Kitchen by TILAH

Mughlai Biryani (Biryani Mughlai)

So, it is a left inner ear imbalance that has aggravated symptoms whenever I am unwell.  That explains the dizziness that I kept having whenever I am ill all these years.  Over the recent flu and asthma attack, I felt like a pregnant woman all over again.  Dizziness and nausea. To the point of fainting.  Initially, I was told that there could be ear imbalance.  Well whatever it is, both my ears are at the same level when I looked in the mirror.  Nothing imbalanced externally.  It was only after the visit to the ear nose and throat specialist that I understood the problem that I have.  I was let off with a few head exercises that I need to do regularly in the hopes of relieving my symptoms in time to come.  Otherwise, I'll just have to keep taking the medicines when the symptoms are on a full blast attack.  The bad news is that a bad ear is forever a bad ear.  There is no cure to it.

As a result of the past few days of dizziness and breathlessness, I did not really have much quality time with both my lover boys!  Our family was not even able to properly celebrate the recent first birthday of my second one, Suhaym.  Too much head movements made me felt even more dizzy and nauseated.  I was in bed most of the time and only got up to cook.  Then, I was back in bed.    My recent posts were also typed over my lappy on bed.

However, I managed to make up for it all  yesterday.  The dizziness were much lesser and I can breathe better.  So I decided to have  a little belated birthday celebration for Suhaym's first birthday. I decided to cook a meal fit for a Moghul King!  Mughlai Biryani served with sliced cucumber and diced tomatoes topped with Coriander Chutney and Appalam (Indian crackers) as a side.  Both my mother-in-law and my husband loved it.  Sayf loved it.  My kitchen-ing assistant loved it.  I fed Suhaym some of the rice which I had to mash first of course and enjoyed it Suhaym did.

This was the first time I made this dish.  The source of the recipe was from Petrina Verma Sarkar.  I have however edited the recipe and the cooking methods to suit my own preference.  You can find the original recipe HERE.  The recipe requires the use of the "garam masala" spice which I don't have in stock and I can't find it at the local supermarkets that I frequent either so I made my own.  That, I will share with you in another post.  It also requires that the rice and chicken be layered in a baking dish and baked at 180 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes at the end of the whole cooking process.  I skipped this step.  I also used Ponni rice which is the usual rice that I eat instead of Basmati rice.  Whatever it is this dish is heavenly enough for me.  This is definitely a must try recipe.  The taste of the gravy is different from the usual biryani.  Definitely delicious and finger licking good!

Mughlai Chicken


*note that spoonful here refers to 10ml volume and tablespoonful refers to 20ml volume
*note also that this dish serves about 10 to 12 people

12-20 pieces of chicken parts - cleaned (and skin removed if you want)
2 large onions - finely sliced
3 green chillies - slit in halves and cut into twos
1 stick of cinnamon - about 3 to 4 cm long
5 cardamom pods
5 cloves
2 star anises
1 teaspoonful of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of white ground pepper
1 spoonful of biryani powder
1 spoonful of red chilli powder (you can add more if you like it spicy)
1 tablespoon of garam masala powder
6 tablespoonsful of full cream yogurt
1 piece of Knorr chicken cube dissolved in half a small bowl of water - the bowl is about the size of a Chinese rice bowl
12 pieces of mint leaves - chopped
3-4 stems of coriander leaves with stems - chopped
1 spoonful of sugar
2 teaspoons of Ajinamoto (optional)
salt to taste
2 tablespoonsful of ghee

(**Items to be blended in a food processor with a little bit of water to form a paste)
2 large onions**
6 garlics**
3 cm ginger**

(**Items to be blended in a food processor with a little bit of water to form a paste)
10 pieces of cashew nuts
10 pieces of almonds      


1.  Put all the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl.

2.  Add in yogurt.

3.  Add in the almond and cashew paste.

4.  Add in the garam masala powder.

5.  Add in the chopped coriander and mint leaves.  With your hands, fold and mix the ingredients thoroughly until they are properly combined.

6.  Add in salt to taste and Ajinamoto.  Mix thoroughly.  Set aside.

7.  In a pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of ghee with a little bit of cooking oil.  Once heated, add in the cinnamons, cloves, cardamoms and star anises.  Saute for a few seconds.

