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Plan your Eid al Fitr festive dinner now

26 Apr 2022 Karachi chicken biryani

With Eid al Fitr round the corner, its time to plan your festive dinner. Here are some of the most popular biryanis which enjoy universal appeal:

Karachi Chicken Biryani


For the korma

1kg chicken – cut into suitable pieces

1tbsp ginger-garlic paste

3 large tomatoes – sliced

7 to 8 green chilies

1 cup mint leaves

7 to 8 dried plums or apricots

4 medium onions – sliced

1 chicken bouillon cube

1tbsp salt

1tsp red chili powder

1tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder

2tsp cumin powder

1½tsp coriander powder

½tsp turmeric powder

1tsp garam masala powder

2tbsp kewra water

1 cup yogurt

¾ cup oil

½tsp mace and nutmeg powder

1 cup water

For the rice

¾kg long grain basmati rice – soaked in water for 20 minutes

3 to 4 bay leaves

10 black peppercorns

5 cloves

3 black cardamom

5 green cardamom

1 stick of cinnamon

1tbsp vinegar

2tsp salt

For garnish

¼ cup milk – mixed with orange food colour

1 tomato cut in slices

4 green chillies

¾ cup chopped coriander leaves

¾ cup chopped mint leaves

½ cup brown fried onions

1 mace

1 nutmeg


First prepare the korma. Blend the green chillies with the yogurt to form a smooth paste and set aside. Heat oil in a pot and fry sliced onion and mint leaves on medium flame till the onions turn golden brown. Remove roughly about ½ cup of brown onions for garnish. Then, add 1/4th cup water in the onions to stop frying. Add all the spices (except nutmeg and mace powder) and tomatoes. Saute for a minute, add ¾ cup water, and cover the pot to allow the tomatoes to soften – 5 minutes.

Using a hand blender, blend the tomatoes and onions together. Now add the chicken, garlic ginger paste, dried plums, chicken cube, and the yogurt chilli mix. Mix everything well. Cover the pot and let the korma simmer for 15 to 20 minutes on medium to low flame. Remove the lid and check if the chicken is cooked. Turn off flame and add kewra water and mace nutmeg powder, and slightly mix.

To prepare the rice, in a large pot, boil water on high flame. Add the whole spices, vinegar, salt and bay leaves. Once the water starts bubbling, add in the pre-soaked basmati rice. Boil the rice for 5 mins and check a grain of rice. You should be able to break the grain of rice with fingers but the grain should still be hard and in-edible. That’s the perfect rice for biryani layering. Strain the rice and set aside.

To assemble the biryani for the final cooking, take a large pot. Add 1/3 of the rice to layer the bottom of the pot. Garnish the rice with mint, chopped coriander, slices of tomatoes, 1 green chili and a sprinkling of mace-nutmeg powder. Then, add ½ of the chicken korma on the rice, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Add another 1/3 of the rice on top of this layer and repeat the garnish. Add another layer of the remaining chicken korma and cover with the last portion of rice. Drizzle the rice with the coloured milk in streaks.

Garnish the top layer and add the fried onions, as well.

Cover the pot with foil and then add the lid to make a strong seal. Place an old pan or tawa under the pot on the stove to reduce direct heat. Turn on the flame to high for 5 minutes, then reduce to medium low for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid and open the foil slightly to check if you can see steam. If you can see steam, that means your biryani is done. Remove from fire, cover the foil and lid, and let it rest for another 10 minutes before serving with raita and salad.

Lucknowi Mutton Biryani

lucknowi mutton biryani


1kg lamb meat with bones

750g basmati rice

2 potatoes – peeled, cut to quarters

6tbsp ghee

4 onions – finely chopped

5 black cardamom

5 green cardamom

10 black peppercorn

2cm sticks of cinnamon (two pieces)

8-10 cloves

2tsp fennel seeds

2tsp kewra essence

1 cup milk

5-6 saffron strands

2tsp salt

For the marination

2 onions – finely chopped

4tbsp ginger-garlic paste

2tsp coriander powder

2 tsp red chilli powder

2tsp garam masala powder

Juice of 1 lime

1½ cup yogurt

1½tsp salt

For garnish

2tbsp fried onions

2 sprigs of coriander – chopped


Mix all ingredients under marination, add to the mutton pieces, and mix well. Let it marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Soak the basmati rice for at least 30 minutes. Boil six cups of water with the whole spices, then strain out the spices and set aside this flavoured water.

Heat ghee in a large pan, add in the soaked rice, cook for 3-5 minutes till rice turns opaque. Crush and add 2 saffron strands, flavoured water, and bring the rice to a boil. When a little more than half done, remove and strain.

Now, take another heavy bottomed pan and add ghee and the sliced onions. Saute till onions turn translucent. Add in the marinated mutton, stir and cook for a few minutes. Cover with the lid and simmer it for half an hour. Add the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes, till tender.

Take a huge pot and lay a layer of rice. Add in some of the mutton pieces with some gravy. Repeat this alternate layering of rice and mutton pieces, finishing with a layer of rice on top. Warm the milk slightly with cardamom pods. Crush and add the saffron to it and pour this mixtures over the final layer of rice. Sprinkle the kewra essence, a key flavour for biryani.

Cover with a lid and seal the sides by applying a dough made with wheat flour all around. Cook on very low flame for about half an hour. Remove, break seal, and serve straight from the pot, garnished with fried onions and chopped coriander.

Mango Raita


2 cups yoghurt

½ cup mango pulp

1 cup chopped up ripe mango

For tempering (optional)

2tsp oil

1 red chilli – broken to bits

½tsp mustard seeds

½tsp cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves

A pinch of salt


Blend the yoghurt and mango pulp to get a smooth, thick mixture. Take a large bowl, add the yoghurt mixture and the mango chunks, and mix lightly. For the tempering, heat oil in a small pan and add the mustard, cumin, curry leaves, red chilli and salt.

Pour the sizzling mixture over the mango mixture and mix a little to spread the tempering. (The mango raita is delightful even if you avoid the tempering.)

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