5 Delicious Biryani Recipes to Make at Home

As one of the most enjoyed dishes in Indian cuisine, biryani has a number of variations that are enjoyed. Here are five biryani recipes you can make.

5 Delicious Biryani Recipes to try at Home f

The prawns provide a nice change from chicken or lamb

Biryani has long been one of the most popular dishes within Indian cuisine and it is one people love to make.

The dish has had a long history as it was introduced during the Mughal Empire and used Persian influences. It uses a mix of meat, rice and a selection of spices to produce a layered meal that is full of flavour.

Biryani highlights classical South Asian cuisine and it is a speciality all over the Indian sub-continent.

Its popularity has seen it enjoyed in many non-Desi regions and regularly replicated within the home.

People use a meat of their choice, such as chicken and lamb and combine it with spices for a hearty meal.

The mixture of rice, meat and garnishes encourage texture within each mouthful.

With a number of variations, we have five delicious recipes which you can make so that you can enjoy a classic staple within Indian cooking.

Lamb Biryani

Delicious Desi Lamb Dishes you Must Try - biryani

Lamb biryani is one of the more hearty variations of the classic Indian dish as it uses tender pieces of lamb layered with spices.

The original version of the dish made during the Mughal Empire used lamb.

It is a luxurious dish filled with mouthfuls of flavour. From the soft rice to the meat, it is just layers of exquisite taste.

This particular recipe includes crispy onions and pomegranate seeds for added texture. It is a dish which promises to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 900g boneless lamb, fat trimmed and diced
  • ½ tsp saffron, crushed
  • 20g butter/ghee, melted
  • 2 Large onions, finely sliced
  • 450g basmati rice, washed and soaked
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 8 Cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 80g pomegranate seeds
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • Salt, to taste

For the Marinade

  • 250g yoghurt
  • 5cm piece ginger, grated
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2½ tsp cumin powder
  • 2½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp crushed chillies
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients together. Mix well then add the lamb, stirring to coat.
  2. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. Before cooking, remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior.
  3. Meanwhile, soak the saffron in 90 millilitres of warm water for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160°C or 140°C for a fan oven.
  4. Heat oil and the butter/ghee in a lidded casserole dish over low heat.
  5. Add the onions and fry for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until they become golden and slightly crispy. Once cooked, remove and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt.
  6. Drain the oil from the dish but leave three tablespoons behind. Set the drained oil aside.
  7. In a saucepan, combine the rice with the cinnamon stick and crushed cardamom. Add water and bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Once done, drain the water.
  8. To assemble, spread a third of the rice over the base of the casserole dish in a thin layer. Add two tablespoons of the saffron water and a third of the onions.
  9. Spoon over half the lamb evenly then repeat the process once more.
  10. Top the dish with the rest of the rice, onions and saffron water.
  11. Cover with foil and the lid. Heat on a high flame for one and a half minutes before transferring to the oven. Cook for 45 minutes or until the lamb is tender.
  12. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and coriander before serving.

Malabar Prawn Biryani

5 Delicious Biryani Recipes to try at Home - prawn

A prawn biryani adds a twist on the classic Indian dish in terms of taste and texture from the prawns.

This recipe is piled with layers of rice, spices and prawns. Each mouthful brings a depth of flavour which makes it a biryani which must be made.

The prawns provide a nice change from chicken or lamb as there is a slight bite to the prawns as opposed to the tender meat.

On paper, it looks like it will take several hours to prepare but it actually takes less than an hour and is relatively simple to make.

Ingredients

  • 500g large prawns, shelled, deveined and washed
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 20g butter
  • ½ Lemon, juiced
  • Salt, to taste

For the Sauce

  • 3 Small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp powdered fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 12 Curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Chopped coriander
  • Mint leaves, chopped

For the Rice

  • 2 Small onions, finely sliced
  • 400g basmati rice, washed and soaked
  • 750ml water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick
  • 10 Black peppercorns
  • 6 Cloves
  • 8 Curry leaves
  • 6 Green cardamom pods
  • 8 Curry leaves

Method

  1. Marinate the prawns in turmeric powder, salt, black pepper and chilli powder. Mix well then set aside.
  2. Heat oil and ghee in a large, lidded saucepan and add the whole spices. Cook for 30 seconds then add the onions and half a teaspoon of salt. Cook until soft.
  3. Increase the heat and cook until golden. Drain the rice and add to the saucepan. Mix well to coat the rice and to dry off excess water. Cook for three minutes.
  4. Add the water and season well. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice and slightly tear the curry leaves before adding them to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Leave to cook for eight minutes.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Spoon the rice onto open plates to prevent overcooking and leave to one side.
  6. For the prawns, heat oil in a saucepan. Add the prawns and cook for a minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  7. In the same saucepan, heat ghee before adding the onions. Cook until golden and soft.
  8. Stir in the curry leaves, ginger and garlic paste. Cook for one minute then add the spices and tomatoes. Allow it to cook for a few minutes then season.
  9. Pour in a splash of water and cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes become soft and darker in colour.
  10. Add the prawns into the pan along with two teaspoons of lemon juice, herbs and a little water. Cook for three minutes, then remove from the heat.
  11. To assemble, place small chunks of half the butter on the rice pot base. Layer half of the rice and sprinkle the remaining garam masala and herbs. Spoon over all the prawn mixture and top with the remaining rice and butter.
  12. Cover with a tea towel and lid. Place in a 150°C oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it rest for 20 minutes before serving.

