Muslim Biryani



Sing ye all good folks- Joy to my world!! I finally got my hands on the most divine recipes of all!!! The recipe that eluded me all these years, taunted my taste buds in ever so many occasions, teased my nostrils with its titillating whiff, ignored my yearning lustful eyes and and mockingly snuck away from my greedy grasps. YES!! I have it with me today. And who do I have to thank? My darling little niece, Sneha, who meticulously jotted down the recipe from her Muslim friend at school. My sweetheart cousin Jasmine, who trusted her daughter and her friend and followed the recipe to the T-recreating it, so the doubting Thomas in me  would believe. And my dear BIL EJ, who in seconds notice had the recipe scanned and printed for me to treasure – FOREVER!!! Now ain’t mine a dandy sweet family??! It sure is.

IMG_7843All those who have known me for even just about a week, let alone years,  would have had an earful about my long, unfailing loveand fidelity to what I think is the supreme food of all – The Muslim Biryani. For several years I tried making it deciphering it by taste. Experimenting with different combinations of spices and ingredients, I failed miserably though. I realize now, I was over thinking it the whole time. And since the proof is ALWAYS in the pudding, there is no doubt the arrogant me would have taken one look at Sneha’s notes and dismissed it as too simple to be true if Jasmine hadn’t made it that day so I could see, taste and believe.

My 4 attempts at trying this recipe were all successful barring one. The exception happened when I tried it at my sister Sophie’s where she stood beside me second guessing all the measurements and where after the first whistle of the pressure cooker, the kitchen was consumed by the powerful aroma of the Muslim Biryani , she proudly declared – yes we have done it. With just this premature avowal all hell broke loose. If she had ever cared to listen to my books of providence she would have known that you NEVER EVER go proud on your dish until you’ve tasted the first spoon, and if you are stupid enough to do that, you are screwed!!  Of course only because of that, the pressure cooker malfunctioned and we had to schlep burnt Biryani to the garbage bin. But, there is one thing worth mentioning though, the burnt carcass still smelt divine!!! So, if I were you, while following this recipe, I would not go second guessing it nor would I make any presumed declarations!


All these years I always thought that the orange-ish red  color of the Muslim Biryani came from the tomatoes and the saffron. I couldn’t be more wrong. Apparently it is from the red chili powder. Something that I never  use in any of my Biryanis. And for the color, I added a lot of tomatoes -Mistake number 1. In spite of what my sister Sony thinks, I’m always tight fisted when it comes to using oil and ghee in my cooking. I maintain that while making Biryanis as well – Mistake number 2. There is no way that you can cringe on oil and ghee while making the Muslim Biryani. The onions and lots of ginger garlic, deep fried in ghee and oil is what gives this Biryani a totally new dimension.

1 lb skinless chicken cut into medium sized pieces
1 large  or 2 medium or 3 small onions finely sliced
1large tomato, diced in chunks
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp ginger–garlic paste 
8 cloves
5, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon 
2 crushed cardamom
3 cups jeera samba/basmati rice
1/2 cup curd
pinch of saffron
1/2 cup refined vegetable oil
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
1tsp paprika/ kashmiri mirch
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste


  • Marinate the chicken in lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste, curd, turmeric, mint, cilantro  and salt over night in the fridge.
  • Soak washed rice with 5 cups of water and set aside for an hour.
  • Heat refined oil and ghee  in a wide bottomed  hollow pan, make sure the pan can be fitted with a tight lid that doesn’t let steam escape.
  • Add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and let them puff up.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until deep brown (the onions should look fried).
  • Add remaining ginger-garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, chili powders and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add in the chicken along with the marinade and sauté for 5 -10 minutes and then reduce the flame to low let it cook until chicken is done.
  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee, salt and cook the rice until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Gather all the chicken and the masala mixture together and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp of milk and add to the boiling rice and mix it.
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
  • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
  • Removefrom the stove and mix in the rice and masala
  • Serve with raitha or baingan masaledar.
  • Tags:

    8 Responses to “Muslim Biryani”

    1. krish says:

      its kind of ordinary reciepe

    2. Vasanthi says:

      Would love to try out this recipe.
      When you add the 3/4 th cooked rice do you add all the water that is in it or do you strain in?

    3. zaza says:

      3 cups of rice? thats a lot of rice for just 1 pound of meat!

    4. Sreeja says:

      I tried this today and we loved it! Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    5. Arathi says:

      Thanks for sharing this recipe, Julie! It turned out great! Did not look picture perfect like yours, but amazing nonetheless. 🙂 This one’s a keeper!

    6. Anjana says:

      Julie,I tried out the biryani.It turned out excellent .Thank you for sharing the reciepe.

    Your Reply