Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

It is believed that the Mughals from Persia first introduced Biryani to India 400 years ago. Since then this dish has evolved into a number of regional versions. The gloriously delicious Hyderabadi style Chicken Biryani is made by layering marinated chicken with spiced parboiled rice, then cooking the whole thing in it’s own juices on low heat.

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe

Biryani is a much loved Indian dish made by steam-cooking layers of meat/veg and rice in their own juices. It does take time to make which is why it is usually made on special occasions. While there are many ways to make a Biryani, this particular recipe comes from the historic city of Hyderabad in Southern India.
There are three parts to this recipe. First, marinade the meat. Second, par boil the rice. Third, layer the meat and rice and cook in it’s own steam.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 serves


  • Dutch oven or 12 cm deep pot with a well fitting lid


  • 1 kit Spicecraft Hyderabadi Biryani Spice Kit
  • 1 whole Chicken size 12 cut into 12-14 pieces
  • 400 grams Basmati Rice good quality
  • 1 bunch Fresh Mint leaves
  • 1 bunch Fresh Coriander leaves
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 tbsp Canola or sunflower oil fragrance free
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or Butter
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pinch Saffron thread (optional)
  • 4-5 Green Chillies (optional)


  • Roughly chop coriander and mint leaves.
  • In a large bowl combine 1 cup yogurt with the spice mixes in Biryani Marinade Spices 1 sachet.
  • Next mix in the spices from Biryani Marinade Spices 2 sachet.
  • Add in half of the chopped mint, half of the chopped coriander and the juice of half a lemon
  • Add 1 tsp of salt and 3 tbsp of oil and mix well. For extra heat, add finely chopped green chillies at this point.
  • Now combine the chicken and the marinade and toss everything together to ensure all pieces are evenly coated
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.
  • Soak 400g Basmati rice in water for an hour.
  • (Optional) A pinch of saffron can add a bit of extra oomph to your Biryani. Steep the saffron threads on 2 tbsp warm milk for an hour.


  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan forced.
  • Add spices from the Rice Spice Mix sachet to a large saucepan.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil and 2 liters of boiling water to the saucepan.
  • Check the water for saltiness. It should be salty like the sea. If not, add more salt. This step is very important to ensure the rice is properly flavoured. The salt will be rinsed away later.
  • Drain the rice that's been soaking underwater. Carefully add it into the boiling water. Stir once, then allow the rice to cook on high heat for 4 mins.
  • After 4 mins, turn off the heat and strain the parboiled rice discarding the water. It is very important to not overcook the rice to avoid a gluggy Biryani.
    You now have fragrant, gently spiced riced all ready for layering.
  • Assemble 3 layers of the Biryani.
    LAYER 1
    Evenly layer pieces of marinated chicken at the bottom of a deep and heavy pot. Unlike other forms of Biryani that first cook the chicken, our Hyderabadi version uses raw chicken for layering.
  • Sprinkle half of the remaining mint and coriander over the chicken.
  • LAYER 2
    Gently spread the parboiled rice over the chicken in an even layer. Do not press down on the rice.
  • (Optional) Sprinkle the saffron milk over the rice if using.
  • LAYER 3
    This final layer is made by spreading fried onions, mint, coriander and ghee over the rice.
    Even sprinkle fried onions from the sachet over the rice.
  • Next spread the remaining mint and coriander
  • Finally drizzle 2 tbsp ghee or melted butter as the final step of this assembly.
  • Cover the pot with aluminium foil and put the lid on. The Biryani is ready to go into the oven.
    Cook the Biryani in the oven for 1 hour at 170 degrees C with the lid tightly secure.
  • Carefully take the pot out of the oven and allow to stand for 15 mins with the lid on. Remove the lid and foil just before serving.


This recipe works equally well with Lamb instead of Chicken. Use 1 kg lamb, fat trimmed, cut into 5 cm pieces. Remember to add an extra half cup of water over the rice in Layer 2.

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