8.  Add in the sliced large onions.  Saute until the onions are withered.

9.  Add in the blended ingredients.  Saute for a minute or two.

10.  Add in the coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, ground white pepper and biryani powder.  Saute for about a minute.  Add in the sugar and give a stir.

11.  Add in the tomato puree.  Saute until oil separates.

12.  Once you see oil at the gaps of the sautéing mix, oil has separated.

13.  Add in the half bowl of chicken stock. 

14.  Give a good stir.

15.  Add in the marinated chicken and the green chillies.

16.  Stir to combine.

17.  Cover your pot and put something heavy on it.  I put a pestle on it to prevent steam from escaping.

18.  Bring fire to medium and let your chicken cook through for about 20 to 30 minutes.

19.  Once your chicken has cooked through.  Remove lid and give a stir.  (There will be plenty of oil but that is the result of a good cooking process thus the oil is separated from the gravy.  You can scoop up and get rid of the excess oil but keep about half to one cup for later use on the rice.)  Do a taste check to see if you need more salt.

20.  Sprinkle fried shallots on the surface of the gravy.  Then sprinkle with a pinch of the garam masala powder and replace lid until ready to be served.

Mughlai Biryani Rice

*Note that if you find that it is a hassle to cook the rice in the method that I showed you here, you can always use the usual method, which is actually my preferred method that is - by sautéing the spices and pouring them straight into the rice cooker which has been filled up with rice and water as required.


2 and a 1/2 average drinking mug of any kinds of rice - washed and set aside (best if you use Basmati rice, washed and soaked for about 20 to 30 minutes, drained and then set aside)
2 tablespoonsful of ghee
4 shallots - finely sliced
2 garlics - finely sliced
1 cm ginger - finely sliced
3 cm cinnamon stick
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 teaspoon of biryani powder
1 piece of chicken cube (I used Knorr brand)
2 pieces of pandan leaves (also known as screw pine leaves) - washed and tied into a knot
1 tablespoon of full cream yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon of Ajinamoto (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 to 1 cup of oil from the Mughlai Chicken gravy (optional)
2 drops of green colouring mixed with a little bit of water in a bowl
2 drops of yellow or orange colouring mixed with a little bit of water in a bowl
10 pieces of mint leaves - chopped or torn into smaller pieces
3 stems of coriander leaves - chopped into smaller pieces
a handful of fried shallots


1.  Heat up 2 tablespoons of ghee in the rice cooker.  Once heated add in the cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms and star anise. Saute for a few seconds.

2.  Add in the sliced onions, garlics, ginger and pandan leaves.  Saute for a minute.

3.  Add in the biryani powder and sauté for a minute.

4.  Add in the chicken cube and press on it a few times and sauté until complete dissolved.

5.  Add in rice and stir thoroughly to combine the rice and the sautéing spices.  Off fire.

6.  Add in water as you would normally require to cook your rice.  (If you are using Basmati rice, the proportion would be 1 mug of rice to 1 and a 1/2 mug of water.  In this case, 2 and a 1/2 mugs of Basmati rice would require 4 mugs of water.)  Add in sugar, Ajinamoto if you prefer and salt to taste.  Add in the tablespoon of yogurt.  Give a good stir to combine.

7.  Place the lid of the rice cooker and turn on the power to cook your rice as usual. 

8.  When your rice are about 3/4 cooked, lift up the cooker lid, make small holes on the surface of the rice with a chopstick.  Using a teaspoon, drip a few drops of green colouring into the holes on the rice on one side of the cooker and a few drops of yellow colouring into the holes on the rice on the other side of the cooker just like in the picture above. 

9.    Sprinkle all over the top of the rice with the mint and coriander leaves followed by fried shallots and replace the lid.  Let rice cook completely. Before serving, pour the oil from the mughlai chicken gravy all over the surface of the rice (this is so that your rice will look shiny and remain soft and supple) and then fold the rice from the bottom to the top.

10.  Serve the rice on a plate and top it with the Mughlai Chicken and the gravy.

Feast like a king and be in heaven.  Happy Kitchen-ing!! 


Tilah Maricar said…
Dear Michelle,

Thank you for the positive comments and the invite. I feel very honoured. I will join your site as a member and look forward to being a part of your network.

Thanks once again!

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