Whole Chicken Biryani – Thas’s Signature Biryani Recipe

I hereby declare that “this is the best biryani I’ve ever tasted“…

Yeah, I am bragging! I usually find faults after tasting most of my dishes, even after being approved by the panel of judges. I would always be left with the feeling that I could have done better. But this time, after tasting this biryani, I was seen bragging non-stop about how delicious and phenomenal this biryani tasted. My taste buds failed terribly in finding even a single fault. Everything was so perfect – the whole chicken, the rice and the entire biryani!

Last Saturday was my husband’s birthday and I was determined enough to surprise him with the best dishes possible. He is one person whom I admire the most in this whole universe and he always astonishes me in all ways possible. For such a person, I definitely wanted to give the best on his special day. I knew already that finding such dishes would be a little difficult and so my search started a few days ahead of his birthday. None of the dishes I came across seemed to steal my heart. I had to think harder. I finally came up with my own recipe for making a biryani which I had not tried or tasted before. Also, I made his favorite Tiramisu cake, which turned out to be great as well.

I felt that biryani would make a good dish and if it’s made in a totally different way it would be a hit. In biryanis, mostly cut chicken or other cut meat is used and I didn’t want to do it. Instead, I used whole chicken to make this biryani.

I had to first fry the marinated whole chicken till it was fried well throughout (it took me about an hour). It was totally worth the long frying time. I then made a masala and cooked the fried whole chicken in it further so that it would turn juicy and flavorful. Then I layered the rice and aromatic herbs over the cooked whole chicken along with the masala and did the final slow cooking for 15 minutes. The whole house started to smell so good and when I opened the pan after the final cooking, I stood still seduced by the aroma that came out of the biryani. For the first time, I was doubtless that this biryani was going to to be a winner.

My husband was totally moved and appreciated my effort in making this. At the dining table, I asked him to rate it on a scale of 1-10, there I was talking to a brick wall, he was too busy eating and enjoying the biryani. After a minute, he replied that on a scale of 1-10 this biryani was a 11 and complimented that this was the best biryani hands down. I felt like a winner!

Whole Chicken Biryani

Ingredients:

  • Whole Chicken- 3.3 lb or 1.5 Kg
  • Oil, for frying- 1/3 cup
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig

For making marinade:

  • Ginger-Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
  • Chili powder- 2 tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 1 handful
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Lemon juice- 2 tsp

For making Biryani Masala:

  • Oil, used for frying chicken- 6 tbsp (you could also add 2 tbsp coconut oil)
  • Red onions, cut thin long- 6
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 3
  • Marination used to marinade the chicken- combined with 1/4 cup water
  • Yogurt- 3 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste

To grind:

  • Ginger, chopped- 3 inch slice
  • Garlic, chopped- 6 cloves
  • Whole cardamom- 4
  • Whole Cloves- 2
  • Cinnamon- 2 inch slice
  • Green chilies, chopped- 3

For cooking rice:

  • Basmati rice- 2 1/2 cups (I used Dawat brand)
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Water- 2 1/2 cups

For garnishing:

  • Fried onions- 1/2 cup  (fry fresh red onions cut thin long 2 no’s in oil)
  • Mint leaves, chopped- 1/3 cup or 20 leaves (this is a must to add ingredient)
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped- 1/3 cup
  • Saffron strands- 2 pinch, soaked in 1 tbsp milk
  • Ghee roasted cashew nuts- 1/3 cup (optional)
  • Ghee roasted raisins- 3 tbsp (optional)

Instruction

  • Remove any internal organs from the whole chicken and remove the skin from it, rinse under running water.
  • You could even pour some lemon juice over the chicken while rinsing it, it will take away any smell from it.
  • Pat dry with paper towel and put gashes or lines on the breast and legs, keep aside.
  • In a blender grind the above mentioned ingredients to “make the marinade”, with very little water to make a smooth paste.
  • Make sure you don’t add too much water, it should be a thick paste.
  • Spread the marinade evenly over the whole chicken and inside of it, place it in a large bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour or longer.
  • You could even marinate the chicken overnight.

