chicken dum biryani this is the recipe i use, turns out good, can serve 5-6 good eaters recipe...courtesy my DF who works for a well established chain of hotels in the UK...hence the photos tooo. Cooking basmati rice nice and fluffy make your rice dishes look more beautiful. A little practice is all you need to cook this beautiful long grain rice. Here are a few tips for cooking basmati rice. Wash rice two to three times under cold water to remove the starch. soak rice for atleast 30mts in plenty of water. This allows the rice to expand and cook without breaking during cooking. Add a tbsp of butter or oil to the boiling water while cooking rice. This would make the grains separate. Make sure you cook the rice in a wide bottomed pan and do not disturb the rice by stirring in between. This would result in breakage of the rice. Let the cooked rice rest for a while before serving it. There are 3 basic steps for cooking a delicious hyderabadi chicken dum biryani. Marinating the chicken Half cook the basmati rice Layering chicken and rice together for the biryani. Note: Please adjust the marinade ingredients according to your spice levels. Now lets get into the things we need for these 3 steps. For the Marinade Chicken – 1 lb (about ½ kg) skinned, washed and cut into cubes. Boneless chicken can also be used but I prefer to use whole chicken with bones. Make sure you drain all the water after washing the chicken. Ginger & Garlic Paste - 2 tsps Mint leaves (pudina) – 10 sprigs finely chopped Coriander leaves – 10 sprigs finely chopped Saffron - 2 pinches soaked in ¼ cup of milk 1 onion – finely sliced and deep fried till dark brown. (see pics) yoghurt – ¾ cup ( I used a measuring cup) chilli powder – 2 tbsp Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp garam masala – 2 tbsps (lightly roasted in a pan on low heat for 30 secs) juice of 1 big lemon (about 4 tbsps) Oil – ¼ cup Salt – ½ tsp Oil for deep frying the onions – ¼ cup (do not use left over oil in the marinade after frying onions. discard or save it for a different dish) For the rice Basmati rice – 2 cups ( I used a measuring cup). Wash under cold water and soak for 30 mts then drain the entire water in a strainer and set aside Whole green Cardamom – 4 Cloves – 3 Black cumin seeds (Shahi jeera) – ¾ tsp Bay leaves – 2 Biryani flower ( Anasapuvvu) – 1 Black pepper corns – 4 Butter/oil/ghee – 1 tbsp Salt – 4 tbsps Water for boiling – 10 cups ( I used a measuring cup) A wide & deep sauce pan to cook rice For cooking in layers 1 wide heavy bottomed deep vessel / pot A large dosa pan / flat bottomed skillet Pinch of red orange color dissolved in 2 tbsps milk or water (optional) Alluminium foil or a wet towel (squeeze the entire water) to cover the pan. Alternatively you can use whole wheat flour dough to seal the edges so that the steam does’nt escape. Now that you have all the ingredients ready. Lets take a peek at the recipe. - In a sauce pan heat about 1/4 cup of oil and deep fry onions as shown in the below pics till dark brown. Remove the onions and drain them on the kitchen towel. Once cool, crush them and set aside. They are ready to be mixed in the marinade. Alternatively you can use store bought fried onions too. (Do not use left over oil in the marinade) The first step is marinating the chicken: In a large bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients till well combined. Cover and let it rest for an hour or overnight if you have some time. This would let the chicken absorb all the flavours of the spices and enhance the taste of your biryani. Cooking the basmati rice: While the chicken is marinating, place a deep sauce pan on the stove with 10 cups of water on high flame. When the water gets to boil, throw in the spices (cardamom, cloves, shahijeera, bay leaves, bay flower, pepper corns, butter, and salt) and cook for a minute. Now gently add in the drained rice to the boiling water and let it cook on high flame till another boil (takes 4 mts). Immediately drain the rice along with the spices in a strainer. Let all the water drain off. Set aside. OK, show time now, cooking both the chicken and rice together. But now that everything is ready, this is going to be a cake walk. Trust me. You can do this. Its EASY. Place a heavy wide bottomed deep pot or vessel on the stove top and turn it on high flame. Allow the pot to get hot for about a minute. Now arrange the entire marinated chicken at the bottom of this pot. This is your first layer. Then arrange the half cooked rice on top of the chicken. This is going to be your second and last layer. On top of the rice, add about 2 - 3 tbsps of oil. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on high heat for 3 to 4 mts. Do not cook more than that because your chicken might get burnt. Meanwhile heat a dosa pan/flat bottomed skillet on high heat till the pan is hot. Once hot reduce the flame to the lowest setting and place the chicken and rice pot on the tawa. Remove the lid and pour in the red orange color water around in the center. This would give your rice the restaurant style look with some of the rice grains looking orange in color. Who would’nt want to surprise their guests with such looks!!! Now seal the pot with an alluminium foil or a wet towel (squeeze all the water) or using the traditional whole wheat dough method. This allows the flavors of your chicken and rice to remain inside. Cook for 30 mts undisturbed on the tawa on the lowest setting. Switch of the flame and let it rest for 10 mts. Just before serving open the lid, gently mix in the chicken at the bottom with the rice. serve it hot with mirchi ka salan or raita and enjoy.