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Curious Case of Potato in Kolkata Biriyani

The curious case of potato in Kolkata Biriyani was introduced at the royal kitchen of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who took asylum in Kolkata when he was dethroned and captivated at Fort William. He settled down in Metiabruz at the outskirts of Calcutta then and tried to recreate Lucknow in bengal. Being a culinary connoisseur, he introduced the Awadhi Biriyani in Kolkata but added potatoes and eggs along with meat to balance the cost to feed his entourage. Being a nawab, he had to live up to his reputation of trying new thing, and thus Potatoes were introduced which back then was an imported vegetable, introduced by the Portuguese in 17th century. The quality of the tuber is to absorb flavours with which it mingles was the perfect choice to the biriyani which could absorb the flavours of the light aromatic spices and yakhni so well that it became an integral part of Kolkata Style Biriyani and the legacy of that taste continues even today!!

Today I recreated this super delicious wholesome meal of Chicken Biriyani and Cucumber Raita for the family and revisited a part of history and my childhood eating such yummy biriyani back in Kolkata. You can try at home to and here is the recipe made simple by Chef Ranveer Brar!! His recipe below for you to refer and enjoy this delicious plate of food.

Chicken Biryani - Kolkata Style


For Yellow Potato

2 medium Potatoes, cut in half

1 cup Saffron water / Yellow colour

For Marinating Chicken

500-750 gm Chicken, curry cut

4-5 tbsp Curd

1 tsp Ghee

1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste,

1 tsp Degi red chilli powder

¼ tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

¼ cup Fried onion

1 fresh Green chilli

Salt to taste

For Frying Potatoes and Egg

¼ cup Oil

3 Green cardamom

1 Maze,

Soaked Potatoes

3 Hard-Boiled eggs

For Biryani Masala

1 tbsp Shahi jeera

2 tbsp Black peppercorns

8-10 Green cardamom

1 Black cardamom

2 Maze

4-5 Cloves

2 inch Cinnamon stick

½ tsp Fennel seeds

¼ Nutmeg

For Cooking Chicken

Remaining oil

1 medium Onion, sliced

Marinated chicken

Fried Potatoes

For Boiled Rice


Salt to taste

1 inch Cinnamon stick

½ tsp Fennel seeds

2-3 Green cardamom

1 Black cardamom

1 Star anise

6-8 Black peppercorns

1 Bay leaf , तेजपत्ता

3 cups Basmati rice, soaked for 20 minutes

For Richness

2 tbsp Fresh Cream

1 tbsp Fried onion

1 tsp Prepared Biryani masala

2 tbsp Gravy (yakhni)

1 tsp Kewra water

Other Ingredients

Saffron water

Fried Onion

Prepared Biryani masala

¾ cup Gravy (yakhni)


For Yellow Potato

Add saffron water or yellow water in a bowl, add cut potatoes & keep it for a minute.

For Marinating Chicken

In a bowl, marinate the chicken with curd, ghee, ginger garlic paste, degi red chilli powder, turmeric powder & coriander powder.

Add fried onion, green chilli, salt to taste & mix well until the chicken is well-coated with the marinade. Rest for 10 minutes or 1 hour.

For Frying Potato & Egg

In a non-stick pan, heat oil, add green cardamom, maze, soaked potatoes & hard-boiled egg, fry on low flame for 2-3 minutes.

Take out the egg in a different bowl & keep aside for further use.

Fry the potatoes until crisp and golden in color.

For Biryani Masala

In a pan, add shahi jeera, black peppercorns, green cardamom, black cardamom, mace, cloves, cinnamon stick, fennel stick, nutmeg & dry roast until fragrant.

Remove and let it cool down & grind it into a fine powder.

For Cooking Chicken

In a large pot, add remaining oil, add onion & saute on medium flame until light golden in color. Add marinated chicken & saute for 4-5 mins. Add fried potatoes & saute again.

Add water & stir well. Cover-cook on medium flame until the chicken is 80% cooked.

Remove the chicken & potatoes from the yakhni & keep aside.

Strain the yakhni in a bowl & keep it aside for further use.

For Boiled Rice

Boil water in a sauce pot,add salt to taste.

Take a muslin cloth, add cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, green cardamom, black cardamom, star anise and black peppercorns, tie a knot & make a potli of it.

Add the spice potli into the hot boiling water. Add soaked basmati rice & let cook on medium heat until 70% cooked.Once done, strain the rice and keep aside for further use.

For Richness

In a bowl, add fresh cream, fried onion, biryani masala, prepared yakhni and mix well.

Add kewra water & mix again.

For Layering

Keep a heavy bottom pan.

In a large pot, add the cooked chicken, potatoes, prepared yakni & fried onion.

Add the boiled rice and layer it evenly. Pour the saffron water.

Layer it with fried onion, sprinkle some biryani masala.

Cover it with a lid and dum-cook for 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot.

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