Karachi Style Biryani

Updated: Oct 11

A Biryani which is finger licking good, and as the title says..It's a Karachi Biryani Baby. Those who know..know. And those who don't know - try this recipe. I bet you'll find out.

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I am a Karachi girl, and when I moved to America 10 years ago, I was on a mission to learn to make a fantastic biryani (for my own cravings). I would go to peoples home and eat biryani there and shamelessly ask, can you please teach me how to make it? This recipe is a culmination of all they have taught me. I hope that it brings you barkat on your table, I hope you enjoy it with a cold drink in front of the television, or like I have many times made it to give to a friend in need of comfort food.

I shared this recipe last on my feed back in oct 2021, and despite such phenomenal biryani recipes like the Al Rehman biryani so many of you have tried this one and loved it. Thank you! Step by step directions on my instagram highlights. Check out the notes for additional information.


Karachi Style Chicken Biryani

Ingredients

Serves 10

  • 1 skinless chicken cut into 10 or 16 pieces

  • 4 rice cooker cups of basmati rice. washed and soaked for 30 minutes

  • 2 tbsp of toasted and ground cumin and coriander

  • 1/2 tsp of salt

  • 5-6 chopped green chilies

  • 1 box of shan Bombay Masala

  • 2 tbsp of garlic paste

  • 2 tbsp of ginger paste

  • 3 tbsp of whipped room temperature yogurt

  • 3 chopped roma tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup of fried onions (ready made)

  • 1 yellow onion sliced

  • 1/2 a cup of dried plums (aloo Bukhara) (optional)

  • 1 tsp of kewra (optional)

  • 1 tsp of orange food color

  • 1/2 tsp of chaat masala

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 small sliced tomato

  • 1 bunch of chopped cilantro

  • 3/4th cup of oil for frying

  • 4 tbsp of butter

Directions

GRAVY:

  1. Place a large cooking pot (should be big enough for layering) over the stove over medium high heat. pour in the oil and when hot add in the sliced onion till they are golden brown. remove with a slotted spoon on a paper towel. (see notes)

  2. in the same oil over medium high heat, add in the butter, the chopped green chilies and the ginger garlic pastes. Sauté for 3 minutes till fragrant and add in the chicken and 1/2 cup of the ready made fried onions. Fry on high heat until the color of the chicken changes.

  3. Next up, add in the boxed masala, the salt, cumin coriander powders, the chopped tomatoes and the yogurt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook till the oil separates.

  4. When the oil separates, you want to crank the heat up to high. This gravy Neds to be a thick one for layering purposes. You want the gravy not to be too dry, but not to be extremely runny either. it should be a thick salad.

  5. once it is done cooking, remove this gravy in to a dish.

RICE:

  1. wash the rice and soak it for 10 minutes. Drain

  2. While the rice is soaking, Bring a large pot of water to boil. in that add 1 stuck of cinnamon, 1 big elaichi, 4-8 peppercorns, 3-4 small cardamoms, 1 star anise, 2 lemon slices and 2 tbsp of salt. Bring the water to boil.

  3. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add in the washed drained rice.

  4. Cook the rice for 8 minutes. You want the rice 95% done.

  5. drain and set aside. (at this point if you want to remove the sabut Garam Masala you can)

POTATOES:

  1. Wash and peel 5 medium sized potatoes.

  2. Soak for about 30 minutes to remove their starch.

  3. Cut in to quarters of halves.

  4. Boil the cut potatoes in water with 1/2 tsp of turmeric and 1 tsp of salt. Drain When fork tender. takes about 15 minutes.

  5. I like to spray the boiled potatoes with some oil spray and air fry them for about 8 minutes at 350F. This makes the outside crispy.

  6. You can also lightly fry them in a frying pan.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. In the pot that the biryani gravy was made, pour about 1 tsp of oil and a layer of rice. Then layer over a little bit of the gravy add some of those homemade fried onions you made.

  2. Next add more rice over the gravy, add a another layer of gravy. before you add the last layer of rice, on the gravy sprinkle some more of those homemade fried onions, the sliced tomato, 1/2 of the chopped cilantro, the juice of the lemon and the chaat masala. If you are using kewra, now is the time to sprinkle that over the gravy for that lovely aroma. You can add color (optional) at this stage or over the final layer of rice. it is entirely up to you.

  3. Add the final layer of rice, and 4-5 tbsp of oil all over this layer. I like to sprinkle the remainder of the chopped cilantro over the rice.

  4. Place a cloth or tightly wrap the pot with some foil before you put the lid on. Once the lid is securely on, you want to put some thing heavy on the pot. I usually use my heavy mortar and pestle bowl for this. place the pot on a flat tava and cook on very low heat for about an hour. This process is called giving dum. the steam will meld the flavors together and will cook the remaining 10% of the rice.

  5. if you are doing this in a foil tray, cover the tray tightly with foil, and place in an oven at 350F for about 45 minutes.

  6. Once the cook time is done, shake the pot to ensure all the masala has coated the rice. You can serve the biryani with extra plain white rice for those who don't want it too spicy.

  7. Serve with the crispy potatoes on top. Garnish with cilantro.

Do try this recipe out and tell me what you think? Notes below are very helpful for additional instructions.



NOTES:

  1. I use basmati rice. Chef's secret by Royal. Typically you should use seal rice. However I find Sela rice to be difficult to digest.

  2. Do not soak the rice for too long. Also do not stir the rice too much when its boiling. you want the rice to retain its shape and not break. over stirring can do that.

  3. You can absolutely use chicken breast for making this dish. Just be sure to not overcook the chicken with the masalas.

  4. You can also use mutton for this recipe, just add 1 cup of water to step 2 of making the gravy to ensure the mutton cooks completely.

  5. Using toasted spices like cumin and coriander add a lot of flavor to the biryani. So don't skip the step. You can ever roast the powders.

  6. The flavor that the homemade fried onions give this biryani is something else. 100% recommended

  7. You can absolutely skip the yogurt if you are trying to make the gravy dairy free.

  8. The biryani gravy has to be quite thick. Otherwise your rice will be soggy.

  9. The sabut Garam Masala in the water for boiling the rice is for aromatics.

  10. If you don't want to do the potatoes the way I've shown it, then add them in step number 2 of the gravy.

  11. Kewra is simply for an aroma. You don't have to use it.

  12. I like a biryani to have that orangey color in some of the rice grains. it makes me feel like I made an authentic looking one. But once again, you don't have to use it. I use whatever I want find at my local desi store.

  13. I personally love this recipe by food fusion for eggplant raita to go with the biryani. its a meal in its own Dahi Walay Baingan


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