Busy mum Biryani Recipe


Biryani is a rice dish made with curried meat and rice.

In Pakistan there are several prominent varieties such as Sindhi, Karachi-style, and Bombay biryani. You will find biryani at a typical Pakistani restaurant or dinner party.

Bring the flavours of Chai Shy Home!

Display and enjoy the food in our beautiful ceramics, sit outdoors and use our throws, and tap into our playlist, to get the full Chai Shy Experience.

Every week, we aim to bring you mouth watering recipes, so that you too can make a wonderful Biryani, at home. Now, as we spend more time at home, in the company of our precious loved ones, why not treat them and yourself to a rich culinary experience!

Here is our recipe for the “Busy mum Biryani” and you can also purchase our recommended spice mix!

Explained step by step, with pictures to help you break down, what- at first sight seems like climbing up the K2 mountain range! Fear not, for what lies ahead is methodical, has a few short cuts and can be easily re produced!

The Busy Mums Biryani Recipe

Prep time 20 minutes

Cooking time 45-60 minutes

Difficulty level medium

Portion size 4-6 adults 


(1)1.5 large onions, chopped ( can use a chopper to save those tears!) or Shortcut/alternative to chopped onion:use pre packaged fried onions (pic attached)

(2) 3 medium sized tomatoes or can be replaced with 1 can of chopped tomatoes

(3) 2-3 peeled potatoes, diced into chunky squares

(4)½ can of chopped tomatoes additional

(5)1kg chicken ( cut into 8 pcs or more)

(6)1cup cooking oil ( sunflower oil or your preference)

(7)1teaspoon chopped garlic or garlic paste 

(8)1 teaspoon chopped ginger or ginger paste

(9)½ a cup of plain yogurt ( natural or Greek)

(10)2 cup rice

(11)6 cup water

(12) 1 shallow/deep wok type pan and 1 deep pot

For the garnish at the end.

Bunch of mint, coriander and if you like green Chillies ( for the real look, or if you’ve got a brave soul)

Let the cooking begin….

  1. Put on the Chai Shy play list!
  2. Once you’ve chopped up and put aside all the ingredients ( the hardest bit) , work your way to the cooking part
  3. Marinate your chicken in 1/2 cup yogurt and Biryani Mix spice powder. Coat and leave aside, while you do other steps
  4. Use your shallow/deep/ fry pan to heat your 1 cup oil
  5. Once the oil is hot , add in your 1.5 diced onions. Cook till onions are nicely browned.(Browned- not burnt) Keep aside a small amount of browned onions for the last step in the recipe. Use all other quantity for step below.
  6. Once browned and fragrant, add your coated/marinated chicken into the shallow pan holding brown onion. Make the chicken and onion, spice mix and potatoes cover each other and spread out evenly, so that all the chicken is in contact with hot oil and onion.
  7. Add in half can of chopped tinned tomatoes. Mix well. Cover and cook for about 30-45 minutes, on medium heat, till chicken is cooked. The mix will look like chicken in gravy. Towards the end you will see the gravy giving out oil, which is a sign that the chicken is cooked. 
  8. I would do some washing up at this stage, while waiting for the chicken to cook!
  9. You’ve reached step 9!! Well done! You’re nearly at the finish line! Just a few more steps to a perfectly cooked biryani...
  10. Use a deep pot to boil your water for rice. Use 6 cups water and 2 cups rice.Add a pinch of salt into the water. At this stage, many recipes suggest adding star aniseed to the boiling water and other additions. Entirely your choice. I would keep it simple.
  11.  While 6 cups seems alot, this is because, most of the water will be thrown away ,once the rice is part boiled.The key is to keep the rice part boiled, and not to make it too mushy, or to turn it into soup ( which, I must admit, I have almost done)
  12. Once the rice is part boiled, and coming to the surface, test it by taking out a few pieces and breaking it in the middle of the rice grain, using your thumb and index finger. If the rice feels a bit hard in the middle and soft by the edges, you’ve done the job right!
  13. Strain away the rest of the rice from the water in a strainer, or put away in a separate container. As now, you will need to re use your rice pot for the final steps!


  1. Add 2-3 drops of oil to your rice pot. Add half the quantity of your rice to the base of the pot. The objective is to form 3 alternating layers of rice and gravy
  2. 1st layer is rice at the bottom. Now add a layer of your chicken and its gravy
  3. Cover the chicken gravy layer with a layer of rice. On top of the last layer of rice, you can now add some fried onion from step 5 as a garnish, along with chopped coriander, chopped mint, long sliced green chilli, and rounded slice or two of lemon. Cover and let it all cook together on very low heat for 10 min. Make sure the rice at bottom does not burn and stick. Within 10 minutes, the Biryani would have gotten its “dum” which is, an envelope of flavours seeping through all elements present inside stock pot!
  4. These additional 10 minutes of dum, cook the rice completely ( as it was left part boiled earlier) In traditional recipes, the lid and pot are sealed together, to lock in flavours further… but being a busy mums biryani recipe, we’ve kept it as basic as possible!
  5. Dish out onto a beautiful rice plate, serve with Yogurt  in one of our beautiful hand painted  bowls, and if you’re really feeling the love: make the optional  kachumar salad ( finely diced onion, tomatoes, cucumber, with squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt,a few spriggs of chopped coriander) to go as an accompaniment!
  6. Pat yourself on the back, for this heroic feat and enjoy.

Personally, Biryani tastes even better once its been stored over night in the fridge and can be eaten day on day two or three if cooled and stored properly in the fridge.

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