Pishpash: Biryani with Leftovers


Let me just take a deep breath and realize that the long weekend is actually over and this marks the end of indulgences. I wonder why good days pass so fast. Regardless, how do you feel this morning? A lot heavier than last week we are guessing? Same! I feel like a body being dragged by some unnatural force to work. Mum says, it is overeating and extreme laziness. I think, its my heavy heart that yearns for more sleep, Yet she gives me a plate of beautiful Pishpash for breakfast. Can you believe that? How can one eat this extraordinary Biryani and not want to laze around. With layers of taste and texture, I tell you, this is a food lover’s delight. The best part is, its only assembled  from leftovers.

Pishpash is a very famous Bengali dish that dates its origin to I really don’t know where. You ask in any Bong house if they’d had Pishpash and they have. Ask them from where did it all begin. The answer will be “My mum used to make and I make now”. So I cannot give you a beautiful backdrop to this recipe but I assure you a plateful will make you very imaginative (read happy and dreamy). Feel free to stud your own story while giving the recipe out. As a matter of fact, cook up a story that can go viral. Maybe finally we’ll have a milieu to fall back upon 😉





  • Basmati Rice: 2 cup
  • Chicken: 1 cup
  • Paste of 3 medium onions
  • Chopped tomato (medium): 1
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Red chilli powder: 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 2 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Oil: 3-4 tbsp
  • Bay leaf: 2
  • Cinnamon: 1 stick
  • Cardamom: 2
  • Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Chicken gravy powder: 2 tbsp
  • Ghee or clarified butter: 1 tbsp
  • Chole masala: 2 tbsp


Ingredients for marination:

  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Chicken masala: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp



  • Marinate the chicken pieces with oil, chicken masala and turmeric powder.
  • Cooking the rice: First, cook your basmati rice (1:2 should the ratio of rice to water) and drain it before it’s completely cooked. We are looking at it al dente. Drain and dry under the fan. This will go in the refrigerator for about a day.
  • Cooking the chicken: In a kadhai, add about 2 tbsp oil. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin seeds. Wait till it is fragrant.
  • Once you can smell the garam masala, add the onion paste and the ginger-garlic paste and cook well till light brown.
  • At this point, you will add all the masalas, cover and cook for about 1 min, or until the paste leaves oil.
  • Now, to this, add the marinated chicken and cook for about 1 min. You can put half a cup of water now. It helps the chicken cook well.  Cover and cook for about 3-4 min in low heat.
  • After 3 min, open the cover, add chopped tomatoes, salt and sugar and cook on high heat until the water evaporates. It will be a semi-dry curry.
  • Sprinkle chopped coriander and let it cool.
  • This rests in the refrigerator for a day again.
  • To assemble: After a day, take out the chicken from the refrigerator. in a kadhai, heat very little ghee (about 1 tsp) and add the chole masala (yup, you heard it quite right). Add the rice and cook till it is coated with ghee.
  • In a wide vessel, layer chicken and rice alternatively. You can also mix browned onions. I don’t like it much, so I avoided it.
  • Mix well before serving. And that should be an authentic meal of the yummiest Pishpash ever!



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