Biryani is one of my favourite comfort foods, but it always seemed quite intimidating to make. All the spices, the layering, all the flavours, and the perfectly cooked rice. I make rice and chicken dishes in my Instant Pot all the time, so when I was randomly craving some chicken biryani one day, during the height of the pandemic, I experimented with making chicken biryani in my Instant Pot for the first time.
Since then, I've experimented with this recipe many times, before I believed it to be perfect. Once I felt it was good enough, I sent some over to my parents and sister, who gave me the green light. My dad even raved about it, and it was then that I knew this was good enough to share!
Here are some things to pay attention to:
The first time I made this recipe, the rice was too wet- I added too much water because I thought that the rice would stick to the bottom and burn. I totally forgot that the chicken would also release water as it cooked... and so I ended up with slightly wet and mushy rice. Lesson learned: whatever you do, don't add extra water!
Prepare everything in advance!
This biryani comes together SO quickly, so it is important to have everything prepped and ready to go. Chop your veggies, cut your chicken, wash your rice and herbs.
*Disclaimer* I know this isn't the traditional way of making biryani. This is meant to be a quick, easy and approachable take on making biryani at home, with minimal effort!
*Makes 3-4 servings*
-2 tbsp of neutral oil (I used avocado oil)
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped
-4 thai green chilis (adjust heat to your liking)
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tbsp ginger, grated or finely minced
-2 tbsp of biryani masala (spice mix)
-1/2 tsp of turmeric
-1 lb of chicken (I usually use chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces OR boneless, skinless chicken thighs- I like the thighs better!)
-1 cup of basmati rice, washed well 3-4 times until the water is no longer cloudy, then drained.
-1/3 cup of chopped cilantro
-5-6 mint leaves, torn
-1 cup of water
Turn on your IP and put it on the "sauté more" setting. Add the oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and chilies and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute more.
Once the garlic and ginger are fragrant, add the biryani masala and the turmeric. Let this cook for about 30 seconds- just enough to awaken and toast the spices. Don't wait longer than 30 seconds because you will risk burning the spices!
Add the chicken and mix well, until the chicken is coated in the onion-spice mix.
Let this cook, and give the chicken a toss about every minute or so, until the surface of the chicken is opaque- about 3 minutes (the chicken will still be raw on the inside!).
Once opaque, add the rice and spread it out in an even layer (do not mix it!)
Add the cilantro and mint on top of the rice; spread it out evenly- this is your next layer.
Finally, pour the water on top, and use a spoon to push down the rice. Make sure every grain of rice is submerged in the water. If there isn't enough water, add 1 tbsp at a time, until the rice is just submerged. You don't want a pool of water on top- this results in mushy, overcooked rice!
Cover and set the lid to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, let it natural release for 10 minutes.
Once the natural release time is over, manually release the pressure and remove the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork and then gently toss the biryani to evenly distribute the chicken.
Then you are ready to serve! I like to serve the biryani along side a yogurt salad/ raita (chopped cucumber, tomato and red onions, mixed together with plain yogurt and salt).
Enjoy! If you make the recipe- share it with me on Instagram!