Aha Indian Restaurant

Chicken Dum Biryani, a culinary masterpiece, hails from the rich culinary tradition of Hyderabad, India. This dish, known for its aromatic flavours and succulent chicken, involves a unique cooking technique called “dum,” which means steam-cooked. In Chicken Dum Biryani, marinated chicken is layered with partially cooked rice and then sealed in a pot to cook slowly on low heat. This slow-cooking process allows the flavours to meld beautifully, resulting in a dish that is both fragrant and flavorful.

Ingredients for Chicken Dum Biryani

To make this delicious Chicken Dum Biryani, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cup yoghourt
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4-5 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Saffron strands soaked in warm milk
  • 3 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for boiling rice

Chicken Dum Biryani Recipe

Preparation of Chicken Dum Biryani

  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and let it marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight for better flavour.
  2. Prepare the Rice: Rinse the basmati rice thoroughly under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes, then drain. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt, cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon sticks. Add the soaked rice and cook until it is 70% done. Drain the rice and set aside.
  3. Fry the Onions: In a large pan, heat ghee and fry the sliced onions until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove and set aside.
  4. Cook the Chicken: In the same pan, add a little more ghee if needed. Add the marinated chicken and cook until the chicken is browned and partially cooked. Add chopped tomatoes and green chillies, and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Stir in half of the fried onions, garam masala powder, and fresh herbs (coriander and mint leaves).
  5. Layering the Biryani: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, start with a layer of the partially cooked chicken at the bottom. Add a layer of the partially cooked rice on top. Drizzle with saffron milk, and sprinkle some fried onions and fresh herbs. Repeat the layers until all the chicken and rice are used up, finishing with a layer of rice topped with saffron milk, fried onions, and fresh herbs.
  6. Dum Cooking: Seal the pot with aluminium foil or a tight-fitting lid to trap the steam. Cook on low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the sealed pot in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for the same duration.
  7. Serve: Once done, let the Chicken Dum Biryani rest for a few minutes before serving. Gently fluff the rice with a fork, being careful not to break the grains. Serve hot with raita, boiled eggs, or a side of fresh salad.

Chicken Dum Biryani Variations

Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

The Hyderabadi version is the most famous and uses a lot of spices and herbs, giving it a distinctive taste and aroma. The use of fried onions (also known as barista), fresh mint, and coriander leaves is a hallmark of this variant.

Boneless Chicken Dum Biryani

For those who prefer boneless meat, you can easily substitute the chicken pieces with boneless chicken chunks. This version cooks faster and is easier to eat, especially for kids.

Gongura Chicken Dum Biryani

This is a special variant where gongura leaves (sorrel leaves) are used, adding a tangy flavour to the biryani. It’s a popular dish in the Andhra region.

Ulavacharu Chicken Dum Biryani

This variation includes a sauce made from horse gram (ulavacharu) which is mixed with the chicken, providing a unique and rich taste to the biryani.

Avakai Chicken Dum Biryani

A spicy variant that incorporates avakai (mango pickle) into the marination process, adding a tangy and spicy kick to the biryani.


Chicken Dum Biryani is more than just a dish; it’s an experience that brings together a symphony of flavours and aromas. Whether you are making it for a special occasion or simply to enjoy a delicious meal, this Chicken Dum Biryani recipe is sure to impress. With its rich history and variety of regional adaptations, there is always something new to discover about this beloved dish. So, gather your ingredients, follow this recipe, and enjoy the delightful experience of making and savouring Chicken Dum Biryani at home!