Afghani Chicken Biryani is delicious, mildly spicy, aromatic, flavourful and easy to make chicken biryani recipe. The recipe is similar to Hyderabadi white chicken biryani recipe. Afghani biryani is soul satisfying complete meal in itself.
About This Recipe
Biryani is not just food, it is an emotion. In India, biryani is always been part of celebration menu. Though the name and few ingredients change depending on the tastes of people and place, biryani is biryani.
There are certain foods which can be categorised basing on flavour – sweet, savory, spicy, tangy, sour, etc. But if there is one recipe which has different flavours and still tastes amazing, then it will be definitely biryani. Every house and hotel has its own biryani recipe and a story or legacy attached to it.
I love to try different biryani recipes. Few days back, I have seen this recipe of Afghani Biryani on a cooking channel and just loved it. Afghani biryani is perfect main course recipe to indulge with family or friends.
Let me tell you, however delicious you cook biryani at home or relish at hotel, wedding biryani is always top notch. Especially. Hyderabadi Muslim Wedding Biryani (Shadiwali Biryani). So, don’t miss a chance to indulge yourself, if you get an invitation to attend an Hyderabadi wedding.
Afghani Chicken Biryani
Afghani Cuisine is a mixture of fragrant spices, mild taste of nuts and with a light touch of fresh herbs. Authentically, lot of dry fruits and nuts go into making this biryani recipe. In addition to this carrot juliennes and meat mice are also added to Afghani biryani.
As we are going to make an easy version of this biryani recipe, I am keeping the ingredients list simple and pantry friendly. There is one more reason for avoiding nuts, I have a little fussy eater at home, who still is not fond of eating nuts as whole.
Unlike pulao in biryani, rice and meat are cooked separately and then layered alternatively and cooked on DUM. In this recipe too, we cook rice with whole spices and marinated chicken separately. Then we layer rice and chicken alternatingly and cook on dum till done.
Main Ingredients, Tips & Variations
Rice – I prefer using basmati rice in any pulao or biryani recipe. Basmati rice brings its own flavour and aroma that compliments perfectly with spices and other ingredients. Instead of basmati rice, you can use sella rice. Traditionally, Afghani biryani is made with sella rice. You can substitute basmati with sona masoori too. But there will be lot of change in the flavour and taste.
Chicken – Biryani cut chicken pieces are good for making this recipe. You can substitute this with mince or mutton. Marination is the key to any flavourful biryani recipe. Marinating the chicken overnight will give best flavour and texture. At least, try to marinate chicken for one hour before cooking.
Birista | Fried Onion: Crispy golden fried onion slices add color, flavour and texture. Birista play a very important role in flavouring and texturing the biryani.
Garam Masala – My preservative-free and additive-free homemade garam masala is perfect to make this biryani. Do try it!
Curd – Use thick, creamy and a day old curd. The day old curd is little sour in taste and is perfect for marination.
Nutmeg Powder – This is the key ingredient in making Afghani biryani. Nutmeg powder gives nutty flavour, warmth and light citrusy aroma, which makes this biryani different from others.
Ginger-Garlic Paste – Adds flavour, aroma, heat and taste.
Green Chillies – The spice and heat in this biryani recipe is from green chillies and pepper powder only. We do not use red chilli powder in making this biryani recipe.
Pepper Powder – Adds heat, spice and flavour. Pepper powder is generally added to chicken during marination.
Nuts – Traditionally, pine nuts or almonds are used as topping. We will be using cashew-almond paste. This will give creamy texture, nutty flavour and thick gravy.
Saffron Milk – Saffron is one of the staple ingredient in Afghani cuisine. Take 2-3 tbsp. of lukewarm milk and add pinch of saffron. Leave for 15-20 minutes. Saffron strands leave a beautiful orange-yellow color in milk and a sweet aroma. This milk is added while layering the biryani.
Afghani Chicken Biryani Masala:
If garam masala is not readily available, then make this quick and easy Afghani Biryani Masala y following this recipe.
1 tbsp. Cloves ,4 Green Cardamom, 2 inch piece Cinnamon, ½ tbsp. Shahijeera or Cumin seeds, 1 tbsp. Coriander seeds, 2 tbsp. Peppercorns, 1⁄4 Star Anise, 1 small Black Cardamom, optional
In a warm pan dry roast these ingredients on low flame for a minute and remove in a mixer jar. Upon cooling, grind and make a smooth powder. Store in a clean and dry moisture free jar. Close the lid tightly. Use when required.
