Easy Chicken Biryani made in a pressure cooker: when I posted the layered chicken biryani recipe, I had mentioned that Amma used to make this one pot, simple chicken biryani for me and often for my large groups of visiting friends during various stages of my college life. That biryani would forever remain my favourite kind, a reminder of my ‘interesting’ childhood and the days I didn’t need to bother with things like chopping and cooking.
Amma and I made this biryani together and apart from slicing the onions and preparing the ingredients, it’s quite hands off. If you get chicken pieces cleaned and prepared, even better. I bought 6-7 piece of chicken drumstick (the leg pieces) and we were good to go.
Since it wasn’t part of the plan to make the biryani, a few ingredients are missing but I have added notes for all you can adapt and prepare accordingly. For instance, mint is a no-brainer and must be added to this biryani but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to go out and walk a kilometre to buy a bunch. Another important note is about the coconut milk. Adding coconut milk enhances the flavour of the biryani and I’d say it’s a necessary ingredient. It makes the rice sticky and richer, almost making it seem very greasy but that’s just the coconut milk doing its thing. It also makes the rice stick to the bottom of the pressure cooker if overcooked so be careful not to use too much eat when the biryani is cooking – more on that below.
We serve chicken biryani with a cucumber raita, papad, and lemon pickle. A mirchi ka salan is a great idea too and you can make it in advance if you are cooking for a lot of people.
- 300 grams of basmati rice
- ½ cup of ghee (seems like a lot but trust me on this)
- A small fistful of whole spices like cloves, cardamom, star anise, bay leaf, etc
- 4 cups of sliced onions
- 5 green chillies (adjust to taste)
- 2" piece of ginger
- 5-6 cloves of garlic (note that Indian ones are smaller in size so use fewer if using the larger kind)
- A fistful of coriander leaves
- A fistful of mint leaves (I didn't have any)
- 300 grams of chicken drumsticks (or any pieces you prefer)
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder
- 1.5 tbsp of biryani masala (we use and like Eastern brand)
- 3 tbsp of plain curd
- 200 ml of thick coconut milk
- ¼ cup of cashew nuts
- Prep the ingredients first by slicing the onions, cleaning and setting aside the coriander leaves and mint leaves, and grinding the ginger, garlic, and green chillies together. Also soak the rice for 30 minutes and set aside to drain completely
- Heat ¼ cup ghee in a pressure cooker pan and add the whole spices. Fry for 20 seconds or until fragrant
- Then add the sliced onions and fry until golden brown
- Now add the ground chilli-ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a minute until it turns fragrant
- Next, add the biryani masala, mix well to combine and add the curd
- Mix and then add the washed chicken pieces along with turmeric and salt
- Mix again to coat the chicken pieces with the masala
- Add the coconut milk and 600ml water on top of that
- Simmer until the chicken pieces are semi-cooked
- Add the soaked, drained rice to this and top off with chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves
- Fry the cashew nuts in the remaining ¼ cup ghee until golden brown
- Drain and set aside the cashew nuts and add the hot ghee to the pressure cooker
- Close the pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes or 2 whistles
- Let the pressure leave the pan and remove lid
- Using a spatula, mix gently to make sure the rice is evenly cooked
- The rice will be very sticky and moist due to the coconut milk but will firm up quite a bit on cooling down a bit
- Best served warm with raita, papad, and lemon pickle
Step by Step Pictures: How to Make Pressure Cooker Chicken Biryani
Prep the ingredients by slicing the onions, grinding the ginger, garlic, and green chillies together, and soaking the rice for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup ghee in a pressure cooker pan and add the whole spices. When they turn fragrant, add the sliced onions and roast until golden brown.
Then add the ground ginger-garlic-chilli paste and roast for a minute until fragrant
Add biryani masala and curd to this mixture. Mix well. Then add chicken masala and mix again to coat the chicken pieces well. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix again
Top up with the coconut milk. I used store-bought, thick coconut milk and then measured water in the same packet (3 times the amount). Since I used 200 ml coconut milk, I added about 600 ml water which was perfect. Simmer until the chicken pieces are half cooked.
Now add the drained rice and chopped coriander and mint leaves. Close the pressure cooker and let two whistles sound. Takes about 10 minutes.
Let the pressure completely leave the pressure cooker and remove lid. The biryani will appear sticky and moist. Gently mix without breaking up the rice too much.
Once the biryani cools down, it will become the right consistency.
While the rice may seem greasy, it’s mostly due to the coconut milk. Garnish with the fried cashew nuts and more coriander leaves.
Serve warm with raita and papad.
– the ratio of rice:water is 1:2 roughly. This is the proportion I use generally for cooking basmati rice
– the consistency of the rice would differ a bit based on how watery your coconut milk is. Mine was store-bought and very thick
– the consistency of the biryani will also depend on the rice.
In short, I am trying to say this is not a magic formula in terms of measurement of ingredients. You’ll have to adapt based on where you live, what type of ingredients you use, and how you prefer your biryani. Use the recipe only as a guideline