Cooking rice:

  • I used rice cooker to cook the rice, if you don’t have one you could use a saucepan.
  • Soak the rice in water for 15 minutes, drain the water through a strainer.
  • Combine the rice along with all  the above mentioned ingredients “for cooking rice” and water in the pot.
  • Cook the rice till it has cooked well.
  • By using 1:1 ratio of rice and water, the rice would be perfectly cooked and it wouldn’t turn mushy.
  • If cooking in a saucepan, after the water dries off, check whether the rice has cooked. If not add little more water and cook accordingly.
  • Keep aside the cooked rice.

Frying the whole chicken:

  • Place a large deep non-stick pan over medium low heat, add 1/3 cup oil and curry leaves to it.
  • Be sure to use non-stick pan.
  • I first tied the legs and wings of the chicken and I found that the under side of the legs and wings are not getting fried, so I untied it.
  • Don’t tie the legs and wings of the chicken.
  • Place the marinated whole chicken breast side down over the oil and let fry for 10  minutes.
  • After you take out the marinated whole chicken from the bowl, there will be some marinade left in the bowl.
  • Combine 1/4 cup water to that marinade and keep it in a bowl, we will be adding this while cooking the masala.
  • After 10 minutes, turn it over and fry it for another 10 minutes.
  • Using two spatulas, turn it to sidewise and fry it for 10 minutes, then turn to the other side and fry it for 10 minutes.
  • Again, keep flipping it over and let all the sides of the whole chicken turn golden brown.
  • This would take about an hour or an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Make sure the heat is medium low, at high heat the inside of the chicken wouldn’t be cooked well.
  • Using two wide spatulas gently take the fried chicken out of the oil and keep aside on a platter.
  • Use the same pan used for frying the chicken, use about 6 tbsp of fried oil and 2 tbsp of coconut oil(optional).
  • Keep the heat at medium, add onions to the oil along with salt and saute the onions till translucent.
  • In a blender, grind – ginger, garlic, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and green chilies into a coarse paste.
  • Add this to the onion and saute till the raw smell goes away and the onions starts to turn caramelized.
  • Add tomatoes, cook till gets mashed up.
  • Now, add the chicken marinade that is combined with water to the cooked onion mixture.
  • Combine well and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Taste and if you need more spice add some more chili powder.
  • Add more salt if needed.
  • Add yogurt to it, combine well and cook for a minute.
  • Place the fried whole chicken breast side down over this masala and cover the pan with its lid.
  • Let cook in medium low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Open the lid, turn the chicken to the other side, spread some onion masala over the chicken and cook covered for another 10 minutes.
  • Next, turn the chicken to one of its sides and again cook covered for 5 minutes.
  • Turn to the next side and cook covered for 5 more minutes.
  • By this time the chicken would be cooked well inside and out.
  • Uncover the pan, if the masala is too watery cook for a few more minutes till it dries off a bit.
  • There should be a little water left in the masala.

Final cooking:

