Biryani  is hands down India’s favorite dish. It’s like India’s national food. lol. When we think of party or any treat, biryani tops the list. It’s because it is so full of flavor and aroma that no one can resist avoiding it.

And it’s also one of the most commonly asked questions to the bride to be. If she knows to make biryani, she is assumed as a chef. Lol. It’s like biryani is the master of Indian cuisine. Anyways, coming back to my personal experience.

My first biryani was a DISASTER. A pathetic disaster. And the worst part is that my husband had a friend over. And I literally tortured them with my biryani. I had no idea of the basics of biryani making and just followed the recipe. Since my husband didn’t give up on my biryani, he instilled some hope that I could master it (by testing it on him of course :P). So it took multiple failures to master it. 2 years later, Finally! But there were so many simple tips which I wish I had known sooner.So here I am to share my tips on making the perfect dum biryani.

First thing I would advice is, whatever recipe you are making, first make it for 2 persons only. Once you master the recipe for 1 cup of rice, you can easily double or triple the recipe, without compromising the taste.

Here I am using 1 cup of India Gate Super Basmati Rice.

For 2 persons,


1 cup Basmati Rice

300-400gm chicken/mutton meat pieces


Whole spices ( cinnamon, cloves, cardommom, bay leaf, nutmeg, star anise)

2 large onions sliced

1 large ripe tomato chopped

2 green chillies

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1/4 cup curd

Coriander leaves, Mint leaves

Meat Marinating Masalas

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Biryani Masala (Ready made packet)


2 tbsp garam Masala

1 tbsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp fennel powder (perunjeeragam)

Directions –

Two main steps in making dum biryani is

* Making the gravy in correct taste and thickness

* Making the half cooked rice

If you get both these steps right, your biryani is a hit!

1. Marinate the meat with curd and Masalas for at least half an hour or 1 hour. I’m using mutton here.

2. Wash and soak 1 cup Basmati rice for half an hour.

3. In a pressure cooker, heat 4-5 tbsp ghee and add whole spices (whatever you have)

4. Add in the sliced onions, green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Sauté on medium flame till onions turn light golden.

5. Add in the chopped tomatoes.

6. Keep sautéing them till the onions and tomatoes are well cooked and mushy.

7. Next add in the marinated meat and the coriander and mint leaves.Add 1tsp salt.

8. On medium flame, keep mixing the meat with all the Masalas for 3 minutes. If it is too thick, then add a little water (1/4 cup) just to cover the meat.

9. Close the cooker. For mutton, allow for 6 whistles. If chicken, allow 1 whistle.


10. Open the cooker and check if the meat is cooked. Also check for salt and Masala taste. In this step, the Masala and salt should be a little more so that it is incorporated to the rice. This is the most important step. If you feel that Masala is less, you can add 1 tbsp more of biryani Masala and allow to boil 2 minutes.

Keep on high flame and Sauté to evaporate excess water. When the gravy is thick, switch off the flame. This is because excess water may overcook the rice. The gravy is now ready. Keep aside.

11. In a large pot of boiling water, add some whole spices, mint leaves and 2 tsp salt. The water should taste a little salty. To the boiling water add the soaked and drained rice.

Keep on high flame for a minute and then simmer. Cook the rice for approximately 7 minutes, that is half cooked. If this is your first trial, 7 minutes is your safe game. Switch off the flame and add 1tsp oil so that the rice don’t stick together.

Check the rice. When pressed lightly between 2 fingers,  it should break. And it should not smudge too. This is the perfect stage of half cooked rice.

12. Now drain the rice in a colander placed over a vessel. Collect the drained hot water in the vessel below for the dum stage.

13. Now the gravy and rice are ready. Setup the dum stage. In this a flat bottomed vessel is placed over a thick flat pan so that direct flame doesn’t touch it.

14. Now layer 1/4 of the prepared gravy at the bottom of vessel.

15. Follow it up with a layer of half cooked rice.

16. Keep layering both till the rice layer is on top. Top it with some coriander and mint leaves.

17. Now keep a flat lid over the pot and place the collected hot rice drained water over it. This will ensure that there is heat from both directions of the pot. Keep the flame in simmer(dum) for 15 minutes.

18. Open the pan, carefully fold the rice from the edges and mix the rice and Masala. Do not stir else rice will break. Gently fold them. Again close the lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off the flame.

Your biryani is ready.

You can garnish with onions and cashews fried golden brown in ghee. Serve biryani hot with raita(curd) and chicken fry.


* Don’t soak the Basmati rice for more than half an hour.

* The onions should be finely sliced. This helps it to give good texture to the gravy.

* The onions and tomatoes should be mushy before you add the meat.

* If you are making Fish Biryani, it is recommended to fry the fish and add it to the gravy directly and mix them both and layer.

* I also like to make prawn biryani in which I cook the prawn in the Masala for 7-8 minutes.

* The water level for boiling rice should be double the rice amount.

* To ensure that your rice doesn’t overcook, squeeze half a lemon into the water when the rice is soaking.

* You can also add orange or yellow color to the rice in the layering step. This will make your biryani look appealing.

* If your rice looks undercooked after the dum stage, keep it on dum for extra 10 minutes.

* 7 minutes is the ideal time to half cook Basmati rice.

* I also like to use SHAN Biryani Masala to add extra flavor to biryani.