Chicken Biryani (Kolkata style)

Hello everybody ! Hope you are having a great week.

Today’s recipe is my favorite dish of all time. If I had to choose only 1 food to eat throughout my life, my instant answer will be – Biryani. Though I love every spicy variety of Biryani – Hyderabadi and Awadhi are in my top 3 list. Let me know in the comment section if you want me to share recipe of these 2 Biryani dishes.

Being a Bengali, Kolkata Biryani is obviously my number 1 dish of all time. If you follow my blog you know that I love potatoes a lot just like a true Bong. The specialty of our Biryani is the use of boiled potato and Keora water which brings the unique flavor to this dish. You can add boiled egg to the Biryani, but it is not mandatory. This is a wholesome meal by itself – rice, 1 to 2 pieces chicken, 1/2 potato and 1 egg if you prefer.

Preparing a delicious Biryani can be a little complex and time consuming, but the end result will take you to food heaven. You can enjoy this dish on its own. For a complete heavenly lunch serve Kolkata Biryani with a chicken or mutton side dish and spiced yogurt or raita.

Note : There can be several variations of preparing a dish, everybody has their own preference and style of cooking. I am sharing with you the process I follow.

Lets get started !


Preparation Time : (Chicken marination – overnight, others – 15 minutes)

Clean chicken pieces well. I generally use chicken legs, but you can use body pieces if you prefer. Remember to keep the pieces comparatively bigger in size for this dish. Place the clean pieces on a paper towel to soak excess water. Once dry add them in a large mixing bowl. In the mixing bowl add yogurt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, 1 tablespoon Biryani Masala and 1 tablespoon melted clarified butter (ghee). Mix everything with the chicken pieces to coat them evenly. Seal the bowl and let the chicken marinate overnight.

Clean Basmati rice well first. Now take a large bowl and fill half of it with water. Let the rice soak in water for about 15 minutes before you start cooking. In the meantime get the other ingredients ready.

Cooking Time : 1 hour

Ingredient :

  • Chicken (with bone) – 500g, keep the pieces comparatively big in size
  • Basmati Rice – 1 and 1/2 cup, choose a long grain one specially meant for Biryani
  • Potato – 1 big, cut into 1/2 horizontally
  • Eggs – 1 or 2, boiled (optional)
  • Onions – 3, 2 large roughly chopped and 1 medium chopped into thin long slices
  • Garlic – 6, crushed
  • Ginger – 2 inch, crushed
  • Green chilli – 4, roughly chopped
  • Biryani masala – 1 and 1/2 tablespoon
  • Dry bay leaf – 2
  • Whole spices – 1 star anise, 1 black cardamom, 2 green cardamom, few mace strands, 2 small slices of cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Yogurt – 4 tablespoon
  • Keora water – 1 tablespoon
  • Rose water – 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • Yellow food color or few strands of saffron dissolved in milk – 1 teaspoon
  • Clarified butter (ghee) – 5 tablespoon
  • Refined oil – 2 tablespoon (I used refined soybean oil)

Recipe :

Preparing the chicken :

  1. Take a wok. Add 1 tablespoon melted clarified butter (ghee). When the ghee heats up, add thin long sliced medium sized onion. Fry until the onions become brown and crispy. Once done, take them out in a small bowl.
  2. In the same wok add oil. When the oil heats up, marinate the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Add marinated potatoes into the oil. Stir fry the potatoes well so that it turns golden brown on all sides. Take it out once done in a separate bowl.
  3. In the same oil, add boiled eggs and stir fry until golden. This step is optional.
  4. In the remaining oil, add 1 bay leaf. After a few seconds add onions. Stir fry until the onions become golden.
  5. Add crushed ginger and garlic. Stir fry until the raw smell is gone.
  6. Now add marinated chicken pieces along with the whole marination spices. Mix well. Keep stirring until the chicken starts releasing water.
  7. Lower the flame to medium. Cover the wok with a lid. Let the chicken cook in its own juice. Stir occasionally to prevent the gravy sticking to the bottom of the wok. You can add little warm water later if required. (Start preparing the rice alongside – steps mentioned below)
  8. The chicken should be 3/4th cooked and not completely. Also the gravy should not be runny, neither it should be too dry. The gravy should be enough to coat the chicken pieces uniformly. When the chicken reaches the desired state, turn the flame off.

Preparing the rice :

  1. Take a deep bottom container (like a large bowl shaped container). Add 2 cups of water. Add few drops of oil. Let the water heat up.
  2. When the water is boiling, add rice. Also add whole spices and 1 bay leaf. Add few pinches of salt and sugar. Give it a stir and let the rice cook.
  3. Turn the flame off as soon as the rice becomes long and fluffy. Do not cook the rice completely, it should be 3/4th done.
  4. Strain the rice out from the hot water to prevent further boiling.

Preparing Biryani :

  1. Take a big deep bottom container, but it should have a comparatively flat base. (you can use any one of the vessels shown in the below pic, I use the one on your right)
  2. Grease the inner side of the container well with oil.
  3. Now start layering. Depending on the quantity of your chicken and rice you can have 2 to 4 layers. The first layer should always be the chicken. I used only 3 leg pieces, so I had only 1 layer of chicken. If you are using more you can use 1/2 the chicken for your 1st layer.
  4. The second layer should be rice. Spread the rice evenly on top of the chicken. I had less amount of rice so I had only 1 layer of rice. If you are using more, you can use 1/2 of the total rice for your second layer. Place the potatoes over the rice, you can press them a little deeper and cover them slightly with rice if you want.
  5. Repeat the layering – 3rd layer chicken, 4th layer remaining rice. Always remember chicken should be the 1st layer and rice should be the last that is top layer.
  6. Sprinkle remaining biryani masala on top of the rice. Also pour remaining melted butter evenly over the rice. Pour Keora water and rose water (if using) on top. Add yellow food color or saffron dissolved in milk next. Lastly spread fried onions on top evenly all over the rice. Close the lid of the vessel.
  7. Roll the wheat dough with both hands so that it becomes long enough to cover the whole diameter of the lid. Then press the dough evenly on all sides of the lid tightly so that the lid gets completely sealed to the vessel and there is no scope of vapor coming out of it.
  8. Now take a flat frying pan, it should be big enough to cover the lower base of your Biryani vessel. Turn the flame on but keep it on the lowest mode.
  9. Place the Biriyani vessel on top of the pan. Let it cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Turn the flame off after 30 minutes but do not open it. Give it a standing time of another 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Take a sharp knife and insert it below the lid and cut the dough off to open the lid. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot steam. Your Biriyani is ready to serve. Add boiled or fried boiled egg on each plate while serving (optional).

You can garnish your Biryani with coriander or mint leaves.


Serve Chicken Biryani hot as a wholesome lunch dish. I do not like boiled eggs in my Biryani, so I have skipped it in the below pic. But you can definitely add one if you prefer. If any of my guest or family like to have an egg, I boil it and then fry it slightly till golden before serving.


This is the platter I served my family on a special Sunday – Chicken Biriyani with Grilled chicken (recipe in a previous post) and Boondi raita. This Biryani contain 1 Chicken leg piece, 1 Chicken body piece and 1 potato along with rice (no eggs).


This is a typical Chicken Biryani platter which is ideal to serve to your family or guests – Chicken Biryani, salad, Chicken Kosha (recipe in a previous post) and raita. This Biryani contain rice, 1 chicken leg, 1 fried boiled egg and 1 piece potato.



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