Saturday, 25 April 2015


Royal, Rehmania, Shiraz, Aminia, Aliya are few among other Biryani specialists of Kolkata, taking forward the legacy of Lucknowi Biryani. Besides these very old restaurants, some of which are more than 100 years old, we have numerous small shops in the Park Circus, Ekbalpur, Kidderpore area who sell authentic Lucknowi Biryani. I will not elaborate on how Kolkata ended up following Lucknowi style Biryani because by now the story is known to many. It goes as this, when Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was deported to to Kolkata, he brought with him his personal cooks. It was from then perhaps Kolkata's love for Mughlai khana was born. The recipes were passed on to the next generation till date. I have tried to bring in that taste but never claim it to be authentic Lucknowi Biryani.... it is quite impossible to get the secret ingredients the ustads use....they never divulge the full recipe outside family. Whatever I could gather from different recipes, I have jotted down according to my own convenience. I follow that at my home, it does turn good, a lighter version of the very flavourful and tasty restaurant ones.

The potato piece, that is peeping is definitely not a part of the authentic Lucknowi Biryani. Knowing Bengal's love for potato, it was a later addition. There you also get one boiled egg per plate of biryani garnished with crispy fried onion. I omitted the two and kept it light and simple. I served it with carrot raita, but let me tell you Kolkatans love to have it with mutton/chicken chaap. Our love for  food can take us to any extent and we never claim to be healthy eaters till recently. A community obsessed with food, football, cricket, drama, cinema, politics.

INGREDIENTS : [ for the biryani masala ]
Green Cardamom : 4-5
Black Cardamom : 2
Cinnamon : 2 one inch stick
Clove : 4
Nutmeg : 1
Mace : 2
Cubeb[kebab cheeni] : 4-5
Shahi Jeera : 1/4 tsp
Star Anise : 1

INGREDIENTS : [ for the rice ]
Basmati Rice : 2 coffee mugs
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Clove : 2-3
Cinnamon : 2 one inch stick
Shahi Jeera : 3 pinches
Bayleaf : 2-3
Salt : As required
Water : As required

INGREDIENTS :[for the chicken]
Chicken : 1 kg [big cuts]
Potato : 2-3 cut into halves
Ginger Paste : 2 tsp
Garlic Paste : 2 tbsp
Onion : 2
Yogurt : 250 gm
Biryani Masala : 1 tsp
Bayleaf : 2
Oil : 2 tbsp
Ghee : 1 tbsp
Kewra water : 2-3 drops

INGREDIENTS : [ for the final round ]
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1 small cup
Saffron : 1 pinch soaked in 1/2 small cup milk [I used very small amount of yellow food colour]
Kewra water : 2 drops for each layer

Peel, wash and cut each potato into two halves. Slice the onion. Wash the chicken and marinate with salt, beaten yogurt and half of ginger-garlic paste along with the potatoes. Keep aside for 2 hours.

Dry roast all the spices meant for biriyani masala and grind them together.

Now let us prepare the rice. Take enough water in a deep bottomed vessel and put for boil. Add the required amount of salt.

Tie all the spices in a piece of cloth and immerse in the boiling water. Add the rice. Cook till 60 % done. Discard the tied spices and the water.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with bayleaf. Add the sliced onions. Fry till brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the spices separate from the oil. Add the chicken with the marinade. Potatoes to be added later.

Cook covered at medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring ocassionally. Add  the potatoes and cover again. After 10 minutes, add 1 tsp of biriyani masala, ghee and kewra water. Add salt if required. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Done.

Take a deep bottom vessel. Arrange in this order.... a layer of rice, some chicken and potato. Sprinkle a pinch of yellow food colour, 2-3 tbsp of ghee, 2 drops of kewra water. Arrange few such layers with rice at the top.

Seal with dough. Place a pan on the gas oven. Place the vessel on it. Cook at medium to low heat for 45 minutes.

Serve hot with raita and salad!!


  1. Biryanis are worth every bit of the process involved. I love your well researched recipe, Soma. On my list to try out:)

    1. Thank you Peri....shall be very happy.... I love Biryani