Classic Biryani: A Flavorful Delight Straight from the Heart of Pakistani Cuisine

Biryani is a beloved dish that holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts, not only in Pakistan but around the world. It is a flavorful rice dish that is layered with aromatic spices, succulent meat, and fragrant basmati rice. In this article, we will explore the recipe for Classic Biryani, a timeless favorite that epitomizes the rich and diverse culinary heritage of Pakistan.


  • 500g basmati rice
  • 1kg meat (chicken, mutton, or beef), cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon biryani masala
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • A pinch of saffron strands (soaked in warm milk)
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)
  • Fresh mint leaves, chopped (for garnish)
  • Salt to taste

For the Marinade:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon biryani masala
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Wash the basmati rice under running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the meat pieces to the marinade and mix well to coat the meat evenly. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  3. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized. Remove half of the fried onions and set aside for garnishing.
  4. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the pot and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
  5. Add the marinated meat to the pot, along with the spices – red chili powder, turmeric powder, biryani masala, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt. Mix well to combine and cook for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice to the boiling water and cook until the rice is 70% cooked. Drain the rice and set aside.
  7. In a separate pot or large baking dish, start layering the biryani. Begin with a layer of rice, followed by a layer of the meat and gravy mixture. Repeat the layers until all the rice and meat are used, ensuring that the topmost layer is rice.
  8. Drizzle the saffron-infused milk over the top layer of rice. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil, and cook over low heat for about 30-40 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the rice to steam.
  9. Once cooked, garnish the biryani with the reserved fried onions, chopped fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves. Fluff the rice gently with a fork before serving.

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