Biryani. Its one of those dishes that needs no introduction. The moment I would hear “Nana made biryani”, it was game over, mic drop. The deal was done – I knew at some point that day I would make it to Nana’s house to get some. The familiar deep aroma of spices and curry would always carry a welcoming presence as I stepped into Nana B’s house. But that is not even half of how good it tastes. Nana’s version of Biryani is the ultimate party dish. It has spiced meatballs, curried chicken, crispy sautéed potatoes and saffron rice. Oh ya, and 2 hard boiled eggs for good measure. It is prepared in layers and once it is finished cooking, the pot is flipped upside down and out comes this beautiful steaming pile of rice studded with all these delicious treasures. Growing up, I would always like to try to find the hard boiled eggs hidden in the rice, as I imagine it was good luck.

My mom wrote this recipe down a few years ago. I am so grateful she did. There are so many varieties of biryani out there, but none quite the same as Nana B’s. However you want to call it – party on a platter, party in your mouth, try out this dish, it will not disappoint!

The beautiful color of bloomed saffron!


A mix of spiced meatballs, curried chicken, crispy sautéed potatoes and saffron rice. Try this dish for your next dinner party – your guest will thank you!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Middle Eastern


Spiced Meatballs

  • 1.5 lbs ground meat (we use 85/15)
  • 3/4 tbsp bahar (all spice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 whole chicken *
  • 4 cups chicken stock, reserved from cooked chicken
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, pealed and cut into 1" squares
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, shell removed
  • 2.5 cups basmati white rice
  • 4 cups yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp curry
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • olive oil used a few times in recipe, exact amounts listed in recipe
  • salt used a few times in recipe, exact amounts listed in recipe
  • bahar (all spice) used a few times in recipe, exact amounts listed in recipe


Spice Meatballs

  • In a bowl, mix the ground meat, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp bahar until combined.
  • Roll the meat mixture in your hand to form ~25 small meatballs.
  • To cook, lightly coat a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook until browned on all sides. Set aside once done.

Blooming Saffron

  • Place 1 tsp of saffron into 1 cup of warm water. Give a gentle mix. Allow to sit for 10 -15 minutes to fully bloom.
  • Remove saffron threads and reserve golden liquid to cook with the rice. **


  • Cover chicken with water (about 5-6 cups) and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a high simmer. Simmer until chicken is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Reserve the chicken broth, it will be used to cook the rice.
  • While the chicken cooks, heat about 3 tbsp olive oil in pan and cook potatoes until cooked through and lightly browned on the sides.
  • Now add about 1/3 cup of olive oil to the pan. Add chopped onion, 1/2 tsp salt and 4 tbsp of curry. Saute until fully cooked.
  • Place rice in a metal sieve and rinse a few times to remove extra starch. This prevents the rice from clumping together.
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to bottom of a large pot. Add rice on top of oil.
  • To rice add 3.5 cup of chicken broth, reserved from cooked chicken above, and the 1 cup of saffron water.
  • Add 1.5 tsp salt, 1 tbsp all spice and 1 tsp turmeric to rice.
  • Bring rice to boil, then reduce to a simmer until full cooked. ~15-20 minutes.

Assembly of Biryani

  • Remove skin and bone from chicken. Reserve skin. Discard bone. Pull apart chicken into large pieces.
  • In a large pot add 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • Add chicken skin to bottom of pot.
  • Then add chicken pieces.
  • Next layer is the onion mix.
  • Next layer on the cooked meatballs.
  • The next layer is the cooked potatoes. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp bahar and 1/2 tsp salt on top of potatoes.
  • Add 1/2 of the cooked rice.
  • Placed 2 hard boiled eggs on top of rice.
  • Place the remaining rice on top of eggs.
  • Sprinkle the rice with 1/4 teaspoon of bahar, 1/4 tsp of cardamom, and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Add 1/2 cup of reserved chicken stock on top of rice.
  • With the lid on, turn on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Place a large platter on the top of the pot and flip upside down. Tap the bottom of the pot a few times to make sure all has fallen onto the patter.
  • Remove pot and enjoy!***


*Separate the whole chicken (bone in, skin on) into 8 parts. You can ask your butcher to do this for you as well. 
**You can reserve the saffron thread for an additional future use.
*** Biryani is even better the next day. Reheat in pot with cover on on low heat.
Keyword all spice, cardamom, saffron, spices

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