1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high. Spread the marinated chicken and the extra marinade in one layer on the bottom of the pot then cook for 3 minutes. Pour a tablespoon of melted butter or ghee on top of the chicken.

2. Assemble the biryani by layering half of the ingredients on top of the chicken in the pot to form the first layer: rice, salt, caramelized onions, one tablespoon of melted butter or ghee, saffron milk, mint and cilantro. Create the second layer with the remaining ingredients in the same order.

3. Cover the pot with the lid.

4. Roll out the dough to form a snake that can seal the top of the pot. Pinch the dough to the pot and lid to keep it in place overlapping it at the ends.

5. Return the pot to the stove and heat over low for about 20 minutes. Turn of the heat and let it rest for another 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Crack the dough seal just before serving the biryani.


-    Authentic biryani uses chicken with the bones to enhance the flavor of the dish. If you prefer to use chicken with bones, use 2 pounds of chicken and cut it into pieces.


- Serve with Onion Raita.



1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, wash and set aside.

2. Grind Masala spices in a spice grinder to a fine powder.

3. Grind the chiles, garlic and ginger in a food processor. Add mint, cilantro and lemon juice then pulse a few times to chop the leaves.

4. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, ground Masala, ground green chile mixture and all of the remaining Chicken Marinade ingredients. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and mix well so the pieces are well coated. Cover and let this sit in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.


1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.

2. Boil basmati rice in 4 cups of water along with the other Rice ingredients until the rice is only half cooked, about 10 minutes. Strain the water from the rice and spices but do not rinse it. Spread the rice on a dinner plate and let it cool.


1. Mix all of the seal ingredients together in a bowl. Knead for 5 minutes then wrap in a piece of plastic until ready to use.

Caramelized Onions:

1. In a skillet, heat the oil and butter. Stirring often, fry the onions for about 10 to 15 minutes until they turn brown and are caramelized. As they brown, you may want to reduce the heat so they do not burn.


1. Heat the milk until it is warm. Add the saffron and mix well until the yellow color is released. Set aside.


1 1/2 lb boneless chicken
4 cloves
1″ piece cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
8 black peppercorns
Chicken Marinade:
1 or 2 serrano chiles
6 cloves garlic
1" piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Basmati rice
4 cups water
4 cloves
4 cardamoms
2 2″ pieces cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
2 or 3 sprigs mint
1 Tbs oil
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs white flour
2 Tbs wheat flour
3 Tbs oil
6 Tbs water
1/2 Tbs salt
Caramelized Onions:
2 white onions, finely sliced
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp saffron
1/2 cup warm milk
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs mint, chopped
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs ghee or melted butter
1 tsp salt

Dum Pukht Biryani [Indian Chicken recipe]

Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani takes some time but it is not very difficult to make. It is perfect for a large family gathering or a weekend dinner and reheats well. Since it is not spicy hot everyone will love the rich flavors that are layered in this Indian recipe. 

While traveling in Mumbai, I  dined at Dum Pukht in the Sheraton Hotel . The items on the menu, mirroring the name of the restaurant, were cooked slowly in the style created by the Nawabs back in the 16th Century with meat and rice cooked together very slowly in a large sealed pot over low heat without many spices so the aromas and flavors could marry and create a meal fit for a king. The signature feature is the dough that is placed on the sealed pot just before it is cooked to keep in the steam and is broken just as it is served. This style of cooking, most popular in Northern India, is considered to be the most sophisticated of all of India. I devoured the Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani that evening. I hope my version of this famous recipe becomes a favorite in your home.