Biryani – Indian Layered Rice


I was recently invited to our friend Steve’s Birthday Party & decided this occasion was a perfect time to figure out how to make Biryani from scratch using some of the organic dry roasted spices I have created rather than generic store-bought spices. I cannot eat very spicy food so this recipe is for a milder Biryani. Add more curry powder or chili powder for a spicier dish.

My Aunt Diana, an ACE cook (President of the Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery book) contributed to helping me make this delicious Biryani in 2000. Way back then I was using store-bought spices. In this recipe, I used my organic dry roasted spices, freshly ground and it was the best biryani I have made.

Here is where you can buy Trudy Ann’s spices, & at the East End FoodCoop.

It does take time and having some help in the kitchen for this dish helps. I love making this dish for a large group. It is always really enjoyed and worth the labour.

Note: you can substitute meat for vegetables or add vegetables along with your meat. Also, you could try making it with Quinoa


  • 2 pounds chicken or lamb (marinated in yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 inch piece cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons Panch Phoran (can substitute with fennel seeds)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 8 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder (or 12 whole cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely grated
  • 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Trudy Ann’s Mangalore Curry (to marinate the meat)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Trudy Ann’s Curry Powder (more for spicy biryani)
  • 1 tablespoon Trudy Ann’s Garam Masala
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Cup nuts
  • 4 cups basmati rice (soaked for 30 mins to 1hour in water)
  • Pinch of saffron (soaked in 3 tablespoons hot water)
  • Salt to taste
  • Add  some chili powder along with the tomatoes if you want a spicy biryani


Marinade the meat in 1/2 a cup of yogurt and Mangalore Curry and keep in the fridge.

Use a large pot to prepare the biryani. Cut 2 onions into fine slices and fry in oil until they are golden brown. Transfer all the onions into a bowl & sprinkle a little salt now so that the onions will remain crisp.

Add Panch Phoran (or fennel seeds) and fry for 30 seconds, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and fry a few minutes.

Add the other half of the onions, add tomatoes, curry powder, garam masala,  ginger, garlic. Fry until thick and add the marinated meat. Mix the spices well with the meat. Add half a cup of cilantro and mint leaves to the gravy or masala.

Let the meat cook on medium heat until it is cooked. Add salt to taste.

Rice Preparation:

Soak rice for 1/2 an hour to 1 hour in cold water.

In a pot, boil 8 cups of water so it comes to a rolling boil, add one spoon of salt. Drain the soaked rice and add to the boiling water.  Add saffron with the water to the rice.

After 12 minutes strain the rice ( so it is 3/4 cooked).

Add the rice to the thick Biryani masala/ meat mixture.

Cover with a fine cloth and press the lid shut. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

In a dish, add layers of rice at the bottom, meat, vegetables, rice on top.

Garnish rice with the other half of the fried onions, raisins ( fried in butter until they puff up), & nuts.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F and heat biryani for about 20 mins just before serving. Add all the gravy from the meat to the dish. Cover dish with foil while heating.

Online Cooking Classes & Coaching:

For more recipes and spices, please purchase Trudy Ann’s Masala Kitchen Recipe book. Sign up for my online low carb keto cooking classes.

Chai Chai x Trudy Ann

© 2013 Trudy Ann’s Chai

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