This recipe was inspired by Anjum Anand.

Chicken Biryani

5 Delicious Biryani Recipes to try at Home - chicken b

This chicken biryani recipe is one which does not take too long to make and is fairly simple.

The chicken is marinated which gives an extra level of flavour. The spiciness from the spice mix is offset by the chicken marinade as it uses yoghurt.

There are a number of chicken biryani variations in different regions of the country which provide unique tastes and varied cooking methods.

This recipe uses fresh tomatoes to give the whole a slightly acidic, yet sweet taste.

Ingredients

  • 300g rice, cooked and cooled
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 Green cardamom pods
  • 1 Onion, finely sliced
  • 160g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 green Birds eye chillies, slit lengthways
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp garam masala, to garnish
  • A handful of coriander leaves, to garnish

For the Chicken Marinade

  • 600g boneless chicken thighs, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • ½ chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients and add the chicken. Mix well then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil then add the green cardamom and cumin seeds. Fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for three minutes. As they soften, mash them with the back of the spoon.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree then add the chillies and ginger-garlic paste. Cook for one minute.
  5. Add the coriander powder and stir well. Gently add the chicken and mix well. Cook for four minutes to seal the chicken pieces.
  6. Season, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for five minutes. Stir halfway to prevent sticking.
  7. Remove from the heat and spoon over half the rice followed by half of the garam masala and coriander leaves.
  8. Layer the remaining rice and add the rest of the garam masala and coriander leaves.
  9. Put the lid back on and place on a low flame for five minutes.
  10. Turn the heat off and allow the biryani to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with your choice of raita.

This recipe was adapted from Maunika Gowardhan.

Mixed Vegetable Biryani

5 Delicious Biryani Recipes to try at Home - mixed veg

This biryani will take centre stage on any table it is served on and will be enjoyed by most as it is very versatile.

It can be made using a variety of vegetables and the dish is packed full of flavoursome spice. You can use whatever vegetables you like when preparing the meal.

This recipe is quicker to make than other biryani dishes as the vegetables do not need to be marinated. Each vegetable provides its own flavours which are enhanced by the spices.

The dish can be served alongside a curry of your choice or condiment and it can be eaten hot or cold. It is a delicious vegetarian alternative.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup onions, grated
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables of your choice, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 cup rice, boiled to almost done
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • A handful of coriander, to garnish

Method

  1. Heat oil and add the cumin seeds in a rice pot. When they sizzle, add the onions and ginger-garlic paste. Fry until brown.
  2. Stir fry the vegetables over a low heat until they have slightly softened. Add coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric, chilli powder and green chillies. Cook for five minutes then mix in the lemon juice and half of the coriander.
  3. When the water has evaporated, remove half of the vegetables and layer with half of the rice.
  4. Cover with the rest of the vegetable mixture and the rest of the rice.
  5. Place the lid on the pot and allow it to cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Once done, garnish with the coriander and serve.

This recipe was inspired by NDTV Food.

Mughlai Biryani

5 Delicious Biryani Recipes to try at Home - mughlai

This biryani goes back to its roots as the recipe uses ingredients which are typically seen in the Mughlai style of cooking, hence the name.

The dish has a distinct aroma and uses a mixture of whole and ground spices for a depth of flavour.

The tender pieces of meat combine with the spice of the peppercorns and the sharpness of the ginger. You can use chicken or lamb to make this dish.

They provide the perfect contrast to the mellow tasting rice. It is a one-dish recipe which is truly regal.

Ingredients

  • 900g lamb/chicken, cut into small cubes
  • 4 Large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 5 Cloves
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 1-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1½ tsp cumin powder
  • 8 Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Orange food colouring (optional)

Method

  1. Put the almonds in a bowl of hot water and set aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the skins.
  2. In a food processor, mix the ginger-garlic paste with the peeled almonds. Grind into a smooth paste.
  3. Wash the rice in a pot and add enough water to fully cover the rice. Add salt to taste. Boil the rice until it is almost done then remove from the heat. Strain and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat some oil and fry two of the onions until they are caramelised. Drain on kitchen paper and set the onions aside.
  5. In another pan, heat oil and add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns. Fry until the spices get a little darker.
  6. Add the remaining onions and fry until they become translucent. Add the ginger-garlic and almond paste and fry for three minutes. Mix in the cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Fry until the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  7. Add the meat and fry until it has fully sealed. Mix in the yoghurt, lime juice, stock, coriander, mint leaves and salt. Cover the pot and cook until the meat is tender.
  8. If you’re using food colouring, divide the rice into three equal portions and place into separate dishes. Add the food colouring to one portion and mix until the rice is well coloured. Set aside for 10 minutes, then mix the three portions in a bowl.
  9. Grease a deep baking dish and evenly layer the cooked rice and meat to form at least two sets of layers. Garnish with the caramelised onions.
  10. Tightly cover the dish with a lid or with two layers of aluminium foil. Place in a preheated oven at 175°C. Cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Once done, turn off the oven and allow the dish to rest in the oven until you are ready to serve.

This recipe was inspired by The Spruce Eats.

Biryani dishes are made and adapted according to individual and personal preferences. Different preparation processes massively contribute to the flavour of the dish.

Whatever the variation, biryani continues to be one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine.

While this is a selection of recipes that will guide you, ultimately, feel free to add or remove spices depending on your taste.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”