Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani
Chicken Biryani

If you’re hesitant about cooking this complex Indian dish, why not try out that Instant Pot that has been casually collecting dust on your counter? This Biryani is a relatively easy recipe with thorough directions that will make you feel like a wizard in the kitchen. Just when you think it isn’t working, it will suddenly spring to life. In our test kitchen our inhouse Chef was very skeptical of the pot thinking it wasn’t working, but he assured us after his initial recipe run-through, “It’s okay! It’s gonna work!” His excitement about how quickly the Instant Pot cooked was infectious and it only added to the pleasure of eating this perfectly prepared meal.

We did a run through of the recipe twice, first with the use of boneless thighs and then boneless breasts, though the recipe we worked from suggested the use of bone in chicken. It was discovered that using the boneless chicken thigh and breast still gave deliciously moist results, though our tasters overwhelmingly preferred the Biryani prepared with chicken thighs. We also used saffron as not only a garnish, but a coloring agent for the rice. Put a few strands of saffron in the rice water to give the rice that beautiful yellowed hue. The mint leaves in this recipe give a surprisingly prominent flavor to the chicken, though some of our taste testers failed to notice it right away. This is exactly what you want when you are cooking with mint, so we thought it was a big success.

Even though this is an Instant Pot recipe, you must consider prep and cool down time, so the total time estimate of about an hour and twenty minutes is accurate. The actual cook time will wow you, but the prep is just like with any other dish. If it is your first time using an Instant Pot, we do recommend that you read your manual, it’ll help you out quite a bit. Jeff, our in house Chef, suggests that experimentation is key to successfully implementing your Instant Pot into your regular cooking.

We made our Biryani with our Biryani Masala seasoning spice blend, which is hand blended with paprika, salt, cumin, coriander, garlic, green cardamom, cayenne, turmeric, anise, nutmeg, ginger, black cardamom, mace, black pepper, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon, black cumin, and clove. This was used in place of the suggested garam masala, though either would probably work well for this recipe. The desire to kick up the heat a little bit led us to adding Thai Bird Chile powder, which ranges from 70,000 to 1200,000 SHU. This addition didn’t throw enough heat to be uncomfortable however, and most taste testers only noticed it as a spicy twinge on the back of the throat that added to the overall flavor. If heat isn’t your thing but you do like just a smidge, you could substitute the Thai Bird Chile powder with Cayenne Pepper Medium Heat, which only ranges from 30,000 to 40,000 SHU. Adjust to preference and don’t forget to have fun.

 Print Recipe

Category: Chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon Biryani Masala
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger Powder
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Thai Bird Chile Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 cup of Dried Spearmint Leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 LB boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
  • 1-2 jalapeno, sliced
  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 3 Tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 1 pinch of Saffron threads mixed in 1 Tablespoon of warm water
  • 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled - optional
  1. On a cutting board combine minced garlic and Ginger and mash into a paste.
  2. In a large bowl, mix Biryani Masala, garlic and ginger paste, Thai Bird Chile Powder, Turmeric, Dried Mint, half of the chopped cilantro,lemon juice, yogurt and salt.
  3. Add chicken pieces and coat evenly with the marinade.
  4. Refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Wash and soak the Basmati rice and set aside.
  6. Turn the Instant Pot to saute, add 2 Tablespoons of ghee and add the thinly sliced onions.
  7. Cook stirring frequently for 20-25 minutes or until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.
  8. Remove 1/2 of the onions and set aside.
  9. Add 1 Tablespoon of ghee to the onions in the Instant Pot, add jalapeno slices, bay leaves and marinated chicken.
  10. Mix well and saute for 3 minutes.
  11. Drain the rice through a fine mesh sieve and pour over the chicken.
  12. Add Saffron water (including threads) along with 3 cups of water to the Instant Pot.
  13. Close the Instant Pot and turn pressure valve to sealing.
  14. Set to manual mode for 6 minutes. (It will take about 5-8 minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure before the timer starts)
  15. When cooking time completes, quick release steam.
  16. Mix cooked rice with the chicken.
  17. Garnish with remaining caramelized onions and optional jalapeno slices.
  18. Serve with boiled eggs and lemon wedges.