  • In a frying pan with enough oil, fry the onions till golden brown, transfer to a paper towel.
  • Roast cashew nuts and raisins in 2 tbsp of ghee, keep aside.
  • Spread the masala evenly as the bottom layer and keep the whole chicken at the center of the pan.
  • Layer half of the cooked rice as the first layer around the whole chicken.
  • Sprinkle half of the saffron over the rice.
  • Garnish with half of the fried onions, half of the chopped cilantro, half of the mint, half of the roasted cashews and raisins over the rice.
  • Layer the rest of the cooked rice around the whole chicken.
  • Garnish with rest of the saffron, fried onions, cilantro, mint, cashews and raisins.
  • Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and close it with its lid.
  • Place the pan over low heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and keep covered for another 15 minutes.
  • While serving: gently take the whole chicken from the pan and place it at the center of a platter.
  • Combine the rice along with the onion masala and spread it around the chicken.
  • For a nice presentation, you could place cut tomatoes and lemon on the corners of the platter.
  • Before having this biryani, you could carve the chicken using a carving knife or a sharp knife.
  • Place the chicken pieces on a plate and serve rice combined with masala along with it.
  • Serve along with Raita, Dates Pickle etc.
Tips:
  • It is very important to add mint, this makes the biryani flavorful and aromatic.
  • While frying the whole chicken, make sure you flip the chicken over and let all the sides cook well and turn brown in color.
  • Also, while cooking with the masala, turn the chicken over to all sides, so that it will get cooked well.
  • Make sure to use freshly chopped  ginger and garlic.
  • This biryani is not that spicy so if you want it spicy add more chili powder while cooking the masala according to your needs.
  • Leftover biryani can be refrigerated and it tastes even more delicious the next day.

 

