This recipe does not fall into the 30 minute criterion of this site. However Diwali is a special occasion, so a little bit more time in kitchen will not hurt anybody.
After I left my home town I missed Biryani like any other Bengali. Whenever I had an opportunity I used to visit Bangalore and try Kolkata style Biryani at Lazeez in Commercial Street. Then my requirement of visiting Bangalore ended, and ever since I missed my Biryani. My hubby went one step further, he ordered Biryani at any shop, whoever had one to offer in their menu and in every case (other than at Dindigul Ponram Biryani) he did not go beyond a spoonful.
I had to try my hand at it. After trying for three long years I finally mastered the art of Kolkata style chicken Biryani and here I share my wisdom with my fellow Biryani lovers. Let’s begin!
The following is the recipe for two people.
Main Pieces of a Biryani
- Mashla (Spices)
I will explain how to prepare each of them one by one. While cooking you can obviously multitask, like while the chicken is cooking you can start cooking your rice etc.
Biryani Mashla (Spice)
Biryani spice-mix is the soul of the prep. The amount you will get from the ingredients listed below is a lot, and can be used to make biryanis many times over. However, it is easy to make larger amounts. This spice-mix can be used in daily cooking as garam masala.
1 tbs cumin seeds (Saah Jeera)
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs white pepper
2 or 3 black cardamom
7 or 8 green cardamom
1 whole nutmeg (jaifol)
2 whole maces (javetri flower)
5 or 6 whole cloves
1 inch long cinnamon stick
Dry roast all the whole spices on a hot tawa, till they start to release their aroma.
Take them off the heat and let them cool a little following which blend them to get the powdered spice.
You can sieve coarse grounded spices to get finer powder if you wish. Keep the powder in an air tight container for longer use.
2 cups of fine quality Basmati Rice (Use aged rice as it is less starchy, hence less sticky) (I usually use India Gate or Daawat (Amazon links), for USA)
4 Tbs of White Vegetable Oil (Most of the Biryani recipes use ghee, but I like oil better, they don’t make the dish as heavy as ghee)
2 tsp Rose water or 1 tsp Rose Essence
1 tsp Keora Water (this gives the Biryani its flavor, so this item is important. I usually get this from my hometown, since it is not always available locally) (amazon USA, India)
1 Dollop of ghee
4 Pieces of Chicken Legs
2 Medium sized Potatoes
4 or 5 big Onions
20 to 25 cloves of Garlic (I know they are a lot!)
1 inch long Ginger
150 gms plain Curd
1 tbs Red chilli powder
A pinch of sugar
2 Tbs warm milk
A pinch of saffron
You need to have some good quality Basmati rice. If you use aged rice even better. Wash the rice under running water and then immerse them in water for at least half an hour. This will get rid of excess starch, resulting beautiful non-sticky rice grains.
To prepare the rice, take 4 or 5 cups of water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add couple of green cardamom, 1 clove and a cinnamon stick. Add a pinch of salt.
When the water starts to boil, add the rice and cook till it is done. Drain the extra water. Clean under running water to get rid of excess starch and salt. Take a flat plate and spread the rice.
Cut 4 or 5 onions and fry them with a pinch of sugar in 2 tbs of oil till they caramelize.
We will use half of the onions to cook the chicken and half for assembling the final dish.
Prepare Ginger Garlic paste
We will need a lot of garlic for this dish. The ratio to ginger and garlic should be approximately 1:3.
After you peel the garlic and ginger blend them in a blender with a spoonful of water till you get a smooth paste.
Take 2 spoonful of warm milk (or water) and add a pinch of saffron strands and keep it aside so the milk gets the color.
If you do not have saffron handy then take same amount of water and add a pinch of turmeric. The effect will be the same. But be careful, do not add a lot of turmeric, it will ruin the aroma of the dish.
Cooking the Chicken
Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or clean cloth. I usually use whole leg pieces for this preparation, as they taste better.
Heat 2 tbs of oil in a pan and sear all the chicken pieces.
Searing means, frying all the sides till they start getting a golden color. This also seals the moisture in the meat. This also stops the meat from releasing a lot of water while cooking.
After the chicken pieces starts to get a golden brown color, add half of the fried onions, all the ginger-garlic paste, plain curd, 1 tbs biryani spice-mix, 1 tbs red chili powder, 2 tsp rose water (if you are using rose essence then use 1 tsp), 1 tsp Keora water and salt.
