Mom’s Easy Sindhi Chicken Biryani

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I am so excited to share this recipe on here!

My mom’s Sindhi Chicken Biryani is epic.

Obviously I am biased. I grew up eating biryani this way, but many who have tried my mom’s biryani have complemented it. So I know this is a good one.

Biryani is definitely a labour of love. You need a bit of time and patience to get it right. There are also a few tips and tricks to getting the flavours just so.

The challenge was to get my mom to tell me an exact recipe. My mom has been making this for so long, she really doesn’t measure her ingredients any more. She just knows when its right. It is magic!

So in order to get the recipe right, I went over to Mom’s place and set up my camera to record her every move. She shared her tips for getting onions to crisp up, how to make sure the rice doesn’t turn to mush at the end of the cooking process. And of course this time, I made sure I got the quantities just right so I could share it on here with you.

This easy Sindhi Chicken Biryani recipe has simple clean ingredients, and the best flavour. Take a peek at the youtube video breaking down the play by play if you want to learn all my mom’s secrets.


Easy Sindhi Chicken Biryani

Sharing my mom's traditional Sindhi Biryani Recipe. The ingredients are simple, but the flavours are big. Sharing all the tips and tricks to making Sindhi Chicken Biryani at home.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: gluten free
Servings: 6


  • 3 cups basmati rice (sella basmati rice is best if you can find it)
  • 3 lbs chicken bone-in, skin off (one whole chicken cut into pieces works well)
  • 3 tsp salt (divided)
  • 2 cups oil
  • 3 lbs onions
  • 2 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 lbs potatoes
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 5-6 green chillies
  • 2-3 pieces dried apricot (soaked in boiling water)

Biryani Spice Mix

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2-3 pieces clove
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Rice Spice Mix

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 lime, sliced

Rice Toppings

  • 1 tbsp saffron (soaked in 1/2 cup milk or water)
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked in 1 cup milk or water) – optional
  • 1 tsp zarda (yellow) food colouring optional
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp whole black cumin seeds


Prepare the Rice

  • Start by washing the rice a few times till the water runs clear, place the rice in a large pan or baking dish with a tight fitting lid (a roasting pan works well).*
  • Add the rice spice mix to the rice with 5 cups of water.

Prepare the Chicken Biryani Masala

  • Heat the oil in a large deep sauce pan.
  • Thinly slice the onions (using a food processor is the easiest way to avoid all those tears – but it will totally be worth it – I promise!).
  • Add all the onions to the hot oil. Add 1 tsp of salt, and the ginger slices. Cook on medium high, stirring occasionally till they start to turn a caramel brown colour (about 30-40 minutes).
  • While the onions cook, prepare the rest of the ingredients: Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt. Chop the potatoes into quarters, and boil them in a separate saucepan with a tsp of salt till fork tender. Mix the biryani spice mix together. Soak the saffron in milk or water.
  • When the onions are a deep caramel brown, add the chicken and biryani spice mix, yogurt, rehydrated apricot (if using) and green chillies.
  • Cook stirring often till the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Taste for salt and spice level, and adjust to taste.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat and start to assemble the biryani. Or you can make this masala ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to assemble. The masala will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Assemble Biryani

  • Preheat oven to 375*F (190*C).
  • In the oven, or on stove top, heat rice till the water has been almost absorbed and rice is half cooked (about 5 mins). You will know the rice is half cooked by pinching a grain of rice between your fingers. If it splits into two pieces, it is ready for the next step.
  • Scoop out half the rice in a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Layer the chicken curry mixture over the rice in the pan, add the raisins in a layer, including the milk/water they were soaked in.
  • Add the reserved rice on top in another layer.
  • Sprinkle the saffron water/milk, and rice topping ingredients over top.
  • Cover and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins.*
  • You will know the biryani is done when you remove the cover and a big plume of steam escapes. The steamier, the better. Toss the biryani gently to mix, and serve warm.


*We use the oven method to cook the rice, and find it works really well to keep the heat locked in and allow all the flavours to blend together. However, if you want to do this on the stove top (the traditional way), you will need to use a large, deep pan with a tight fitting lid, and make sure to place a large frying pan underneath to prevent the bottom from burning, and a heavy pan on top of the lid, to ensure it stays sealed to help create that steam.

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