8 Tips And Tricks To Master The Art Of Homemade Biryani

Biryani is the ultimate comfort food for many people around India. With a bevvy of regional variations and different combinations to try, you could try biryani in every state and still have some left to explore. In essence, it’s a simple combination of meat and rice, but there’s a lot of care and technique which goes into perfecting the dish. 

Crafting a restaurant-quality biryani in the comfort of your own kitchen is a culinary venture that demands precision and care. Master the art of assembling your biryani, ensuring each layer imparts its distinct taste. But by following these tips, you can transform your home kitchen into a hub for biryani mastery. Prepare to delight your taste buds and those of your loved ones with a homemade biryani that rivals the best offerings from your favourite restaurants.

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Type Of Rice

The heart of any biryani (and the most important ingredient) is the rice itself so naturally, a good biryani hinges on choosing the right one. Realistically, any rice grain can be turned into biryani, but for the best experience, you need to pick a long grain basmati which will separate nicely when cooked and not form clumps

Making The Masala

Biryani masala is quite easy to get readymade in most stores these days but you can also opt to make it from scratch. The balance of spices is what will shape the final dish so you can customise it as per your personal tastes. It usually contains a mixture of 15 or more roasted whole spices ground down into a fine powder. Some variations include things like black stone flower (a type of fungi)and other local spices for a regional flavour. 

Preparing The Base Ingredients

Fried onions, also known as birista are a key factor to getting a restaurant-quality biryani. And they’re very simple to make. Simply slice a few onions evenly and fry until golden brown. Another key flavour is the saffron rice which you can make by soaking saffron strands in hot milk and pouring it over your rice along with some kewra water before you seal the biryani to steam. 

Choosing The Right Base

There are many different types of biryani you can make. Chicken, mutton, beef, fish, prawn or even vegetarian versions with paneer or vegetable kebabs. Depending on which base flavour you choose, you’ll need to adjust your approach. For example, chicken thighs and drumsticks are better suited to biryani than chicken breasts, and mutton needs to be slightly cooked beforehand to ensure it’s very tender in the final dish. For more delicate ingredients like paneer, it’s important not to overcook it so it still retains its shape when served. 


Most of the flavour in your biryani will come from the meat or vegetable base, so marinating these ingredients well in a mixture of creamy yoghurt, biryani masala, ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric and salt is the best way to impart a lot of flavour into your dish. Try to marinate overnight or at least for 3-4 hours before cooking. 

Cooking The Rice

The key to a perfect biryani is lovely separate rice grains that are coated in flavour. This is quite simple to achieve although it takes a little bit more time than your average rice dish. Start by soaking your rice grains for at least 30 minutes and then drain it. Then bring a pot of water to a rolling boil with whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Add your drained rice and parboil for no more than 5 minutes. Strain off the water and keep the rice ready for layering.

Layering The Biryani 

The key to a balanced bite of biryani is all in the layering. Start with a base of meat or paneer which should have it’s own rich oil and gravy, then add a layer of rice, one more of your meat and then another layer of rice. In between you can also sprinkle in extra fried onions, coriander and mint leaves for flavour. Top it all off with your saffron milk and kewra for perfect finish. 

Selecting The Additions

Different parts of the country have different ways of serving this popular dish but there are some common additions you can try. First is raita, a cooling mixture of yoghurt, onions, coriander or mint and sometimes cucumber. It offers a great contrast with the biryani rice. You could also add a boiled egg or some fried potatoes for more texture, and some places even opt for a light curry on the side for a more moist biryani.