Calcutta or Kolkata style Chicken Biryani is a mixed rice dish inspired by Awadhi cuisine. Biryani usually cooked with rice, Yogurt, meat and spices.
This Biryani is much lighter on spices and serving potato with meat is the speciality of Kolkata Biryani. Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Saffron, rose water, and screwpine water ( Meetha Attar) these are the quintessential ingredients for this Biryani.
One can easily get Screwpine water (Kewda Water) or Meetha Attar in Calcutta or West Bengal, but it really hard to get outside the state. So if you don’t get in your locality, you can skip it. But, adding a few drops of Meetha Attar really make the difference.
Kolkata style Chicken Biryani
Biryani Masala:( 40gm)
- ½ Nutmeg
- 5 gm Mace - 1 tbsp
- 12 gm Black cumin - 1½ tbsp (Shahjeera)
- 13 gm White peppercorn - 1 tbsp
- 5 gm Allspice - 1 tbsp (Kababchini)
- 2 gm Cloves - approximately 12-15 pcs
- 10-12 Green Cardamoms
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2-3 small Bay leaves
For Marinade the Chicken:
- 1 kg Chicken pieces - bone in, skin off
- ½ cup Greek Yogurt
- 1 tsp Red Chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Biryani Masala
Make a paste with
- ½ cup Onion paste
- 1 ½ tbsp Ginger paste
- 2 tbsp Garlic paste
- 2 Bay leaves
- 4 Green Cardamoms
- 3-4 Cloves
- 2-3 Cinnamon Bark
- ½ tsp Rose water
- ½ tsp Kewra water - Screw pine water
- 2-3 Meetha attar - drops edible rose oil also known as Rose Otto
- Salt to taste
- 3 cups Basmati Rice - long grain
- 4-5 tbsp Salt
- 4-5 Green Cardamoms
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 barks Cinnamon stick
- 4-5 Allspices
- 5-6 hard boiled eggs
- 4 potatoes cut in half
- 3-4 sliced onion - approximately 3 cups
- 1 tsp Rose water
- 1 tsp Kewra water
- 2 drops Meetha attar
- 1 fat pinch saffron
- 1 cup white oil
- 3 tbsp Ghee
- Wheat flour dough
Step 1: Prepare Biryani Masala:
- Place all whole spices on a preheated Tawa or Pan over medium heat.
- Give a stir for a few seconds and let them warm, remember your spices should be warm, not toasted. This will help to extract the aroma from the spices.
- Let them cool and grind.
- Note: You can make 5-6 cups of Biryani with this Masala, you can make this masala 2-3 days before and keep it in an airtight container.
Step 2: Marinade the Chicken
- Add little bit Biryani Masala to the yogurt and with a help of a fork give a good whisk.
- Add onion paste, salt, ginger garlic paste,coriander powder, red chili powder, beaten yogurt.
- Give a good mix, cover it with a lid or plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator, at least for 2 hours, overnight is always better.
- Note: Before cooking bring the chicken to the room temperature.
Step 3: Cook the Chicken
- Wash and soak the rice in water for at least half an hour, then drain the rice.
- Fill a pot with water and sprinkle a generous amount of salt.
- Add potatoes in it, make sure potatoes are cover with the cold water.
- Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 min, make sure the potatoes are 80% done, then drain the potatoes and let them cool.
- Preheat your Dutch oven and heat oil, when oil is hot, add sliced onion in batches and over medium heat cook for about 8-10 minutes to develop the brown color. then remove from oil and repeat the process for rest of the onion.
- Add boiled potatoes to the remaining oil and over medium high heat cook just for a minute to crisp the outer skin of the potato,then remove from oil.
- Add ghee to the remaining oil, let the ghee melt.
- Add whole spices to the hot oil and give a stir and then add in the marinated chicken.
- Over high heat cook just for a minute, and then reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and continue cooking until the chicken is almost 80% done, you need to stir the chicken a couple of times,just to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the inner bottom of the pan.
- In a bowl, add rose water, kewra water, Mithe ator, give a quick stir and keep aside.
- When you see the chicken is almost done, add the potatoes, sprinkle Biriyani Masala and add essence mix,give a good stir to mix everything well and turn off the heat.
- Note: When you see that your Chicken is halfway cooked through, start to cook the rice.
Step 4: Cook the rice
- In the same bowl again take rose water, kewra water, Mithe ator and a big pinch of Saffron. Give a stir and keep aside.
- Take another large pot with lid and fill the pot with water, sprinkle 4-5 Tbsp of salt, bring the water to a boil.
- Drain the rice and add half of lemon juice to the rice, give a mix.
- Once water start boiling, put rice in the water and add a few whole spices to the water, give a stir with a ladle and let it come up to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, the rice will be half cooked.
- Drain the cooked rice in a colander, I prefer to drain the rice in two colanders.
Step 5: Final step
- Preheat your tawa over medium-low heat.
- Spread some ghee in a heavy duty dutch oven or cooking pot with lid,( I used the same pot that I used to cook the Rice)
- Put one portion rice, then transfer the cooked chicken , sprinkle fried onion, the essence mix, add remaining ghee, Biriyani masala, another layer of rice, Biriyani Masala, remaining fried onion, mixed essence and add hard boiled eggs.
- Put the lid on and cover the side of the lid with the dough, so that steam can not escape, if you wish you can cover the pot with foil but I prefer to follow the good old process. This will not allow releasing the steam.
- Then place the pot on the preheated Tawa, and over low heat let it cook for 20 minutes.
- Then remove from heat and give five to 10 minutes standing time before serve.
- Enjoy with Raita and Salad.
- Biryani Masala: You can make 5-6 cups of Biryani with the Biryani Masala mentioned in step 1. You can make this masala 2-3 days before and keep it in an airtight container.
- Marinated Chicken: Before cooking bring the marinated chicken to the room temperature
- Perfect time for cooking rice for Biryani: When you see that your Chicken is halfway cooked through, start to cook the rice