Bombay Biryani

A local favorite

Recipe by Rajiv Anand of San Jose, US

What dinner party in an South Asian household is complete without Biryani? and then there are so many regional variations to this popular dish, it is unlikely that you'll ever get bored. So here it is, a local favorite from Bombay (Western India). The number of ingredients here might shock you, but believe me --- everything counts.

Ingredients non vegetarian 4 servings

    • 250 g Rice (Basmati)
    • 5 Onions
    • 2 Tomatoes
    • 200 g Yoghurt
    • 1 Kg Chicken (or Mutton)
    • 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste

    Spices to Grind

    • 1 tsp of Chili powder
    • 1 tsp of paprika powder
    • 1 tbsp of cumin seeds (ज़ीरा )
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 red Chillies dried
    • 1 tbsp Coriander ( धनिया ) powder.
    • ½ tbsp Fennel seeds
    • Pinch of Nigella seeds (कलोंजी)
    • ¼ tsp of Turmeric powder
    • Dash of dill seeds
    • Dash of Fenugreek seeds

    Whole Spices

    • 7-13 green Cardamoms
    • 1-2 inch Cinnamon stick
    • 1 black Cardamom
    • 1 whole Nutmeg (जायफल )
    • 1 whole Mace (जावित्री )
    • 10-15 black pepper whole
    • 3- 4 bay leaves
    • 5-8 cloves
    • 1 star anise
    • 7-8 sour plums (आलूबुखारा)


    Add ground spice powder and aromatics to Yogurt and set aside

    Set rice to boil with cardamoms, black pepper, cloves and salt. Keep checking on this for about 80% done while you are working in parallel. Once done, you should have most of the water gone. If there is too much water remaining you must drain it out otherwise you will end up with very mushy Biryani.

    1. In parallel, starting with 1/4 cup oil, first deep fry the pototoes. 
    2. Remove and fry sliced onions to light brown, add tomotoes.
    3. Cook until oil separates and tomatoes are cooked. (add little amount of water to avoid burning)
    4. Add chicken and ginger garlic paste
    5. Fry chicken on low heat for 2 minutes before adding spices in yogurt gravy.
    6. Cook on low heat stirring occasionally to avoid burning.  Feel free to add a bit of water to avoid burning.
    7. Cook until chicken gets cooked and oil separates

    Now it's time to layer. Mix fried potoes into rice first.

    The easiest way to layer is to put a little oil at the bottom and layer half of the rice first. Then layer with chicken and finish with second layer of rice. You can add food color mixed in warm milk but I stay away from artificial colors.

    Cover and either keep in oven or over very low heat for 15-30 minutes.