Whole Chicken Biryani - Thas's Signature Biryani Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • Whole Chicken- 3.3 lb or 1.5 Kg
  • Oil, for frying- ⅓ cup
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
For making marinade
  • Ginger-Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
  • Chili powder- 2 tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Salt- ½ tsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 1 handful
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Lemon juice- 2 tsp
For making Biryani Masala
  • Oil, used for frying chicken- 6 tbsp (you could also add 2 tbsp coconut oil)
  • Red onions, cut thin long- 6
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 3
  • Marination used to marinade the chicken- combined with ¼ cup water
  • Yogurt- 3 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
To grind
  • Ginger, chopped- 3 inch slice
  • Garlic, chopped- 6 cloves
  • Whole cardamom- 4
  • Whole Cloves- 2
  • Cinnamon- 2 inch slice
  • Green chilies, chopped- 3
For cooking rice
  • Basmati rice- 2½ cups (I used Dawat brand)
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Water- 2½ cups
For garnishing
  • Fried onions- ½ cup (fry 2 fresh red onions cut thin long in oil)
  • Mint leaves, chopped- ⅓ cup or 20 leaves (this is a must to add ingredient)
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped- ⅓ cup
  • Saffron strands- 2 pinch, soaked in 1 tbsp milk
  • Ghee roasted cashew nuts- ⅓ cup (optional)
  • Ghee roasted raisins- 3 tbsp (optional)
Instructions
  1. Remove any internal organs from the whole chicken and remove the skin from it, rinse under running water.
  2. You could even pour some lemon juice over the chicken while rinsing it, it will take away any smell from it.
  3. Pat dry with paper towel and put gashes or lines on the breast and legs, keep aside.
  4. In a blender grind the above mentioned ingredients "for making marinade", with very little water to make a smooth paste.
  5. Spread the marinade evenly over the whole chicken and inside of it, place it in a large bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour or longer.
  6. You could even marinate the chicken overnight.
Cooking rice
  1. I used rice cooker to cook the rice, if you don't have one you could use a saucepan.
  2. Soak the rice in water for 15 minutes, drain the water through a strainer.
  3. Combine the rice along with all the above mentioned ingredients "for cooking rice" and water in the pot.
  4. Cook the rice till it has cooked well.
  5. By using 1:1 ratio of rice and water, the rice would be perfectly cooked and it wouldn't turn mushy.
  6. If cooking in a saucepan, after the water dries off, check whether the rice has cooked. If not add little more water and cook accordingly.
  7. Keep aside the cooked rice.
Frying the whole chicken
  1. Place a large deep non-stick pan over medium low heat, add ⅓ cup oil and curry leaves to it.
  2. Be sure to use non-stick pan.
  3. I first tied the legs and wings of the chicken and I found that the under side of the legs and wings are not getting fried, so I untied it.
  4. Don't tie the legs and wings of the chicken.
  5. Place the marinated whole chicken breast side down over the oil and let fry for 10 minutes.
  6. After you take out the marinated whole chicken from the bowl, there will be some marinade left in the bowl.
  7. Combine ¼ cup water to that marinade and keep it in a bowl, we will be adding this while cooking the masala.
  8. After 10 minutes, turn it over and fry it for another 10 minutes.
  9. Using two spatulas, turn it to sidewise and fry it for 10 minutes, then turn to the other side and fry it for 10 minutes.
  10. Again, keep flipping it over and let all the sides of the whole chicken turn golden brown.
  11. This would take about an hour or an hour and 15 minutes.
  12. Make sure the heat is medium low , at high heat the inside of the chicken wouldn't be cooked well.
  13. Using two wide spatulas gently take the fried chicken out of the oil and keep aside on a platter.
  14. Use the same pan used for frying the chicken, use about 6 tbsp of fried oil and 2 tbsp of coconut oil(optional).
  15. Keep the heat at medium,add onions to the oil along with salt and saute the onions till translucent.
  16. In a blender, grind: ginger, garlic, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and green chilies into a coarse paste.
  17. Add this to the onion and saute till the raw smell goes away and the onions starts to turn caramelized.
  18. Add tomatoes, cook till gets mashed up.
  19. Now,add the chicken marinade that is combined with water to the cooked onion mixture.
  20. Combine well and cook for 2 minutes.
  21. Taste and if you need more spice add some more chili powder.
  22. Add more salt if needed.
  23. Add yogurt to it, combine well and cook for a minute.
  24. Place the fried whole chicken breast side down over this masala and cover the pan with its lid.
  25. Let cook in medium low heat for 10 minutes.
  26. Open the lid, turn the chicken to the other side, spread some onion masala over the chicken and cook covered for another 10 minutes.
  27. Next, turn the chicken to one of its sides and again cook covered for 5 minutes.
  28. Turn to the next side and cook covered for 5 more minutes.
  29. By this time the chicken would be cooked well inside and out.
  30. Uncover the pan, if the masala is too watery cook for a few more minutes till it dries off a bit.
  31. There should be a little water left in the masala.
Final cooking
  1. In a frying pan with enough oil, fry the onions till golden brown, transfer to a paper towel.
  2. Roast cashew nuts and raisins in 2 tbsp of ghee, keep aside.
  3. Spread the masala evenly as the bottom layer and keep the whole chicken at the center of the pan.
  4. Layer half of the cooked rice as the first layer around the whole chicken.
  5. Sprinkle half of the saffron over the rice.
  6. Garnish with half of the fried onions, half of the chopped cilantro, half of the mint, half of the roasted cashews and raisins over the rice.
  7. Layer the rest of the cooked rice around the whole chicken.
  8. Garnish with rest of the saffron, fried onions, cilantro, mint, cashews and raisins.
  9. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and close it with its lid.
  10. Place the pan over low heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  11. After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and keep covered for another 15 minutes.
  12. While serving: gently take the whole chicken from the pan and place it at the center of a platter.
  13. Combine the rice along with the onion masala and spread it around the chicken.
  14. For a nice presentation, you could place cut tomatoes and lemon on the corners of the platter.
  15. Before having this biryani, you could carve the chicken using a carving knife or a sharp knife.
  16. Place the chicken pieces on a plate and serve rice combined with masala along with it.
  17. Serve along with Raita, Dates Pickle etc.
Notes
•It is very important to add mint, this makes the biryani flavorful and aromatic.
•While frying the whole chicken, make sure you flip the chicken over and let all the sides cook well and turn brown in color.
•Also, while cooking with the masala, turn the chicken over to all sides, so that it will get cooked well.
•Make sure to use freshly chopped ginger and garlic. •This biryani is not that spicy so if you want it spicy add more chili powder while cooking the masala according to your needs.
•Leftover biryani can be refrigerated and it tastes even more delicious the next day

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