Matt's Recipe Book

Berry Biryani

Prep time90 minutes
Cooking time45 minutes

This is a biryani recipe derived from the Dishoom version that's widely shared. I usually make it with chicken thighs, but that can be subbed out for fried paneer or jackfruit for a veggie version. To make it with paneer, just lightly fry the cheese before adding to the marinade. For jackfruit, it's also worth coating with a little e.g. garam masala and frying first, then using in place of the chicken.


  • frameproof casserole dist with lid, or a biryani pot


For the crispy onions

  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 2 white onions

For the rice

  • 300g white basmati rice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lime

For the biryani

  • 5kg chicken thighs
  • 50g ginger
  • 20g garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp deggi mirch
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 green chillies
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 100g yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the topping

  • 30g butter
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 50g dried cranberries


  1. First, start the onions. Heat the vegetable oil over a medium hear, then slice each onion in half, then into fine slices. Add the onion to the hot oil and allow to cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  2. Rinse the rice by putting it in a large bowl and covering with water. Gently swirl the rice around to wash off the starch, then pour off the water. Repeat a couple of times, then cover with water and leave to one side to soak for 1 hour.
  3. Prepare the ingredients for the base, starting with a garlic and ginger paste. Peel the ginger; split into two portions. Cut one half into fine matchsticks and add to the biryani pot, and add the other half to a food processor or mortar and pestle. Peel the garlic and add that too, then blend/grind into a fine paste and add to the pot.
  4. Slice each chilli into strips and add to the pot, along with the spices, herbs, lime juice, oil, and yoghurt. Add two-thirds of the fried onions as well, keeping one third aside.
  5. Cut the thighs into three or four pieces each, and add to the pot. Mix everything thoroughly and set aside to marinate for a while.
  6. Add the saffron to 30ml of boiling water and leave to one side. Melt the butter and cream together, and set aside also.
  7. After the rice has soaked, part-cook it. Start bringing two litres of water to a boil in a pan; add the salt and lime juice.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 200℃. Place the biryani pot over a medium heat and start to warm the base ingredients through while the rice is cooking.
  9. Drain the rice and add to the water. Boil for 4-5 minutes until slightly cooked – it should be slightly firm. Drain the rice, leaving a little bit of water to cling to it.
  10. Add the rice to the biryani pot on top of the base ingredients, and shake to flatten. Trickle the warm butter and cream over the top, followed by the saffron. Scatter with the dried cranberries and the remaining fried onions.
  11. Cover the pan tightly with a layer of foil, then set over a high heat on the stove. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the foil puffs up and steam starts to escape.
  12. Put the lid on, then transfer the pot ot the oven for about 35 minutes. Remove and leave covered for 10 minutes before serving.