Let’s start at the top. What is biryani?
Biryani is an Indian rice based dish made with spices and a protein such as chicken or lamb.
There are at least seven different versions of biryani from Pakistan to New Delhi, but the most famous is from Hyderabad. I am originally from Hyderabad and I take my biryani very seriously.
It is a labor intensive dish to prepare, which is why I was so motivated to learn how to make crock pot biryani.
I first heard of making biryani in the crock pot from Anupy Singla, author of The Indian Slow Cooker. Lentils, chickpeas are all great, but biryani in the slow cooker? Now, that is revolutionary!
The following is an adapted version. The original was made with lamb, I used chicken. She recommends a shorter cooking time for rice, I cooked mine a bit longer. She didn’t add any spices to the rice, I threw in a couple.
Is this dump and dash? No. Is it authentic? YES!
Open your senses to the aroma of turmeric, cloves and ginger bringing a bit of the East to the West.
Cut up one whole chicken and add all the spices. Marinate overnight. You can marinate for a shorter time, but you really want all those flavors infused into the chicken.
Pour some oil on the bottom of the crock pot. Spread the sliced onions. After mixing the chicken with yogurt place in one layer on top of the onions. Squeeze them in! They will shrink in cooking.
Tricky, tricky oh soooo tricky!
This is what makes or breaks biryani..the rice! I cooked mine until it was almost 70% done. The original recipe recommends 50%, but I think that’s just not enough. Push one piece of rice between your fingers, it should have a tiny hard piece on the end left and than you know it’s ready!
Using a slotted spoon remove the rice and cover the top of the chicken completely. It will seal all the chicken and spices underneath. I used this 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Stovetop Slow Cooker.
Mix it a couple times while the rice is cooking with the chicken. Serving in rustic bowl is optional.