On world Biriyani day, my ode to the most ordered food from restaurants. “The Biriyani”. Look up any delivery service statistics and you will be amused. Growing up in Andhra kingdom of the Nawabs and drool-worthy Paradise Biriyani from Hyderabad, I am an all-time fan of all types of Biriyani. Kala Chana Handi Biriyani was the first biriyani I ever made, from a small newspaper cutting in a Telugu newspaper. The paper cutting I had saved broke a few years ago, but the biriyani stayed on. So here is the detailed recipe to make the Handi Biriyani in oven and stove.

Handi biriyani on the stove and in the oven.
Handi biriyani on the stove and in the oven.


Biriyani is not fried rice, it is its cousin from royalty. It has the richness of the ground cashews, aroma of the spices and the meat or veg which highlights it all. The Nawabs knew it, they enjoyed it, perfected it, and brought in the richness into every morsel of it. Every bite will have the spices swirling your mouth while the chunky chewy pieces tone down the spice and the flavored basmati rice gets us ready for the next morsel of ecstasy.

Nizams gave us a version of biriyani which took its own avatar in every state of our country based on the availability of the vegetable or meat available. I am sure the Nizams are rolling their eyes seeing a potato placed next to a biriyani, or being used instead of meat. In India Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow led the pack, with great chefs in their kitchens creating signature dishes. Now there are hundreds of types of Biriyani’s each having its crown.

Biriyani is of two types. “Kachii Biriyani” – The meat/veg is not cooked but layered with rice and cooked together. Pakki Biriyani where the vegetable/ meat is cooked and layered with rice like the Lucknow style. This Handi biriyani today is a variant of the Lucknow veg biriyani. I make the Hyderabadi biriyani in the same Handi too. I Will post that soon.

Know more about the versatile desi chana, 10 best recipes to use the black chickpeas in and more here.


The Basmathi rice I used :

Kohinoor Super Silver Authentic Basmati Rice, 5 Kg Pack

The Handi I used :

Vaghbhatt Round Small Clay Dahi Handi (Brown)

Tips to get a perfect Handi Biriyani in oven and stove.

  1. I have used the clay pot to make the handi biriyani, but this can be replicated in a Kadai/ handi.
  2. I baked the clay pot in an oven. Instead, the handi can be placed on a heating tawa for it to cook to perfection for 20 minutes for the same result.
  3. Do not keep the clay pot on the stove with the Biriyani. You need to use the oven.

Step by step recipe to make Handi Biriyani in an oven or on stove.

Handi Biriyani

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 21 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


For the rice

  • 1 cup Basmathi rice
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Piece cloves
  • 1 Piece Bay leaf
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 1 Piece javitri
  • 3 Piece Cardamom I use the cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 Tbsp Oil

For the Gravy

  • 1 cup Kala Chana Soaked, pressure cooked with salt Also know as Kabuli Chana are also known as Bengal gram, garbanzo, garbanzo bean
  • 1 cup Potato Peeled, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup Chopped onions
  • 1 cup Chopped tomotoes
  • 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup curd
  • 1 Piece Green chilli
  • 3 Tbsp Cashew to grind
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seeds also known as gasa gasa

For the final assembly

  • 1/2 cup Onions thinly sliced, fried crisp
  • 1/2 cup Mint, coriander leaves washed.
  • 1 cup Dough made with wheat/ maida flour
  • 2 inch GInger finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron strands


For the rice

  • Wash the rice and soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain the water.
  • Heat the oil and ghee in a heavy bottomed a pan, add all the spices, saute.
  • Add the water milk and salt. Let it come to boil.
  • Add the rice, cook in low heat with the lid closed for 8 minutes, or till the water evaporates and the rice is 90% cooked.
  • Seperate the grain and set aside.

For the Gravy

  • Grind the poppy seeds and cashew with few spoons of water into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and ghee, followed by all the spices and ginger garlic pastes. Saute for a minutes
  • Add the onions, and saute till translucent. Add the tomatoes.
  • Add the salt, chilli powder, garam masala.
  • Add the poppy seed cashew paste. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the potato, chana and green chillies.
  • Add the curd and mix well. Cook in low heat for 2 minutes. Gravy is ready
  • Make sure you dont add exces wtaer to the gravy.

For the layering

  • Heat the milk with saffron and set aside to cool.
  • In a clean pan/ handi add a spoon of oil, add few slices of the ginger.
  • Add the fried onions.
  • Layer 1/2 inch thick of the pan with the gravy/masala.
  • Top it with a layer of the cooked basmathi rice.
  • Speard a thin layer of the masala/gravy on top followed by a thin layer of rice.
  • Sprinkle the coriander, mint leaves.
  • Top all of them with the saffron milk.
  • Cover with a lid. Using the chapathi atta make a long cylindrecal shape to place around the lid of the vessel.
  • Place the handi in a preheated oven at 275 C for 20 minutes or Place a tawa on low heat and place the handi (Not MUD/ Clay) on it for dum for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from flame, open the lid and serve with raitha.
Keyword Handi Biriyani, Lucknow Biriyani, Pakka biriyani, Veg biriyani

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