Parda Chicken Biryani


Parda Chicken Biryani
Elevate your culinary skills and indulge in this aromatic Parda Biryani packed with traditional spices and tender chicken.

Parda Biryani is a traditional dish using slow-cooked meat, fragrant spices, and basmati rice. It is sealed with dough (or “parda” in Hindi/Urdu) to lock in the flavours during the cooking process. This method originated in the royal kitchens of Awadh and has since become a popular and cherished dish across the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

Parda Chicken Biryani Recipe

Serves: 6


¼ cup plain yoghurt

¼ cup crispy fried shallots

1 tbsp grated ginger

4 cloves garlic, crushed

¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground chilli

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp coriander powder

400g chicken thighs, cut into 2cm pieces

¼ cup vegetable oil, plus extra to grease

1 brown onion, thinly sliced

400g basmati rice, soaked in water for 2 hours, drained

4 fresh bay leaves

6 cloves

8 cardamom pods, bruised

12 saffron threads

⅓ cup lemon juice

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

⅓ cup toasted cashews

4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Parda Dough

2 cups plain flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate soda

2 tbsp vegetable oil


Mix the yoghurt, shallots, ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Refrigerate and marinated for 1 hour.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken and onion and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning or until golden.

Place the drained rice in a saucepan with 1.5-litre water, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom pods; place over high heat and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 4 minutes, or until the rice is partially cooked (to check this, take a rice grain and pinch it between your fingers, if it breaks it is ready). Drain.

Mix the saffron and lemon juice together. Set aside to hydrate for 15 minutes.

For the parda dough, combine flour, bicarbonate soda and ¼ tsp salt together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and ¾ cup water. Gradually add water mixture into flour and mix until a smooth dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Preheat oven to 240°C (220°C fan forced). Lightly grease a 3-litre capacity dish with oil. In layers, scatter with rice, chicken, tomato, cashews and egg.

Drizzle each layer with a little of the saffron lemon mixture. Continue layering with the remaining ingredients.

Lightly flour a work surface, roll the dough out to 6mm thick. Lay over the top of the dish. Trim the edges and press edges to seal. Brush with oil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is golden.

Remove from oven and set aside for 15 minutes. To serve, tear off the bread, and fluff Biryani with a fork.

Smart Tip:

Parda Biryani is a type of biryani where parboiled rice is layered with cooked meat and aromatics. It is layered in a vessel, covered with a dough and baked in the oven to steam.

The dough is traditionally used to make sure the steam is trapped tight while cooking.

You can use 2 sheets of baking paper and 3 sheets of foil to cover the dish tightly if you don’t want to make the dough.


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