Kolkata Style Chicken Biriyani

Kolkata Style Chicken Biriyani

Biriyani is now an Oxford Dictionary word, which means “Asian dish made from rice with meat, fish or vegetables”. So I am not going in details of what this dish is about. Rather I will focus on the emotions attached to Biriyani from a food lover’s perspective. Kolkata Style Chicken Biriyani is very localized, like any other dish. But this Biriyani is quite distinct in taste, and immensely popular among people in Kolkata. To be more precise, any Calcuttans living outside Kolkata, their visits back to the city remain incomplete without visiting Arsalan, Zeeshan, Nizam, Shiraz or Amenia restaurants. There are few newer restaurants too, but these are the age-old places known for their amazing Biriyanis and Kabobs. These places are always crowded localities anytime you visit.

In biriyani, Rice and meat slow-cooked together with various spices. The basic recipe is the same, but depending on the region the taste varies. Many regions in India, and other countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc, have their own recipes. Though the origins of Biriyani came from the Muslims in India, but now popular among all food lovers irrespective of their culture and religions.

If you are not very keen about the taste, I would think Kolkata Biriyani is closer to the Lucknow Biriyani. One obvious difference is Kolkata Biriyani has Potatoes, unlike other types. It also has hard-boiled eggs in most places. In terms of taste, it is more aromatic, and less spicy when compared with Hyderabad style. There is a saying that if you have not washed your hand with soap multiple times after eating biriyani, it is not actually biriyani. What it implies is authentic Biriyani has a generous amount of Ghee that is clarified butter. In my recipe today, I have tried to emulate the taste without getting overboard on the butter.

I do not add fried onions in my recipe, though a little onion paste in the marinate is fine. To get the longer, nice look of the rice, the Basmati Rice needs to be soaked for atlas an hour. It helps to get the longer texture and cooks faster. Cut the potato in halves and lightly fry them with either turmeric and salt or saffron. The chicken ideally should be marinated for a couple of hours, I prefer to marinate overnight if possible. One of the main ingredients of this biriyani is the garam masala powder along with mace, nutmeg, and saffron.

Yields 8-10

Kolkata Style Chicken Biriyani

4 hrPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

5 hrTotal Time

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  • To Cook Rice:
  • 4 Cups of Basmati Rice
  • 10 Cups of water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 sticks of Cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamon
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Black Cumin (Sahi Jeera)
  • For Chicken Marinate:
  • 4 lbs Chicken drumsticks
  • 1 Cup of Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Salt (as per taste)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Mace Powder (crushed is fine too)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 tbsp Onion Paste (optional)
  • Others:
  • 3 medium sized Potato cut in halves
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 Cup Ghee (Butter)
  • 1 tsp Kewra Water (Screw Pine essence)
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 2-3 Pinches of Saffron


  1. Chicken Marinate:
  2. Add all ingredients for the marinate, ad mix well. Taste and adjust the salt.
  3. Add chicken into the marinate.
  4. Let the chicken marinate for 2-4 hours at least.
  5. Soak rice in water for 1 hour
  6. Cook Rice with 10 cups of water in a large bowl, with whole garam masalas and salt
  7. Once the rice water starts boiling, turn off the burner, and drain out water immediately. Rice should be half cooked. if you do not want the whole garam masala in your Biriyani, put the whole garam masala in a cheesecloth and tie a small pouch and put in the water while cooking the rice. It will infuse the flavor in the rice, and then can be removed while draining the water.
  8. Soak Saffron in warm milk
  9. Warm ghee or melt the butter
  10. Lightly fry the potatoes with turmeric and salt to add color in all sides
  11. I use, aluminum foil tray to cook my biriyani
  12. Pour half of the ghee/butter at the bottom of the tray
  13. put marinated chicken in one layer on top of the butter
  14. sprinkle couple of spoons of Saffron soaked in milk on chicken
  15. Add fried potatoes on top of the marinated chicken
  16. Spread the rice evenly on top of the potatoes
  17. squeeze lemon juice on the spread rice
  18. sprinkle Kewra water on top
  19. spread the saffron soaked in milk evenly on rice
  20. pour evenly rest of the ghee on top
  21. Cover the tray tightly with aluminum foil
  22. I use to layers of cover to make it airtight.
  23. Preheat oven at 350 degree F
  24. Cook for one hour
  25. Let it sit for 30 minutes in the oven after turning off.


Mix the biriyani lightly before serving.


gluten free
egg free
soy free
wheat free
seafood free
treenut free
sesame free
mustard free
Main Course



7157 cal


290 g


668 g


407 g
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