Easy Kolkata Chicken Biryani Recipe

So I was checking FB, and suddenly Manzie puts up this picture of an incredible-looking Kolkata style Biryani which made me drool all over the keyboard. And she said, it had taken her very little time, and it was… just… well… ahem.

Here is her recipe as it was written on FB:

Heat mustard oil in a cooker add cardamoms cinnamom and cloves when they splutter add chopped onions till they are soft and translucent,now add 1tsp garlic, haldi pwd,red chi pwd, dhanna pwd,garam masala pwd(Everest)and one tablespoon curd n salt.lighty saute and add chicken…bhuno lightly cook till almost done. If you wish to add potatoes then you can by pre-cooking in micro..while chicken is being cooked.Boil rice 3/4 in salt water with tej patta. Strain and save one cup starch.In another tapela pour the cooked chicken, settle the base and pour all the rice over it. Sprinkle starch,Kewra water and 2 tbsp pure ghee..I use Amul 🙂 Keep on Sim for 15/20 mins 🙂DONE!! BIRYANIIIII…in a JIFFY 🙂

She had a fab recipe. I had virtually everything. Including that Everest Garam Masala. The recipe was so easy that I decided to give this a go. But, when I began, I realized I had no onions. And a few other stuff too. Lets just say, I sort of modified this recipe. I wanted to cook this with chicken.

So, here is what I did.

Marinated 500 gm. chicken in 2 tbsp. yogurt, 1 tsp. red chilli powder, 2 tsp. Everest Royal/Shahi Garam Masala (use a mixture of ground cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, allspice and nutmeg if you don’t have it), 1 tsp. garlic paste and salt to taste for at least 2-3 hours.

Heat 2 tbsp. refined oil and 1 tbsp. ghee or butter together over medium heat and add the chicken to it. Cover the pan and immediately bring to a simmer. let the chicken cook for 10 minutes, simmered. Remove cover, turn, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Peel 4-5 small potatoes and halve. Immerse in water to avoid discoloration.

Meanwhile, take enough long-grained Basmati rice for 4 people, and wash it in water. The measurement is roughly 250-260 gm. of uncooked raw rice in my house, but feel free to modify. In a big degchi or flat bottomed vessel with a tight fitting lid, add the rice with 3 cloves whole, 3 cardamoms whole, and 2 bay leaves. Salt the water generously, and if you like, you can add 1/4th tsp turmeric powder or a drop of yellow color.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice is half-cooked. Drain immediately, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water.

Cook the potatoes in water till nearly cooked.

Layer the chicken in the bottom of a flat-bottomed vessel with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with the rice. Sprinkle the starchy water on top. Arrange the potatoes on the rice. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup milk mixed with 2 tsp. Kewra (Pandan, very strangely) water or rosewater and 4 tbsp. ghee or butter. Cover and seal the sides of the vessel, if possible, with some flour dough, to keep the steam from escaping.

Cook, simmered, over very low heat, for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat. Let rest for 5 minutes. Holding both sides of the vessel and the top tightly, shake the vessel thoroughly before opening it. this will loosen up the rice and stop it from sticking.

Serve hot, preferably immediately.

Written by Poorna Banerjee


  1. rajesh kumar 2016-08-10 at 8:49 am

    A very friendly openhearted place to occupy a couple of nights. All persons were well trained, cooperative and helpful. Everything was handled with effectiveness and attention to every detail was given. Food was delicious and the view was wonderful while dining. Thanks…

  2. poorna banerjee 2012-09-29 at 7:01 pm

    Hello, just finished working on posting on this. Thank you.

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  4. poorna banerjee 2012-09-28 at 9:02 am

    yes I am Sayantani.

  5. Sayantani 2012-09-28 at 7:22 am

    Hi Poorna, just fund your blog from Indiblogger. the biriyani looks fantastic, love this recipe. between are you based in Kolkata too?

  6. poorna banerjee 2012-09-25 at 1:13 pm

    ei ei chhobi tolo ami dekhte chai.

  7. Suchi 2012-09-25 at 11:10 am

    Aree Poorna…this looks delish…now I am craving biriyani big time….I am always on a lookout for easy biriyani recipes…gotta try this one…bwt this Sunday going for the real deal….a Bangladeshi friend of ours makes the best lamb kaachi biriyani I have eaten on this planet…we wait/coerce him to make it…this Sunday is the day…most times I am so busy stuffing myself, I never take photos, this time planning to photograph the process…lets see…

  8. poorna banerjee 2012-09-24 at 8:09 am

    It is very easy, and it tastes gorgeous.

  9. Not Quite Nigella 2012-09-23 at 9:46 am

    Thanks P! It sounds very easy and straight forward! 😀

  10. poorna banerjee 2012-09-22 at 10:47 pm

    Saptarshi – I am not a huge fan of Meetha Attar, so skipped it. I want to make this with goat meat too, and Sharif, my butcher, is perfectly capable of giving me the meat with more Pardah… possibly from the gardaan. Dekha jaak.

    D – do try it. I think its one of the easiest Biryanis you can make.

  11. Pout Pretty 2012-09-22 at 8:19 pm

    Niiiceee.. im gonna try too

  12. Saptarshi Chakraborty 2012-09-20 at 5:56 pm

    I make something similar. I have always made it with goat meat (the fatty riyazi ones). In which case I boil the marinated (with yoghurt, garam masala, meetha attar, chilli powder) mutton a bit in a pressure cooker first with some water. I measure this water in a way that the resulting stock will be just sufficient to boil the rice later on. I also substitute a part of the stock with whole milk. The real trick in the biriyani making is getting the rice moist enough without over cooking it. Yours looks delicious! Vegetable biriyani is an oxymoron, though.

  13. poorna banerjee 2012-09-20 at 5:17 pm

    You can always substitute the chicken for Shiitake mushrooms.

  14. I'd love to see a veggie version of it!
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