Do not use a lot of keora water, it tends to make the dish taste bitter
Mix well and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it cook for at least 20 mins. Check occasionally, if required add a little water. We do not want a lot of gravy.
When done take the chickens off the heat and keep them in a separate bowl. We will use the pan to fry the potatoes. We will use the chicken pieces and gravy separately. You can sieve the gravy to get rid of all the chunky pieces, but I am too lazy to do that.
Take two potatoes, cut them into four pieces each and cook them in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt. When done keep them aside.
In the same pan, after finishing the chicken, fry the boiled potatoes till they start to acquire some golden color. Turn off the heat.
It is now time to assemble all the pieces to get our Holy-Grail.
Now that we have all the elements of biryani ready, we just need to assemble them.
Take a heavy bottom pan.
Since we are going to cook the biryani on a low heat for a long time, we need to use a heavy bottom pan; else there is a possibility of burning the lower portion which eventually sticks to the pan.
In the pan put the potatoes, chicken legs at the bottom, top it up with 2 tbs of gravy, some fried onion and a pinch of biryani spices.
Now add a layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice-mix and 1 tsp of saffron water (or milk). Put another layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice and a tsp of saffron water (or milk). Add the last layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, a pinch of biryani spices and 1 tsp of saffron water (or milk). Finish it with a dollop of ghee 🙂 .
Cover the pan with a lid. Try to use a pan with a fitting cover. We want the aroma to be sealed as much as possible. Put the pan on low flame and cook it for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 5 mins.
Your Biryani is ready to serve.
A Quick Recap
- Prepare the Biryani masala.
- Immerse the rice in water for at least 30 mins.
- Cook the rice in boiling water with a pinch of salt and some whole spices.
- Cut the onions and fry them in lot of oil. We need nicely caramelized onions.
- Slow cook the chicken pieces with oil, spices, curd, chili powder and ginger garlic paste
- Cut the potatoes in big chunks and cook them in a pressure cooker till tender.
- Fry the potatoes in the same pan after you remove the chicken.
- Assemble the layers in a heavy bottomed pan and cover with a lid
- Cook for another 10 mins on a very low flame
- Biryani is ready to serve
130 thoughts on “Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani”
How to identify aged rice?
Its usually mentioned on the pack.
I have tried many biryani and today i tried your recipe. Its simply awesome. Thanks for sharing
Thank you 🙂
Tried your recipe today. It came out great! Thankyou for sharing ❤️
Thank you <3
Can u tell me the quantity of rice/chicken used?
And this recipe is for how many people?
I usually take two leg pieces per person nowadays. For rice you take according to the rice you usually eat. However for the basmati rice a little extra amount is needed if you want similar amount of the regular rice we use. like if you take one cup of regular rice, then take 1.25 cup of basmati 😊.
This recipe was intended for two people.
I hope this will help. Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting ❤
Can you please tell me how much rice and chicken and other ingredients needed for making biriyani for 20-25 people
I have made the Biryani max for 4 people. I am sorry, really can not help you with this question. 🙁
Thank you for reading the blog 🙂
Your recipe is really easy to follow and the step by step pictures make it even interactive. I have started blogging recently and my first post is of Kolkata biryani. Please check my recipe also. It doesn’t need much special ingredients. One can prepare it with easily ingredients available in local grocery.
which brand of zaferan (saffron) do you suggest? i’ve seen all local brands don’t bring the same sort of royal aroma what generally expensive brands manage to fetch easily.
Try the Pheran brand saffron really good available on flipkart.
Color of non aged basmati is white as jeera rice. It gets pale and yellowish in color with age. More the pale and yellowish color more the rice is aged.
Hii. This recipe looks really good. But do we need to put in the onions? Coz as far as I know, Kolkata Biryani doesn’t have onions in it. Can we do the whole thing without adding the onion part in?
Thank you for your msg. You can try it out, without onion 🙂 I have not tried it yet. I like the sweetness of the onion.
.thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. I really enjoyed it and its very helpful .. Keep it up !!
Hello Sarmistha your details recipe on kolkata style chiken biriyani will be tried and prepare on Holi 2015 by me. It will be very much helpful to me as Iam looking for it only. I would like to know that in Biriyani it is said that Star Anise, Kabab Chini, Khoa kheer and Alubalhra are the essential and important components of biriyani, without its uses biriyani wont make its taste. Please enlighten me in this regard, that it realy need or not…….Atin
If you check my recipe, I have not used any of the ingredients you mentioned (Star Anise, Kabab Chini, Khoa kheer and Alubalhra). however everybody has their own recipe. If you are going to try mine, I hope you like the end dish.
