Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani is the medley of slowly cooked chicken with varieties of spices and fragrant basmati rice. Presence of fried well-seasoned potato halves and hard-boiled eggs make the Kolkata style Chicken Biryani extraordinary.
Why Do We Love Kolkata Chicken Biryani?
Chicken Biryani is always on top list of my family menu. It's a
hot favorite dish and anytime hit in my family. We love all types of chicken biryani including Hyderabadi chicken dum biryani, Andhra style biryani,
Chettinad biryani and many more.
However, our favorite is Kolkata style Chicken Biryani because of the mild flavor of spices, slow cooked succulent chicken pieces, richness of desi ghee and of course the presence of well-seasoned potatoes.
I remember my Kolkata days when we did not eat out often. However, once in a while we enjoyed the best biryanis in town served by few famous restaurants like Aminia, Shiraz, Arsalan to name a few. I am sharing the best Kolkata chicken biryani recipe which I have learned over the period of time.
Needless to say, my family enjoys it very much. Before going to the recipe of Kolkata chicken biryani, I will share little more information about biryani and the history of Kolkata style chicken biryani.
What is Biryani?
Biryani is an Indian dish of rice which is blended with meat, fish or vegetables and flavored with varieties of spices and saffron. While I was browsing, I came to know that Biryani was originated at Persia and was brought in India by Mughal Emperors.
What is special in Kolkata style Chicken biryani?
Addition of boiled egg, potato and few spices make this dish really special. Both in chicken and mutton biryani, addition of egg and super soft potatoes are must. The rice is not spicy and not sweet too. But the right balance of spice laced with proportionate amount of ghee makes it aromatic and tasty. Kids can also enjoy this Kolkata style Chicken Biryani.
Rice: Use long grain good quality basmati rice for biryani.
Meat: Fresh, tender chicken is perfect for biryani. I would recommend making this biryani with bone pieces such as leg and thigh pieces.
Whole Spices: Cinnamon stick, clove, green cardamom, shah jeera, javitri, bay leaf, black peppercorns, black cardamom, kabab chini, jaiphal, star anise, etc.
Spice Powders: Turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, etc.
Ginger-Garlic: Fresh ginger paste and garlic paste.
Onion: For beresta, you should use sliced onions. Use chopped onion for cooking the mutton.
Vegetables: Potatoes are must for Bengali style biryani recipe.
Oil/Ghee: Vegetable oil & deshi ghee
Others: Salt, Sugar, yogurt, milk, saffron, eggs, etc.
How to Make Kolkata Chicken Biryani?
Learn how to prepare Kolkata Chicken Biryani by following the steps below.
We can categorize the method of cooking chicken biryani in overall five steps and they are
- Making of Biryani Masala or Biryani Spice Powder
- Marination of Chicken Pieces
- Cooking the Rice for Biryani
- Cooking the Chicken for Biryani
- Assembling the Kolkata Chicken Biryani
Making of Biryani Masala or Biryani Spice Powder
Dry roast the ingredients for Biryani masala (excluding the nutmeg powder) in a skillet for a few minutes. Let them cool completely before grinding into a fine powder.
Mix the nutmeg powder with the ground spice mixture. Biryani Masala, commonly known as Biryani Spice Powder, is now ready to use.
Marination of Chicken Pieces
Clean and wash the chicken pieces. Drain the water thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen towel paper if necessary.
Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and mix in all the ingredients listed in the section on marinating chicken.
Once the chicken pieces have been well marinated, set them aside for at least four to five hours. If you don't have enough time, marinate the chicken for at least an hour.
Cooking the Rice for Biryani
Wash the rice properly and soak it in water for 20 minutes. Drain the water and cook the rice with the whole spices indicated under the tab 'For Cooking Biryani Rice'.
Drain the water when the rice is 75 to 80% cooked. Place the rice on plates to cool. Season the rice with salt to taste.
Cooking the Chicken for Biryani
In a skillet, heat the oil and add the sliced onions. Fry it with a little salt and sugar until it is golden and crisp. Remove them from the oil and place them on absorbent paper. Now 'beresta' is ready.
Meanwhile, parboil the potatoes and drain the water and keep aside. Later fry the potatoes in the remaining oil with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder.
Remove them and set them aside.
In the same pan, melt the ghee and add the finely chopped onions. Once transparent, add the marinated chicken pieces.
Cook the chicken pieces with coriander powder and salt. Cover with a lid and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on high heat.
Later, decrease the heat to low and cook the chicken pieces slowly, covered with a lid and stirring occasionally. Once the chicken pieces are cooked, keep them aside.
Assembling the Kolkata Chicken Biryani
This is the final and most important step in this recipe.
Soak the saffron in heated milk for 10 minutes. The milk will turn pale yellow. You can also add few drops of food coloring to the milk.
Grease a big pot generously with ghee. Place one-third of the cooked chicken in the bottom, followed by rice, fried onions (beresta), a few potato halves, and a boiled egg. Add a splash of saffron milk to this layer.
Add a similar layer on top of this by layering cooked chicken, fried onions, rice, potatoes, boiled egg, and saffron milk. Finally, add kewra water and meetha attar to the top layer.
Close the cover of the pot and seal the edges with the wheat flour dough. Cook for 5 minutes on high heat.
Cook for 2 minutes on high heat. Take the pot off the heat. Place an iron skillet on the gas fire and place the biryani pot on top.
Allow the gas to heat for around 10 minutes on a low flame. Turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Unseal the edges and serve the Kolkata style chicken biryani with raita.
Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani is spicy and pungent in nature. It has own distinct flavor and of spices. As I came to know, Kolkata style Chicken Biryani is thought to be evolved from Awadhi (Lucknow) style biryani.
