Chicken Dum Biryani With Beetroot Raita

Chicken Dum Biryani

If I were to go on a diet and be allowed just one cheat meal in a month, that meal would be Chicken Dum Biryani.

When I graduated from just a “noodles-sandwich” cook to a proper cook, one of the first dishes I wanted to make was biryani. I tried quite a few (and I mean QUITE a few) but nothing would match the authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. My search finally ended with Chef Sanjay Thumma’s restaurant-style biryani recipe. It is one of the simplest and yet the best I have tried so far. I must have made it at least 20 times if not more in the last few years. Each time it is appreciated and licked clean off the plate by one and all.

With multiple attempts, I have tweaked the recipe a bit but even if you follow Chef Sanjay’s original one to the T, the results would be as good. Let the list of ingredients not intimidate you. It really is extremely simple! Give it a shot and you would be hooked, just like me! You may serve it with a tomato and onion raita. However, what you see in the picture is the chicken dum biryani with beetroot raita.

Chicken Dum Biryani


  • Chicken (a mix of drumsticks and thighs)- 500gm (remove the skin off the drumsticks and dice the thighs in approximately 2 inch sized cubes)
  • Long grained basmati rice- 1.5 cups
  • Hyderabadi Biryani Masala (I use Shaan brand. Chef Sanjay makes fresh masala but I struggle to find lichens here so just use the packaged masala)-3 tablespoons+1 tablespoon
  • Cumin powder-1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder-1 teaspoon
  • Red Chili powder-1/2 -1 teaspoon or as per taste
  • Turmeric powder-1 teaspoon
  • Fresh mint Leaves (finely chopped)- 3 tablespoons
  • Fresh coriander Leaves (finely chopped)- 3 tablespoons
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice- 2 tablespoons
  • Yogurt-3 tablespoons
  • Green chili (finely chopped)-2 or to taste
  • Ginger-garlic paste- 2 tablespoons
  • Onion (1 medium)- Sliced fine
  • Tomato (1 small)- Chopped
  • Rose water-1 teaspoon (for fragrance only and doesn’t impact the taste so you can avoid if it doesn’t go well with you)
  • Kewra water-1 teaspoon (for fragrance only and doesn’t impact the taste so you can avoid if it doesn’t go well with you)
  • Whole garam masala (1 mace, 1 star anise, 2 centimeters long cinnamon bark, 1 big cardamom, 4 small cardamoms) wrapped and tied in a small muslin cloth
  • Bay leaf-2
  • Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
  • Saffron- 4-6 strands
  • Salt-1.5 tablespoon+1teaspoon+1 tablespoon
  • Vegetable oil- 2 tablespoons+1/2 tablespoon+1 tablespoon
  • Ghee- 1 tablespoon
  • Whole wheat aata for making dough to seal the wok (the method is called dum)


  1. Marinating-The most important step is the marinating the meat overnight. If you perfect this step, 70% of the job is done. Take a large glass bowl and mix ingredients number 1-13 (except the basmati rice) well. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 1.5 tablespoons salt. Mix again, cover and place it in the refrigerator overnight to marinate. Minimum 4 hours of marinating is recommended.
  2. Preparing the biryani- Keep the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before cooking. Soak the rice in water for an hour
  3. In a thick-bottomed wok (kadahi) add ½ tablespoon oil. Add sliced onion once the oil is hot and fry till golden brown. Keep aside half the amount for garnish later and to the remaining half add chopped tomatoes and stir for 2-3 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add 1-tablespoon biryani masala and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the masala is cooked through and starts to leave oil. Add 1-teaspoon salt, mix well for 2 minutes and keep aside
  4. Bring 3 cups water to boil in a deep wok and add the soaked rice, 1/2-tablespoon oil and 1-tablespoon salt, bay leaves and cumin seeds. As the rice is previously soaked, it would not take long to cook. Please note that we are not going to completely cook the rice at this stage as it would further cook with the chicken during the dum process
  5. While the rice is cooking, place the marinated chicken in the same heavy bottomed wok which you used to fry onions making sure all the chicken pieces are uniformly touching the base of the wok and not overlapping each other. To ensure this please use a wide bottomed wok. We do not turn on the heat yet
  6. Once the rice is 70% cooked turn off the heat and with the help of a strainer, take the rice out and place it gradually over the chicken layer. Make sure you do not add any water from the rice to the chicken wok during the straining process. Please note that we are not draining the water out of the rice all at one go, rather taking rice out with a strainer gradually and adding to the chicken
  7. Once you have transferred the entire rice, make a small well on one side of the rice-chicken layer and place the muslin tied whole garam masalas. This would add more fragrance to your biryani
  8. Spread the previously cooked tomato-onion mixture, saffron, rose and kewra water and ghee on top of the rice evenly and seal. How you seal would vary based on the kind of wok you use. I used a Le-creuset, which has a heavy lid, so I just covered as usual and then sealed the edges using kneaded dough. If you are using a wok with a light steel lid then place the lid upside down and then seal with the dough to avoid any steam leakage. Please note that the dum process involves cooking the meat (and rice) in its own steam thus retaining maximum flavor of rice, meat and spices. Hence proper leak-free sealing is important (see here for tips to proper sealing-
  9. Place a flat iron pan on high heat and place the above sealed wok on it. Let it cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, remove the pan and place the wok on direct heat. Let this sit for another 15 minutes before turning off the heat. Wait for 20 minutes before taking off the dough seal using a kitchen knife. Open the lid gradually as it would still be very hot with steam inside
  10. Serve hot garnished with friend onion, mint and coriander and onion-tomato raita. I served with some beetroot raita and raw onion rings drizzled with lime and salt


Calories (per serving)- 380 (please note that I have used more chicken and less rice hence controlling the total carb intake making it lower than a traditional biryani. You could also swap chicken thighs with breast portion to further reduce the calories)
Nutrition- Protein/Fiber/Good fat
It does wonders for your- Muscles/Mood/Gut
This is “My 1 pm Meal”


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1 Comment

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    Masala Roast Chicken – OneWholesomeMeal
    November 3, 2018 at 11:33 am

    […] recipe is one such. I will tell you why. I was hosting some friends for dinner and decided to make Chicken Dum Biryani. I marinated the chicken the night before as per the recipe. Next morning the desi in me went into […]

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