Hello Sarmistha please tell me how to prepare kolkata style Mutton Biriyani alongwith Mutton & Chiken Chap, all Kolkata style…..my ph no. xxxxxxxxxx andwhatsap no. xxxxxxxxxx……..Atin Banerjee
Nice recipe.I make mine using onion paste so we get to do away with sieving the masala.your pic looks yummy.thanks
You made my dream true. I cant believe i have prepared kolkata biriyani in my house at bangalore. I am a big fan of kolkata biriyani and this is like my dream come true. I made it so perfect. same essence, same teast…. just perfect. Thanks a lot.
Thank you for your comment Pankoj, you made my day too. Thanks 🙂
Hiii sharmistha aunty..i am 18 years old.I tried your recipe & i think ….east or west yours this recipe is the best….
This dish is nice but little spicy and hot,I
Think we should use less amount of spices
birani my fabaet dis
Hello Sarmishtha di, I’m a big fan of yours since Radhuni in Akash Bangla, and now I miss u so much that I left to watch the program. It’s really helpful for me as a hard core fan of Kolkata style Biryani & I made it today for my family. It tastes so similar & the aroma is exactly like any outlets Biryani of our city…….thanks a lot
Thank you Tanusree for trying my recipe. It feels good to know that I was able to make a fellow Biryani lover happy. However one small correction, I am not the famous Sharmistha Dey from the the show Randhuni. Thanks again :).
Haha. Doesn’t matter. Your recipe seems very precise and exciting. I am gonna try out this weekend and get back to you. What I loved about it is the simplicity.
Thank you Abhishek :), let me know how it went.
Hi Sharmistha, the biryani went good for me, but I think I can better it more with time… Thanks for the recipe!
Hello !! Yesterday, finally I cooked biriyani. Ur recipe was helpful. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Sarmistha, your biriyani recipe really did well for me. Thanks for it.
I am going to prepare your recipe tomorrow. Do I need to prepare more of biriyani spice mix if I amount of rice is 5 cups?
sorry for the late reply, I guess you have already found out that the amount of spice mixture will be a lot and can be used many a time more.
Hey… thank you so much for the amazing recipe ..
Today I tried it…it tasted sooo good…full of flavors…
My husband loved it.
I want chicken kosha recipe too… please share it also.
Thank you for your kind words. here is the link for chicken kosha
I will be trying your recipe tomorrow….I have one question for you that is….In your recipe you haven’t marinate the chicken. …..is it okk to go without the marinating. ….because all other recipes includes marinating. ….Please do let me know…..
I will be trying your recipe tomorrow….I have one question for you that is….In your recipe you haven’t marinate the chicken. …..is it okk to go without the marination??? ….because other recipes are telling us that marination is important……Please do let me know…..
Hello Suryani, I do not marinate the chicken 🙂
Hi sharmistha di,
Recipe tar jonno oshonkho dhonnobad. Aj eta try korlam. With your exact ingredients, it is just bang on target. Biryani just phataphati hoyeche. Sobai bolbo try korte.
Thanks a lot.
Thank you very much Nilanjan 🙂
Hi Di,, without saffron can i use this recipe???
Sorry to reply this late, you can use little bit turmeric instead of saffron
Good but not easy
My mother can make better than this
Hi, you have mentioned Keora & Rose water in the ingredients list but i guess in the method its not mentioned. Thanks for the recipe though! Turned out well.
Hello Sharmistha, your recipe is good , but sorry to say .. its not awadhi style biryani. There are some places in kolkatta , like arsalan , and aminia …who claim their biryani to be of awadhi style..though the taste is similar, it feels like something ia missing in their biryani…the best awadhi biryani I ever ate is from a small shop in Lucknow called ” Idris”. I am fortunate to have authentic awadhi biryani recipe which I gained from khansamas of Nawabs in lucknow ,and its not as you described. Believe it or not..they actually call the recipe as Pulao not biryani. Though I cant share the entire recipe I sure can share a few tips…1) they dont use curd or any watery liquid such as rose water or kewra water , the entire recipe is based on oil 2) they use potli ka masala ( khus ki jad , pan ki jad, ashwagandha, joth, Timor, kabab chini, maratha maggu, pathar ke phool etc..) 3) They use pure animal fat along with vanaspati ghee instead of oil 4) The rice is actually steamed in huge steamers and not put into so called “DUM”…which makes their rice extremely fluffy .5) meat balls are used along with meat instead of potatoes and eggs.6) Many prefer to use basmati sella instead of basmati rice . So these are some features of authentic awadhi biryani.
