Awadhi chicken biryani recipe – Foods from Awadhi cuisine are said to have been widely influenced by the Nawabs of Awadh, who were of the Persian origin. Their royal dishes were aromatic and delicious, flavored with spices, herbs, nuts, plant extracts and saffron. The city of Lucknow is popular for the Awadhi foods like Seekh kabab, Shami kabab, Murgh musallam, Shahi korma and Biryani.
This Lucknowi biryani recipe is a generic one that can be used to make either a chicken or mutton biryani. The recipe would not change other than the cooking time of meat.
Awadhi biryani is different from the Hyderabadi biryani in terms of taste and flavors. While most hyderabadi biryani recipes call for ground spices or biryani masala , awadhi biryani is made with whole spices alone. There is no pudina or mint leaves used, but I have used it since I found some popular chefs using it in youtube.
Yellow chili powder is used to make Lucknowi biryani. Though it is available in Singapore, guessing most readers may not be able to find it I made this with very little amount of red chili powder for the color which can be skipped.
This awadhi chicken biryani recipe is roughly adapted from my own biryani recipes on the blog. After numerous trials, I arrived at these quantities that really worked well for me. This came very close to the taste and flavor of Lucknowi biryani that we get in one of the North Indian restaurants here, which specializes in serving authentic North Indian foods in Singapore.
If you are looking for a flavorful and aromatic chicken biryani using whole spices then this may be for you. It can be served with raita or side gravy. You can find raita recipes here.
I have made this with 1 kg chicken, this recipe can be halved, but not doubled. The following are the adjustments you can do to the recipe, but do not make all:
The quantity of Rice can be increased by another half cup if you are using 1 kg chicken.
The quantity of chicken can be reduced by 250 grams for the quantity of rice mentioned in the recipe card.
Use meeta attar or biryani attar only if you find organic one. Else just skip it.
Do not skip kewra or rose water, as these are the ingredients that bring in that unique aroma. If you do not like the flavors then just try this kachi hyderabadi chicken biryani or pakki chicken dum biryani.
Awadhi chicken biryani recipe card below
- ½ kg or 500 grams basmati rice (2 ½ cups)
- 1 large onion thinly sliced about 1 heaped cup (or handful of fried onions)
- ¼ cup ghee
- 4 cloves
- 1 small bay leaf / tej patta
- 4 green cardamoms/ elaichi
- 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks / dalchini
- ½ shahi jeera / caraway seeds
- ½ tsp kewra water
- 2 drops of meeta attar (optional) (prefer organic)
- 3 to 4 green chilies
- Pinch of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp cream
- 1 ½ cup mint or pudina chopped (not used in authentic awadhi biryani, but some places they are used)
- 1 kg chicken or lamb meat (bone-in)
- 1 ½ gram of cinnamon / dalchini
- 6 green cardamoms / elaichi
- ½ tsp cloves / lavang
- 2 bay leaves / tej patta
- ¾ tsp salt or as needed
- ½ tsp cardamom powder / eliachi powder
- 150 grams or ¾ cup curd / yogurt (semi thick) (do not use sour)
- 1 ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste or ginger juliennes
- ½ tsp Yellow chili powder ( Substitute with Red chilli powder)
- generous pinch of mace powder or substitute with 2 to 3 strands of mace / javitri
- 1 tsp rose water
- ½ tsp kewra water
- ½ tsp shahi jeera
- 1 to 2 bay leaf (optional)
- 2 to 4 green cardamoms/ elaichi (optional)
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 tsp salt or as needed
- Please follow the instructions from the step by step photo instructions.
How to make awadhi chicken biryani
1. Add chicken to a bowl. I have used large pieces of chicken. You can use any size.
2. This step is optional, but I highly recommend it as the meat absorbs flavors of the spices and also turns tender. Just 2 hours of marination is sufficient if you are using tender meat. For the marination add yogurt, this has to be a semi thick like the regular homemade curd made with full fat milk. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom, cardamom powder, chilli powder, rose water, kewra water and salt. Do not judge the quantity of cinnamon by looking into the pictures. I have mentioned it as 1.5 grams, stick on to it. I have used ceylon cinnamon, so they look like quite a lot.
3. Mix everything well and refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. Wash basmati rice well until the water runs clear. Soak it for at least 30 to 40 mins. Drain the water and set aside. Add 1 tbsp hot water to a small bowl, soak a pinch of saffron.
5. Bring water to a boil in large pot, add 1 tsp oil, shahi jeera and salt. You can also add spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom etc. If you like to use then, cut down from the marination and add them here.
6. Add the drained rice.
7. You can also add little lemon juice to the pot. This is optional. Cook until 90% done on a medium flame. The rice will be al dente at this stage and you will feel the bite if eaten but almost cooked.
8. When done drain it to a colander.
9. I suggest to make the fried onions, while the rice is till soaking. You can skip these steps if using store bough fried onions. Add 4 tbsps ghee to a pot and heat it. Add thinly sliced onions.
10. Keep stirring and fry until the onions turn evenly brown. Set these aside.
11. This was the left over ghee after frying onions. Heat it and saute the rest of the dry spices. 1 small bay leaf, shahi jeera, cardmoms and cloves. Make sure you use a heavy bottom pot that is wide enough.
12. Add the marinated chicken along with green chilies and half of the fried onions. Saute it on a medium heat for about 3 to 4 mins.
13. Pudina is not used in awadhi biryani, you can skip it. But I have added it. Continue to cook on a medium to low heat until the chicken is fully done and soft.
14. After you see the chicken is soft cooked, then continue to cook on a medium high heat until the moisture is almost evaporated and a thick gravy is left. In this recipe there is no spice powder used like biryani masala, so the gravy will be less. You will see a good layer of ghee separated at this stage. This is the crucial step, under cooking at this step may make your biryani mushy.
15. Layer the rice, sprinkle some mint leaves, fried onions, biryani attar if using.
16. Add 1/2 tsp kewra water.
17. Add 4 tbsps of cream to the saffron water and mix. Pour this over the rice. I used homemade malai / cream. I just blended a bit in a mini blender and used.
18. Pour this over the rice.
19. I used a heavy cast iron lid, so did not have to seal the pot. You can refer this hyderabadi mutton biryani post for sealing the traditional way. Alternately you can also use a foil or moist kitchen cloth to seal, place a lid and then a heavy object over it. Cook this on a medium heat for 10 minutes and then on a low heat for 5 to 10 mins. You can insert a skewer or a long spoon to the base and check if it is still very moist, you must get the grease and not moisture. If you see it is still very moist , seal it and put back on the stove for few more minutes.
Seal back and allow to rest for another 10 mins.
Serve awadhi chicken biryani with raita.