Chicken Biryani

Published March 1, 2004.

Why this recipe works:

The best chicken biryani recipes place long-grain basmati at center stage, enriching it with butter, saffron, and a variety of fresh herbs and pungent spices. For our biryani recipe, we browned chicken thighs, then removed the skin before layering the chicken with the rice, lots of caramelized… read more

The best chicken biryani recipes place long-grain basmati at center stage, enriching it with butter, saffron, and a variety of fresh herbs and pungent spices. For our biryani recipe, we browned chicken thighs, then removed the skin before layering the chicken with the rice, lots of caramelized onions, and just the right blend of spices. To get the most flavor out of the spices, we tied them into a cheesecloth bundle and simmered them in the rice cooking water for at least 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

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Serves 4

This recipe requires a 3 1/2- to 4-quart saucepan about 8 inches in diameter. Do not use a large, wide Dutch oven, as it will adversely affect both the layering of the dish and the final cooking times. Begin simmering the spices in the water prior to preparing the remaining ingredients; the more time the spices have to infuse the water (up to half an hour), the more flavor they will give to the rice. Biryani is traditionally served with a cooling yogurt sauce; ideally, you should make it before starting the biryani to allow the flavors in the sauce to meld.

Ingredients

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