K. Barman, am curious. Why cannot you share the recipe of an authentic Avadhi biryani? Please share it. I have been looking high and low for an authentic avadhi biryani recipe. Sharing on line will keep it alive for eternity. Thanks
Your explanation is so good and detailed will definitely be trying this
Thank you 🙂
done, thx madam
Almost exactly the way my mom cooks. Just she adds a little sugar with raw milk and saffron. Before putting on ‘dum’
She cooks any day with same grandeur. Dunno how. I love u mom.
Hey Sharmishtha!!Thanks for sharing this recipe..It turned out really good..
Apnar explanation ta darun, jst pic perfct…
It was super hit. I have made biriyani at home earlier as well, but this recipe is faster, easier and wow taste. Thanks!
Thank you 🙂
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hello Sarmishtha madam, I m a big crazy fan of biriyani. I have tried ur recepie today. u wouldn’t believe but it was as perfect as u shared. it’s taste was so good and aromatic…thanks for ur tips..
Thank you 🙂
Hi! Really like your very detailed recipe. I am a big time Kolkata Biriyani enthusiast and have cooked a sonewhat of a variation of your recipe here but every time I found the rice comes out “anuni” as in saltless. Did you face any similar problem while following this recipe? If so do you have any suggestions to correct that?
While pre-cooking the rice try adding some salt in the water.
Can you plz share chicken chap recipie….
Didi, we are planning to make biriyani on this christmas.can you give us the right quantity of all the thing used to make biriyani for 10 persons? It will be very helpful.Thanks…
The proportion in the blog is for 2 people, so just multiply everything by 5. I think that should work 😀
i just tried the recipie. it came out to be a brilliant dish. am a bong staying in bengaluru. i appreciate ur method. thanx for sharing. had mah taste buds tingle with the royal kolkata-biriyani. but i faced a bit prob, somewhere in the powder mix of the masala, it came to me a bitter taste. is it of the keora water?
Keora water can be bitter if used more. You put keora water in the garam mashala?
Hello Sharmistha di, Thanks for this awesome detailed recipe. I have a question, I am going to prepare this for 12 people this Sunday. So the spices should be used in what proportion? And as u said, the Keora water should be used in more quantiy, so how much keora water should be used for 12 people biriyani. Will be very helpful if u reply soon. Thanks again.
keora water should not#
How many pieces of chicken for six peoe?
I take two leg pieces (drum-sticks) per person.
Hi dear thnx for sharing.
“Cook till it is done” means totally cook is it? Some ppl.told me not to overcook, like 3/4 only. I nvr get the correct consistency. Sometime the rice turns out to b too soft or even uncook
I tried this yesterday and it has come out perfect. I followed your instructions completely, including the measurements, so it was very easy. It was beyond my dreams that I would cook biryani one day, but thanks to you it has been possible!!
I have shared your page (this link) with my friends who asked me how I cooked this and would also share it in my blog to make it reach some more people! Thanks once again 😊
Thanks 🙂 and thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you Sharmistha di. We are definitely going to try this recipe on this weekend and let you know.
Second time prepared today following your recipe again. Thank you for so detailed explanation and giving such a good recipe.
Just a question, if instead of saffron milk if i use keora water, is it like at every layer i need to give some amount of that ? Or just at the end? Coz i heard adding too much keora water makes the dish bitter.
Thank you :).
Keora water is for flavor and you should give only in the chicken, not in the rice, and it should be little in amount. Saffron milk is for colour, if you do not have saffron you can use a little bit of turmeric in the milk to get the yellow color. Don’t confuse keora water with saffron.
There is one more secret ingredient..its plum
Was having biriyani at Shiraz..luck would have the plum seed had remained in the biriyani..i asked them where did it come from. They had to reveal its an integral part. I got the same once again at Sabir. This is no coincidence. The plum is cooked with meat after being boiled with the rice
Yes I know that 🙂 but it is not easy to get here and I am a bit lazy 😀
I want to try this recipe. But nowhere I am finding keora water, so any alternate for that?
