• Indian cuisine is a glorious array of vegetables, meat, grains and spices. (Andrew Dorn)Source: Andrew Dorn

Hyderabadi biryani is traditionally cooked in the dum pukht method which is low and slow. Pots can be sealed with a dough top, but a lid will do just fine for Adam's version. 






Skill level

Average: 2.6 (85 votes)


  • 2 kg chicken thigh, bone in, skin off
  • 300 g aged basmati rice
  • 50 ml milk 
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 225 g butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • Salt, to taste


  • 200 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 7 green cardamom pods
  • 6 dried Kashmiri chillies 
  • 30 g coriander seeds
  • 30 g cumin seeds
  • 20 g black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 300 g Greek yoghurt
  • 80 g ginger garlic paste
  • 1 long green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 50 g Kashmiri chilli powder 
  • 5 g chilli powder
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped, some leaves reserved to serve
  • 1 bunch coriander, sprigs picked and roughly chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: overnight

  1. For the marinade, place the oil in a saucepan over medium–high heat. When hot, add half the onion and fry for 3 - 4 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel and repeat with the remaining onion. Be careful not to brown the onion too much or it will become bitter. Reserve the oil and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, dry roast all the whole spices and bay leaves in a large, heavy–based frying pan over low heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until fragrant. Blitz in a spice grinder until finely ground.
  3. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the roasted ground spices, fried onions, 100 ml of the cooled frying oil and all the remaining marinade ingredients and stir to combine well, making sure all the pieces of chicken are coated in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days.  
  4. Wash the rice three times, then soak in a bowl of cold water for 10 - 15 minutes. Drain the rice.
  5. Place the milk, oil, saffron and 25 g butter in a saucepan over a low heat until warm. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse until needed.
  6. Heat the remaining butter in a large wide heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the bay leaves and star anise and fry for a few minutes or until fragrant. Add the drained soaked rice and stir for 1 -2 minutes or until the grains are well coated in the butter and lightly toasted. Add 5 litres of cold water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is 50 - 60% cooked. Drain the rice and set aside.  
  7. Place the chicken and all the marinade on the base of a large, deep heavy-based saucepan. Spread the rice over the top, then pour over the saffron-infused milk and butter mixture. Cover the rice closely with a piece of baking paper, then a lid, reduce the heat to as low as possible and cook for 2 - 2 ½ hours, without removing the lid. 
  8. To serve, spoon the biryani into serving dishes or take the pan straight to the table, scatter with mint and serve with lemon wedges.


Delve into the diversity of Indian cuisine with India Unplated, Thursdays 8pm on SBS Food.

Photography by Andrew Dorn.