Dishoom's Chicken Berry Britannia Biryani Recipe

This chicken biryani is our homage to Britannia’s chicken berry pulao, using cranberries in place of the more authentic Persian barberries, which are tricky to find. (Despite much cajoling, Mr Kohinoor has never shared his wife’s famous recipe.) It is prepared in the kacchi style, originating from Hyderabad, in which marinated raw meat goes into the pot, to be cooked at the same time as the rice.

SERVES 4 – 6


For the rice

300g basmati rice

2 tsp fine sea salt

Juice of ½ lime

For the base

500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, each cut into 3 pieces

20g ginger paste

25g garlic paste

1 ½ tsp deggi mirch chilli powder

2 tsp fine sea salt

2 tsp ground cumin

1 ½ tsp garam masala

2 tbsp lime juice

100g full-fat Greek yoghurt

30ml vegetable oil

3 green chillies, each cut into 4 long strips

3cm fresh root ginger, cut into fine matchsticks

1 quantity crispy fried onions

6 large mint leaves, chopped

5g coriander leaves, chopped

For the topping

20g unsalted butter

3 tbsp double cream

1 quantity saffron water

35g dried cranberries


  1. Firstly, soak the rice. To do this, pull the rice into a large bowl and cover generously with water. Using your fingers, gently move the rice around in the water to remove the starch, being careful not to break up the grains. Allow the rice to settle, then pour off the water. Repeat twice with fresh water, then cover again with fresh water and leave to soak for 45 minutes.
  2. For the base, place the chicken in a bowl. Mix all the remaining ingredients together, add to the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate until you are ready to assemble the dish.
  3. Heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Drain the rice when the soaking time is up. Pour 2 litres boiling water into a large pan and add the salt and lime juice.
  4. Transfer the chicken and marinade to your biryani cooking pot and place over a low heat to warm through while you cook the rice.
  5. Tip the drained rice into the boiling water and stir well. Boil for 4-5 minutes until the rice is three-quarters cooked. You can tell when the rice has reached this stage by taking a grain between your forefingers and thumb, and pressing down on it with your nail; it should still be slightly firm and break into 5 or 6 pieces. Drain the rice; you don’t need to shake it dry as a little extra moisture helps during cooking. Place it in the biryani pot, on top of the chicken.
  6. In a small pan, or in the microwave, warm the butter and cream until the butter melts. Mix together, then trickle over the rice, followed by the saffron water. Scatter the cranberries over the top.
  7. Cover tightly with two layers of foil. Place over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the foil puffs up and you see a little steam start to escape. Put the lid on, transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let the biryani stand, still covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

For other Dishoom recipes, please see Dishoom: from Bombay with love, our cookery book and highly subjective guide to Bombay.

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