Quick Karhayi Biryani

Although for a desi, Biryani is like, only the most royal things ever, yet sometimes we are just short on time to make the whole Ordeal of doing the conventional Biryani. Enters Karhayi Biryani. As the name itself suggests, this biryani uses spices and ingredients similar to that of a Chicken Karhayi and is also a quick fix for your Biryani cravings.


Firstly, the rice is prepped pretty much similar to any recipe, soaked in water and boiled in whole masalas with vinegar and kewra water. One medium chicken is enough to serve 6 adults.

This recipe calls to add brown onions to your gravy and I usually keep a packet of frozen fried onions in the freezer for such days. While this recipe calls for onions, I’ve even made this recipe without it and it still turns out fine so you can skip it if you don’t have the time to fry them. Just blend your tomatoes and chillies and ginger garlic in a blender and you have your masala base ready.

Literally all you have to do is dump all your ingredients in the pot and just let it cook. I tend to add yoghurt later since it has a tendency to burn the masala if added at an early stage. But you can keep an insulator or a pan right below your pot and add yoghurt from the start.


Biryani is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for your palate. Your Biryani needs to look like the royalty it is. Don’t ever be stingy when it comes to the Garnish of the Dish. This one needs all the fresh ingredients above, to bring out the freshness of your Biryani.
The quantity for this recipe will give you roughly 3 layers of rice and 2 layers of chicken. Make sure to add some garnish before every addition of the Qorma to the pot.

And the top is where you add your color, Please don’t add red food color to this biryani, this one requires a more orangish food color. Every Biryani has its own hue which makes it what it is,

TIP: Make sure your pot is big enough that even after all the layers, the top still has a little space left. A fully loaded Cauldron will cause your rice to be sticky and wont give it enough room to expand while it cooks. 

Always seal the pot very well. For a proper steam and cook, the better your seal, the better the flavours. If you feel your pot lid is loose, try covering up the pot with foil first and then the lid. Alternatively you can weight on top of your lid to create that internal pressure in the pot.
more on Biryani 101 in future posts.



Quick Karhayi Biryani

Quick Karhayi Biryani

Yield: 6 persons
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This version of Biryani tastes absolutely delicious with a bonus point: it is much easier and quicker to make than regular biryani!


For Rice

  • 4 and ½ cup rice or ¾ kg Basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp kewra water
  • Saabit garam masala (aka 5 cloves, 1 piece of Cinammon stick, 10 Round blackpeppers, 4 green cardomom, 2 black cardomom)
  • 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

For Chicken Masala

  • 1 medium chicken cut up in pieces
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 medium onion cut in cut and sliced
  • 6 tomatoes
  • ½ kg yoghurt
  • Handful of greenchillies (medium heat)
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Garam masala powder (all spice powder)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp zeera/cumin powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder

For Layering Garnish

  • Mint leaves
  • Cut up green chillies
  • Brown onions (left over from the chicken masala)
  • Half a tomato cut up in slices
  • Garam masala powder
  • Orange food color mixed in 3 tbsp of milk



  1. First of all, put oil in cauldron or pot at a medium flame and add onions and fry until brown. Remove half of the onions and turn off heat. (you can skip this step for an even quicker biryani)
  2. Secondly, a blender add tomatoes, green chillies with a little bit of water and blend well.
  3. Add tomato puree to the oil pot along with all the masalas and chicken and cover the lid. Let it cook at medium flame for about 20 to 25 minutes or when the oil separates from the curry.
  4. Beat yoghurt well and add to the curry and leave at medium flame for another 10 minutes or until the gravy thickens. You can remove the lid at this point and keep stirring until you reach the desired consistency of the gravy or you can let it cook on it own.


  1. While your chicken gravy cooks, soak rice for around 20 minutes before cooking (or as long as your brand or rice demands)
  2. In a large pot, boil water with all the ingredients for the rice.
  3. Add rice as water starts to boil and allow to boil for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Check to see if you can break a rice grain with your hand, that’s the point where you remove your rice from the flame and strain it. Set it aside


  • Add a layer of rice at the bottom of the large pot.
  • Sprinkle garam masala powder on the rice along with a little bit of fried onions, sliced tomatoes, green chilies and mint leaves.
  • Layer with chicken qorma and repeat the process. Your top layer should be that of rice.
  • Add all the garnishes on the top along with the food color this time.
  • Cover the lid well and put on the stove to steam with a frying pan or a base beneath the pot.
  • Keep the flame on medium to high for 5 minutes and reduce it to low medium for another 10. Finally, turn off the heat and let the Biryani rest for 5 to 10 minutes to seal the flavors before opening the lid.


Serve with salad and raita. And dig into that master piece you’ve just created!

Did you try out the other popular rice recipe on the blog? Chicken Malai Boti Pulao will bring some diversity to your next food spread!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @butteroverbae on Instagram and hashtag it #butteroverbae

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Jordan Hibbs
Jordan Hibbs
3 years ago

Looks yummy!

Jena Leigh
3 years ago

This looks and tastes delicious. I am not familar with kewra water?

Leigh Suznovich
3 years ago

This looks so incredibly flavorful! I love anything biryani and this version is on my must cook list now.

3 years ago

Pictures are amazing. I am sure taste will be good as well

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