To Marinate Chicken
- 1 kg. Chicken, biryani cut
- 2 Onions, roughly sliced
- 6 Cashews, optional
- 12 Almonds
- 2 tbsp. Pepper powder
- 4 green Chilies, slit length wise
- ½ cup thick Curd | Yogurt
- 2 tbsp. Garam Masala
- 2 tbsp. Ginger-Garlic Paste
- ½ tbsp. roasted Coriander powder
- 2 tbsp. chopped Coriander leaves
- Salt, as per taste
FOR RICE LAYER:
- 4 cups Basmati Rice, washed and soaked in water for 30 min.
- ½ tbsp. Garam Masala
- 2 Bay leaves | Tej patta
- ½ tbsp. Ginger-Garlic paste
- 2 tbsp. Lemon juice
- Pinch Saffron
- 2 tbsp. lukewarm Milk
- 1½ tbsp. Nutmeg powder
FOR BIRISTA or FRIED ONIONS:
- 4 medium Onions, finely sliced
- ¼ cup Ghee
- ½ cup Oil
- 2 tbsp. minced Coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp. Birista (fried onion)
- 1 tbsp. chopped pine nuts or almonds, optional
Step By Step Recipe of Afghani Chicken Biryani
Step 1: Clean and Griding
Before starting marination, if you are not having garam masala, follow the recipe mentioned in the post and make it.
Thoroughly clean and wash chicken pieces. Rinse in salt water and add to colander.
In the meantime, make a paste by grinding almonds and cashew nuts. Grind until smooth.
Now add chopped onion and green chili. Grind until smooth. To this add coriander leaves. Grind till smooth and set aside.
If you are not having ginger garlic paste, then add peeled ginger and garlic and make a paste along with onions in the above step.
Step 2: Marinating Chicken
In a bowl add above ground paste. To this add curd, pepper powder, salt, garam masala and ginger-garlic paste.
Whisk until all the ingredients are well combined. To this now add chicken pieces. Mix until chicken pieces are completely coated with masala and spices.
NOTE: Be careful while mixing chicken with masala and spices. As the masala has green chillies and spices have peppercorn, there will be light burning sensation in fingers after mixing. Always use tongs or ladle to mix or wear gloves.
If you mixed the marination with hand and it is burning then add coconut oil or cool tamarind pulp. It will give immediate relief from burning.
Cover and leave this to marinate for at least one hour.
In the meantime,
Step 3: Prepare Birista or Fried Onion
In a pan, add oil and ghee, mentioned under ‘Birista’.
When the oil is warm add finely sliced onions. Fry on medium heat by continuously stirring.
Adding salt will fasten and adding sugar will give nice caramel colour to the sliced onions.
Once the onions start to change color, grab a kitchen plate, line it with tissue and be ready.
When the onions turn nice golden brown, turn off the flame and using a slotted spoon, remove the fried onions. Be careful. Do not burn the sliced onions.
This is our Birista. Collect the remaining oil & ghee in a stainless-steel bowl and set aside.
Step 4: Cooking Chicken
Add 2 tbsp. of oil (use the oil, in which we fried onions) to a pan. When the oil heats up, add marinated chicken pieces along with all the marination. Add one cup of water. Stir gently and cook covered.
Stir in between to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the curry starts to thick and oil starts to leave the sides, add chopped coriander leaves and ¾ of birista. Mix well and set aside.
Step 5: Cooking Basmati Rice for Biryani
When the chicken gravy is getting ready, start cooking rice.
Boil 4 liters of water by adding bay leaves, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste and salt.
To this add soaked basmati rice (by draining water from it). Stir gently in between to cook the rice evenly.
Cook till rice is ¾ th done.
Carefully drain the water using a sieve. Now add start layering.
Step 5: Layering
Grease the same vessel which we used for cooking rice with the oil/ghee (use the oil in which we fried onions). Evenly spread half of above drained rice on the bottom of the vessel.
On top of it carefully spread chicken gravy. Add remaining cooked rice on top of it and spread evenly.
Sprinkle lemon juice and saffron milk.
Close with a lid and seal with foil or dough. Place the vessel on medium high flame and put a heavy weight on top of the vessel.
Reduce the flame and cook on low for another 30-40 minutes.
Turn off the flame and leave the vessel on stove for another 15 minutes.
Add love to make this Afghani Chicken Biryani recipe taste ‘Yummy’.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 784Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 708mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 25g