Sylhet's Award-Winning Chicken Akhni Biryani with Beresta recipe

Sylhet's Award-Winning Chicken Akhni Biryani with Beresta

by Shahir Nazib Rakib (@shahirnazib001)
Prep Time
Cook Time
1hr 30min
Total Time
3hr 30min

This recipe captures the heart of Sylheti cuisine, with aromatic chicken, fluffy chinigura rice, and a touch of magic from the crispy beresta. It's guaranteed to impress at any gathering and might just win you an award or two!


6 Servings
(1 serving = 1 plate)

For the Chicken

  • 1kg
    bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks recommended)
  • 2tbsp
    vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp
  • 1piece
    large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2tbsp
    ginger-garlic paste
  • 3piece
    bay leaves
  • 4piece
    cardamom pods
  • 5piece
  • 6piece
    black peppercorns
  • 1in
    cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1piece
    small mace blade
  • 1/8tsp
    fenugreek seeds
  • 1piece
    star anise
  • 1/4tsp
    fennel seed powder
  • 1/2tsp
    cumin powder
  • 1/8tsp
    ground nutmeg
  • 2tbsp
    plain yogurt
  • 4piece
    green chilies (adjust to spice preference)
  • 1dash

For the Rice

  • 4cups
    chinigura rice, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 4cups
    water (or chicken broth)
  • 2tbsp
    vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp
  • 1piece
    bay leaf
  • 2piece
  • 1piece
    black cardamom pod
  • 1dash

For the Beresta

  • 1piece
    large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1dash
    vegetable oil for frying

How to make Sylhet's Award-Winning Chicken Akhni Biryani with Beresta

Marinate the Chicken

  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken pieces, oil, ghee, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, and all the dry spices (bay leaves to nutmeg). Mix well and marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Cook the Chicken

  1. Heat oil and ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add sliced onions and fry until golden brown.

  2. Add the marinated chicken with all the yogurt mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken starts to brown.

Simmer and Flavor

  1. Add water (or chicken broth) to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Prepare the Beresta

  1. While the chicken simmers, heat oil in a separate pan. Fry the sliced onions for beresta on medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Cook the Rice

  1. In a separate pot, heat oil and ghee. Add the bay leaf, cloves, black cardamom pod, and soaked chinigura rice. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt.

  2. Pour in the reserved chicken broth (straining out the aromatics) or water, enough to cover the rice by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is almost cooked through.

Assemble the Biryani

  1. In a large serving dish, spread half of the cooked rice. Top it with the cooked chicken pieces and remaining gravy. Layer the remaining rice on top. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Dum Cooking (Optional)

  1. For an extra layer of flavor, place the covered dish over low heat on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the rice to steam further.


  1. Fluff the biryani with a fork and gently mix everything together. Garnish with fried beresta. Serve hot and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

  1. Use high-quality chinigura rice for the best fluffy texture.

  2. Adjust the amount of green chilies according to your spice preference.

  3. For a richer flavor, use homemade chicken broth instead of water.

  4. The dum cooking step is optional but highly recommended for an even deeper flavor experience.


Recipe by

Shahir Nazib Rakib


I am a passionate food researcher, developing recipes for clients and creating signature recipes.

© 2023 Chefadora Pty Ltd, All Rights Reserved