You can get it online. I found one in the link below.
Great job, Sharmistha.
how cn we contact wd uh if we wnt 2 join ur cooking classes here in kolkata..??
I don’t stay in Kolkata, also do not teach any cooking class
Your biriyani recipe is really yammy
I am my biryani cook
Your recipe is so good and simple.. thanks for posting this.
do I need to add salt with the rice? or adding with the chicken and gravy will be enough?
You can add little salt while cooking the rice, even some whole garam masala.
Thanks for the awesome recipe Madam. I did the recipe as it is the first time around. It came out well but I found it little bland.
The second time around, I added a single star anise,5/6 marathi mogga and 5/6 paththar ke phool to the spice mix. Also added a cup of coriander leaves and mint leaves. Half the leaves while cooking the chicken and the other half in small quantities between layers of rice. This came out awesome with the Avadhi flavor.
The third time around, I grilled the potatoes before frying. Marinated the chicken for 1 hours with half of the fried onions, all the ginger-garlic paste, plain curd, 1 tbs biryani spice-mix, 1 tbs red chili powder, 2 tsp rose water, 1 tsp Keora water and salt. Grilled the chicken lightly before frying.
This came out even better. I loved the smoky taste.
I love cooking and trying out newer things daily.
Thanks for the recipe. I would definitely try this. I did not see where you put the milk with the saffron.
Hi, first of all thanks for the recipie. My husband loves biryani the Bengali style and i had never tasted it before my marriage so your recipe helped a lot in making him happy. So thank you again.
Thank you Tista
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I don’t know why but I am left with almost soggy and sticky rice and almost no salt T_T please help. It’s the 5th time I am following your recipe.
Thank you so much for sharing the amazing recipe with us and make our life easier.. This is my and my husband favourite dish and I keep making chicken biryani on every alternative sunday’s. Once again , thank you so much and I am sorry for late review.
I was curious to know how to make Kolkata type Biriyani…..A big round of appreciation for you to make the recipe look so easy to cook and delicious.I tried this and got a positive nod from my family…I just added two things which you didn’t mention …that is one drop of mitha Athar on the gravy and also used Khoa kheer….The result was fabulous….Thank you so much .
I cannot thank you enough. You have no idea how long I have been looking for this recipe. I am a Bengali who misses her favourite arsalan biriyani all the time, being in Goa. I tried it today and it was spot on. Just need to add a little more salt the next time. Thank you for changing my life 🙂
Please recommend a heavy bottomed induction kadhai for cooking biriyani.
Yummy. Thanks a lot. Tried making Kolkata biryani for the first time and it turned out lovely.
I’d give it 5 stars.
Don’t get good Kolkata biryani in Mumbai.
Nothing better than this recipe
Thanks a lot for your lovely comment 🙂
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Big time fan of kolkata ‘s biryani. Thank you for sharing the recipe in such detailed way.
loved the article !
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Thank you so much for the recipe. This came out just perfect – a totally different taste & I absolutely loved it. In fact better than what I have had at restaurants specializing in Bengali cuisine .
I am a big fan of Calcutta biryani. Yours one looks delicious. Great share!
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very useful and target niche content on this site also very nice posts, thank you >keep posting content like this.
I like your blog. It’s look like so simple recipe because you has described it so beautifully. Thank you for sharing you recipe with us.
Simple and authentic recipe. Very nice:)
You made me hungry.. During this lockdown.. Dams so tasty..
I kind of have a fascination towards the Kolkata Dum Biriyani and searching through the recipes I chose yours to try. My cooking was not perfect but the taste was good. And my 9 years old daughter who doesn’t like the biryani we sometimes bring from restaurant, was digging into the homemade one. Will definitely try again and bring more perfection. 😊
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I followed your recipe and ratios, and made the biryani for fifteen of my coworkers. This was the first time ever I made biryani for more than two people, and my manager and coworkers absolutely LOVED it. Thank you Ma’am so much for sharing this recipe with so much care and thought!
Thank you so much 🙂
I am quite briyani lover! Your recipe is really better than others, so I follow step by step procedure and make it attractive. I tried second time and it was tasty, all because of your useful article.
Thank you for your kind words 😊
Tried this biryani this Friday, it turned out delicious and yummy! Recipe is explained very well and it was so easy for me to follow it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Thank you 😊
Really Nice. Your article is fully informational. Let’s try this dish once in my home… Thank you mam for this recepies. Yummyyyy…..