It has mild flavor of spices, moist with the richness of desi ghee and sweet aroma of meetha attar. Also, as I said earlier Kolkata style Chicken Biryani contains big chunk of potatoes and boiled eggs.
Awadhi style biryani is also known as Lucknowi style biryani. Awadhi Style Biryani is less spicy. Here meat and rice are cooked together, and biryani has more flavor of meat than the spices. The quantity of meat used in Lucknowi biryani is more compared to other biryanis.
I have read that Kolkata biryani has evolved from the Awadhi biryani. The last Nawab of Awadh (Wajid Ali Shah) was exiled to Kolkata after dethroned by British. At that point of time Nawab could not afford meat in large scale. Hence his personal chef started adding more potatoes and eggs compared to meat. Interestingly, I found this piece of article about various different types of biryani. Read here.
Of course, you can use store bought Biryani masala. However, make sure the quality of masala you are using in the biryani. As it will make lot of difference in the taste of biryani. However, I would always suggest to use homemade masala using good quality ingredients. You can make the masala in large quantity and store it in an airtight container.
I know it's in many people's mind how to cook biryani quickly. The process of cooking biryani is little longer. However, if you plan ahead, it is possible to cook biryani even in a weekday morning for lunch.
Recently, I cooked Kolkata style Chicken Biryani in a weekday. I have marinated the chicken pieces previous night and kept in refrigerator.
I had already prepared Biryani Masala and used this time. Also, I had cut potatoes and onion previous night. So, it took only 1 and half hour to cook this delicious dish.
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Kolkata style Chicken Biryani
- Heavy Bottom Pan
Biryani Spices or Biryani Masala
- 8 nos Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 4 nos Green Cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon Caraway Seeds or Shah Jeera
- 8 nos Whole Black Peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg or Jaiphal, grated or powder
- 3 petals Mace or Javitri
- 3-4 no Cubeb or Kabab Chini
- 1 no Black Cardamom
- 1 no Bay Leaf
For Cooking Biryani Rice
- 2 cups Long grain rice (Basmati rice)
- 2 nos Green Cardamom
- 4 nos Cloves
- 4 nos Whole Black Peppercorn
- 1-2 no Star Anise
- 1 petal Mace
- 3-4 nos Cubeb
- 1 no Bay Leaf
- ½ inch Cinnamon
For Marinating Chicken
- 500 gms Chicken (Preferably Bone pieces, Leg and Thigh pieces)
- ½ cup Thick Yogurt
- 2 -3 teaspoon Ginger Paste
- 1½ teaspoon Garlic Paste
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- ⅓ teaspoon Turmeric Powder (optional)
- 1½ teaspoon Biryani Masala Powder
- 2 teaspoon Refined Oil
- 1 large Onion, Sliced
- 2 cups Onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 medium Potato, cut into halves
- 3 nos Boiled Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- ¼ cup Warm Milk
- a pinch Saffron
- ½ cup Refined Oil
- ¼ cup Clarified Butter or Ghee
- few drops Food Color (Saffron) optional
- few drops Meetha Attar (a special fragrance for Mughlai cuisine)
- few drops Kewra Water
Biryani Spices or Biryani Masala
- Take a pan and dry roast the ingredients given for making Biryani masala for few minutes.
- Allow them to cool and grind them in a blender to make the spice mixture, Biryani Masala Powder.
Marinating Chicken Pieces
- Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Drain the water well, if required pat them using kitchen towel paper.
- Now take the chicken pieces in a bowl and add all the ingredients given under marinating chicken section.
- After marinating the chicken pieces properly, keep it aside for 4-5 hours preferably. If not at least for an hour.
Cooking Rice for Biryani
- Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes.
- Later drain the water and cook the the rice (adding water) along with the whole spices given under the tab 'For Cooking Biryani Rice'.
- When the rice is cooked 75 to 80% , then drain the water.
- Spread the rice in plates to cool down.
- Sprinkle little salt all over the rice.
Cooking Chicken for Biryani
- Heat oil in a pan and add sliced onions.
- Add little salt and sugar into it and fry till they are brown and crisp.
- Now take them out from the oil and keep them on an absorbent paper.
- In the remaining oil, add potatoes and cook them with little bit of salt and turmeric powder.
- Take them out and keep aside.
- Now add ghee in the same pan and add the finely chopped onions.
- Once they are translucent add marinated chicken pieces.
- Add coriander powder and salt and cook the chicken pieces.
- Cover it with a lid and cook in high flame first 3 to 5 minutes.
- Later reduce the flame and slow cook the chicken pieces by covering with lid and in between stirring.
- Once the chicken pieces are cooked, keep them aside.
Assembling of Biryani
- Soak Saffron in warm milk for 10 minutes. The milk will turn light yellow color. You can also add few drops of food color in the milk.
- Take large pot and grease it with ghee.
- Now add place one third of the cooked chicken in the bottom and then spread a layer of rice, fried onions (beresta), few potato halves and boiled egg.
- Add little saffron milk in this layer.
- On top of this layer, add similar layer by adding cooked chicken, fried onions, rice, potatoes, boiled egg and saffron milk.
- Finally on the top layer add kewra water and meetha attar.
- Now close the lid of the pot with a lid and seal the edges with wheat flour dough.
- Cook on high flame for 2 mins. Remove the pot from the stove.
- Now place an iron skillet on gas stove and keep the biryani pot on it.
- Keep the gas on low flame and allow to heat it for 10 minutes or so.
- Turn off the heat and give a standing time of 10 minutes.
- Next unseal the edges and serve hot kolkata style chicken biryani with raita.
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