Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Recipe: Awadhi-style Muradabadi chicken biryani

Muradabadi chicken biryani

This recipe takes inspiration from the rich culinary heritage of Awadh, particularly the famed city of Muradabad, known for its aromatic biryanis. We’ll be using a unique layering technique and a fragrant spice blend to create a flavorful and visually stunning dish.


  • For the Chicken Marinade:
    • 1 kg bone-in chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks preferred)
    • 1 cup yogurt
    • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp red chili powder
    • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
    • Salt to taste
  • For the Awadhi Spice Blend:
    • 2 black cardamoms
    • 3 cloves
    • 1 inch cinnamon stick
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 star anise
    • 1 mace blade (optional)
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • For the Biryani:
    • 500 gms basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
    • 1/2 cup ghee
    • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
    • 2 green chilies, slit
    • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
    • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp saffron strands, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
    • Salt to taste


  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a large bowl, combine yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat them thoroughly in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Prepare the Awadhi Spice Blend: In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, crush together the black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, star anise, mace blade (if using), fennel seeds, and cumin seeds. Grind to a coarse powder and set aside.
  3. Assemble the Biryani: Heat ghee in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and fry until golden brown. Add the green chilies and cook for a minute.
  4. Layer the Flavors: Now comes the key step for the Awadhi style. Spread half of the fried onions in the bottom of the pot. Arrange half of the marinated chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle half of the Awadhi spice blend and half of the chopped coriander and mint leaves over the chicken.
  5. Building the Biryani: Drain the soaked basmati rice and spread half of it evenly over the first layer. Drizzle some ghee and sprinkle some salt over the rice. Repeat the layering process with the remaining onions, chicken, spice blend, herbs, and rice.
  6. Cooking the Biryani: Pour the saffron-infused milk over the top layer of rice. Cover the pot tightly with a lid and seal the edges with dough made from flour and water (optional, but helps trap steam). Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Dum Cooking: Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and fluffy. The steam will help cook the rice gently, giving it a distinct Awadhi aroma.
  8. Rest and Serve: Turn off the heat and let the biryani rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld further. Gently fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot, garnished with additional chopped coriander leaves and fried cashews (optional).


  • You can adjust the spice level according to your preference.
  • For a richer flavor, use browned onions instead of regular fried onions. Simply fry the onions until they caramelize slightly.
  • If you don’t have saffron, you can substitute it with a pinch of turmeric powder.
  • This biryani pairs well with raita, a yogurt-based condiment with chopped vegetables.

Enjoy this regal Awadhi-style Muradabadi Chicken Biryani – a symphony of flavors and textures that will transport you to the heart of India’s culinary heritage.


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