Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

The lengthy recipe here tends to seem a little overwhelming at first, so just be a patient chef and the priceless taste that you experience at the end of it, makes everything feel worth the effort! This authentic and elegant delicacy is a signature dish from the city of Hyderabad. This beautiful city of pearls is a perfect blend of Mughlai and Telangana cuisine and it is here in the kitchens of the Nizam, ruler of the historic Hyderabad State, that the creation of Hyderabadi Biryani resulted. The layers of rice (both plain and coloured) and marinated chicken cooked on “Dum”, bring about an excellent outburst of flavour, colour and aroma, enough to tease your taste buds and leave you asking for more.


Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani


Ingredients for the marinade:

  • Chicken – 1 lb (about ½ kg) skinned, washed and cut into cubes. Boneless chicken can also be used but I prefer to use whole chicken with bones. Make sure you drain all the water after washing the chicken.
  • Ginger – 2” long piece
  • Garlic – 8-9 big pods ( or use ginger-garlic paste 2 tbsp)
  • Mint leaves (pudina) – 10 sprigs finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves – A handful or say 10 sprigs finely chopped
  • Yoghurt/whipped curd – ¾ cup ( I used a measuring cup)
  • Chilli powder – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Garam masala – 2 tbsp (lightly roasted in a pan on low heat for 30 seconds)
  • Juice of 1 big lemon (about 4 tbsp)
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

For deep fried dark brown onions:

  • 1 onion – finely sliced and deep fried till dark brown.
  • Oil for deep frying the onions – ¼ cup (do not use left over oil in the marinade after frying onions. discard or save it for a different dish)

For the rice:

  • Basmati rice – 2 cups (I used a measuring cup). Wash under cold water and soak for 30 minutes then drain the entire water in a strainer and set aside
  • Whole green Cardamom – 4
  • Cloves – 3
  • Black cumin seeds (Shahi jeera) – ¾ tsp
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Biryani flower ( Anasapuvvu) – 1(optional) or use Biryani masala in the marinade
  • Black pepper corns – 4
  • Butter/oil/ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 4 tbsp
  • Water for boiling – 10 cups ( I used a measuring cup)
  • A wide & deep sauce pan to cook rice

For cooking in layers:

  • 1 wide heavy bottomed deep vessel / pot
  • A large dosa pan / flat bottomed skillet
  • Pinch of yellow and orange color dissolved in 2 tbsp milk or water (optional)
  • Aluminum foil or a wet towel (squeeze the entire water) to cover the pan. Alternatively I used whole wheat flour dough to seal the edges so that the steam doesn’t escape.


  1. In a sauce pan heat about 1/4 cup of oil and deep fry onions till dark brown.
  2. Remove the onions and drain them on the kitchen towel. Once cool, crush them and set aside. Alternatively you can use store bought fried onions too. (Do not use left over oil in the marinade)

The first step is marinating the chicken:

  1. Grind coriander leaves, pudina, garlic and ginger to a paste in a mixer.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients along with the paste till well combined.
  3. Cover and let it rest for an hour or two. The marinade time is shorter here as the recipe is the Pakki biryani style.

Cooking the Basmati rice:

  • While the chicken is marinating, place a deep sauce pan on the stove with 10 cups of water on high flame.
  • When the water gets to boil, throw in the spices (cardamom, cloves, shahjeera, bay leaves, bay flower, pepper corns, butter, and salt) and cook for a minute.
  • Now gently add in the drained rice to the boiling water and let it cook on high flame till another boil (takes 4 minutes), then low flame and allow to cook.
  • When done immediately drain the rice along with the spices in a strainer. Let all the water drain off. Set aside.
  • Place a heavy wide bottomed deep pot or vessel on the stove top and turn it on high flame. Tip in oil and allow the pot to get hot for about a minute.
  • Now tip in the entire marinated chicken and sauté for few minutes till the aroma of the masala fills the air. Tip in a little water or milk, say about ½ cup, to avoid the chicken getting burnt. Then on low flame, cover the vessel with a lid and allow chicken to cook for about 25 minutes or so. When done remove a little chicken masala for the fourth layer, and flatten out the rest chicken masala at the bottom of the vessel as this is your first layer.
  • Then remove 3 half portions of rice in separate bowls and mix respective colour to two portions of the rice. Then arrange this yellow colour rice on top of the chicken. This is going to be your second layer.
  • Then third layer arrange the white rice as one layer, on top of this layer arrange the chicken masala for the fourth layer and put in the fried onions.
  • Over this arrange the orange colour rice and add about 2-3 tbsp of oil. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on high heat for 3 to 4 mts. Do not cook more than that because your chicken might get burnt.
  • Over this pour about ½ a tsp of rose essence or rose water for a lovely aroma. Ensure not to add too much.
  • Meanwhile heat a dosa pan/flat bottomed skillet on high heat till the pan is hot. Once hot reduce the flame to the lowest setting and place the chicken and rice pot on the tawa.
  • Now seal the pot with an aluminum foil or a wet towel (squeeze all the water) or using the traditional whole wheat dough method. This allows the flavors of your chicken and rice to remain inside.
  • Cook for another 15 minutes undisturbed on the tawa on the lowest setting. Switch of the flame and let it rest for 10 mts.
  • Just before serving open the lid, gently mix in the chicken at the bottom with the rice.
  • Serve with Mirch Ka Salan or Raita.

Prep Time:40 minutes
Cook time:30 minutes
Serves: 4-6


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