6 baby potatoes (cut into halves)
  • 6 eggs (hard boiled)
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • Garnish: a few drops of orange food color
  • For the Rice:
  • 2 pounds basmati rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon shahjeera
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the Marinade:
  • 3 pounds chicken wingettes (the upper fleshy portion of the chicken wing -- they look like a tiny drumstick!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3 to 4 green chilies (pounded coarsely in a mortar and pestle)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 6 to 8 mint leaves (chopped finely)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • Optional: red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 to 10 dried plums
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the Masala:
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 6 green cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 5 large black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon shahjeera
  • 4 large tomatoes

Steps to Make It

  1. Take a deep pan and heat the first lot of 3 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil in it on medium heat.

  2. Add the thinly sliced onions to this pan and fry, stirring frequently, until they turn a pale golden brown. This could take up to 15 minutes so be patient.

  3. While the onions are frying, marinate the chicken. To do this, put the chicken in a deep mixing bowl. Pour the lemon juice over it and add all the other marinade in gradients.

  4. Use a spoon (or your hands) to mix everything together well, ensuring that all the chicken is well covered with the marinade. We will add half the browned onions to this marinade in a little while when they are ready. Keep the chicken aside to marinate.

  5. When the onions are ready, add half (and reserve the other half for later) to the chicken, stir well, cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.

  6. While the chicken marinates, we will cook our rice. To do this, first wash the rice thoroughly under running water, a number of times, until the water runs clear.

  7. Now put the rice and all the other ingredients listed to cook it, into a deep pot. Add 8 to 10 cups of hot water to the rice. Set up on medium heat to cook. Watch the rice carefully as we want to "almost cook" it about three-quarters of the way done!

    To test, keep picking out a grain or two and checking by mashing it between your index finger and thumb. "Almost cooked" grains will still be a tiny bit hard at the core.

  8. When the rice is "almost done" take it off the heat and strain into a colander over the sink. Keep aside for later use.

  9. Now, heat the second lot of 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan. When hot, add the baby potatoes to it and fry until they turn golden on the outside. Drain with a slotted spoon and keep aside on paper towels for later.

  10. Heat the ghee in a deep pot/ pan. We will assemble our biryani in this pot so make sure it is big enough to accommodate the chicken, potatoes, and rice together.

  11. When hot, add the sticks of cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, large black cardamom (badi elaichi), bay leaves and shahjeera. Fry until the spluttering stops and the whole spices start to turn aromatic and slightly darker.

  12. Add the tomatoes and fry for two minutes, stirring often.

  13. Add the chicken and all the marinade. Stir well to mix everything. Cook, without adding any eater and stirring frequently, until the chicken is tender.

  14. Add the fried potatoes to the chicken and stir to mix well.

  15. Simmer and place the hard-boiled eggs on the chicken (in gaps randomly).

  16. Spoon the cooked rice on top of the chicken to create a layer.

  17. Add the food color and use a fork to "ruffle" the rice and mix the food color into it.

  18. Sprinkle the remaining browned onions over this and drizzle the 2 tablespoons of melted ghee to finish.

  19. Cover the pot tightly, simmer heat (really low) and cook for another 15 minutes.

  20. Open the pot and gently stir the biryani to mix well.

  21. Serve piping hot with raita and kachumber salad.