Pakistani Biryani: A Delicious And Flavorful Rice Dish

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Pakistan’s vibrant culinary scene boasts a treasure trove of delicious dishes, and biryani holds a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of Pakistanis. This fragrant rice dish, layered with meat, vegetables, and aromatic spices, is a symphony of flavors that’s perfect for any occasion, from casual family dinners to festive celebrations.

There are numerous regional variations of biryani in Pakistan, each with its own unique blend of spices and ingredients. Today, we’ll be exploring a classic Pakistani biryani recipe that’s guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds.

Pakistani Chicken Biryani (The BEST!)
Pakistani Chicken Biryani (The BEST!)


For the Marinade:

1 kg (2.2 lbs) boneless chicken (cut into medium-sized pieces)

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

  • For the Rice:

    4 cups basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes

  • 6 cloves
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

  • For the Vegetable Layer (Optional):

    1 cup chopped carrots

  • ½ cup peas
  • ½ cup green beans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

  • For Garnishing:

    Fried onions (optional)

  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves

  • Directions:

    1. Marinate the Chicken: In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well and ensure the chicken is evenly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, for deeper flavors.

    2. Prepare the Rice: Rinse the soaked basmati rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Drain the rice and set it aside.

    3. Cook the Rice (Part 1): In a large pot, heat ghee or vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and star anise (if using). Let the spices crackle for a few seconds.

    4. Add the Rice: Add the rinsed basmati rice and salt to the pot. Stir gently to combine with the spices. Pour in enough water to cover the rice by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 10 minutes.

    5. Prepare the Vegetable Layer (Optional): If using vegetables, heat oil in a separate pan over medium heat. Add the chopped carrots, peas, and green beans. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened. Season with salt and set aside.

    6. Cook the Chicken: While the rice simmers, heat another pan or pot over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken along with the yogurt marinade. Scrape any remaining marinade from the bowl to ensure you don’t lose any flavor. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until the yogurt dries out and the chicken is browned.

    7. Assemble the Biryani: After 10 minutes, turn off the heat under the rice pot. If there’s any remaining water on top of the rice, drain it off. Spread half of the cooked rice evenly onto a large serving platter or baking dish.

    8. Layer Up: Top the rice with the cooked chicken pieces. Spread the prepared vegetable layer (if using) over the chicken. Finally, cover everything with the remaining cooked rice.

    9. Seal the Deal: Drizzle a little ghee or melted butter over the top layer of rice. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel.

    10. Final Cooking Step: Place the covered dish back on the stovetop over the lowest heat setting. Let the biryani steam cook for another 15-20 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the rice to finish cooking perfectly.

    11. Garnish and Serve: Turn off the heat and let the biryani rest for another 5-10 minutes before serving. Fluff the rice gently with a fork and spoon the biryani onto plates. Garnish with fried onions (optional) and fresh coriander leaves. Enjoy your delicious Pakistani biryani!

    Nutrition Facts (Approximate per Serving)

    Calories: 500-600 (depending on the amount of oil used)
    Fat: 20-25 grams
    Protein: 30-35 grams