Gongura Chicken Biryani: A Culinary Delight

When I think of a dish that combines the tangy flavors of gongura (sorrel leaves) with the richness of chicken, “gongura chicken biryani” instantly comes ...

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Calvin Lamb

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gongura chicken biryani

When I think of a dish that combines the tangy flavors of gongura (sorrel leaves) with the richness of chicken, “gongura chicken biryani” instantly comes to mind. This dish is a delightful fusion of the traditional chicken biryani with the unique taste of gongura sauce. If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat.

What is Gongura?

For those unfamiliar, gongura is a type of sorrel leaf, popular in southern parts of India. It’s known for its tangy flavor and is often used in various dishes like gongura mutton biryani, gongura egg biryani, and even gongura veg biryani. But among these, the gongura chicken biryani stands out as a favorite.

When to Serve Gongura Chicken Biryani?

This dish is perfect for special occasions. Whether it’s a festive gathering, a family dinner, or a potluck with friends, gongura chicken biryani is sure to be a hit. It’s a Hyderabadi-style biryani, known for its layers of rice, meat, and spices, all cooked to perfection.

Recommended Cooking Equipment

While many prefer the traditional handi or dum cooking method for biryanis, I’ve found that using a gas grill or a slow cooker can yield equally delicious results. The chicken gongura recipe can be adapted for a chicken biryani in a slow cooker or even a chicken dum biryani in an oven. The key is to ensure that the flavors meld together, and the rice is fluffy and separate.

For those who are fans of the fried piece chicken biryani, using a gas grill can give that crispy exterior to the chicken pieces, enhancing the overall texture of the biryani.

The Recipe

Before we dive into the recipe, remember that the quality of ingredients, especially the gongura paste and basmati rice, plays a crucial role in the final taste.

Yield: 4

Gongura Chicken Biryani

gongura chicken biryani

Gongura Chicken Biryani is a tantalizing dance of flavors that has left an indelible mark on my palate. The tangy gongura, paired with succulent chicken and aromatic rice, creates a symphony of tastes that is both exotic and comforting. Every bite transports me to the vibrant streets of Hyderabad, where tradition meets innovation in culinary artistry. This dish is not just a meal; it's a journey through the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • Chicken: 500g
  • Basmati Rice: 2 cups
  • Gongura paste: 3 tbsp
  • Spices: Shah jeera, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf
  • Biryani masala: 2 tsp
  • Ghee: 3 tbsp
  • Fried onions: 1 cup
  • Sorrel leaves (gongura): A handful
  • Marinade: Greek yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, cooking oil
  • Saffron milk: A few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk
  • Garnish: Coriander, mint, green chilli
  • Additional: Clarified butter, dough (for sealing)


Preparation of Rice:

  • Wash the basmati rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak it in water for about 30 minutes.
  • In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add Shah jeera, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf. Add the soaked rice and cook until it's 70% done. Drain the water and set the rice aside.

Marination of Chicken:

  • In a bowl, mix Greek yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, and a tablespoon of cooking oil. Add the chicken pieces to this marinade, ensuring they are well-coated. Let it sit for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Cooking the Chicken:

  • In a large handi or pot, heat ghee. Add the marinated chicken and fry until it's half-cooked.
  • Add the gongura paste and mix well. Cook until the chicken is tender and the gongura paste is well-integrated.

Layering the Biryani:

  • On the cooked chicken, layer the 70% cooked rice.
  • Sprinkle biryani masala, fried onions, coriander, mint, and green chillies.
  • Pour the saffron milk over the top for added aroma and color.
  • Dot the top with clarified butter or ghee.

Dum Cooking:

  • Seal the handi with dough to ensure no steam escapes. This is crucial for the dum cooking process.
  • Place the handi on a low flame. For added safety, you can place a tava (griddle) under the handi to prevent direct contact with the flame. Let it cook for about 25-30 minutes.


  • Once done, let the biryani sit for about 10 minutes before breaking the seal.
  • Serve hot, ensuring you get both the chicken and rice layers in each serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 450Total Fat: 15gNet Carbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 25g

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Serving Suggestions and Suitable Side Dishes

The tangy flavor of gongura chicken biryani is complemented by the coolness of onion raita. A side of mirchi ka Salan, a spicy gravy dish, can elevate the biryani experience. If you’re looking for something crunchy, papad or a simple cucumber salad can be a great addition.

Cooking Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Sealing for Dum: Ensure the vessel is sealed properly. The trapped steam cooks the biryani, and any escape can lead to uneven cooking.
  2. Gongura Balance: While gongura adds a unique tangy flavor, too much can make the biryani sour. Balance is key.
  3. Rice Texture: Overcooking the rice during the initial boiling can lead to a mushy biryani. Aim for 70% cooked rice for the perfect texture.
  4. Spice Levels: Gongura itself is tangy. Ensure you balance the spice levels to complement the tanginess and not overpower it.


Gongura chicken biryani is a celebration of flavors. The tanginess of gongura, the richness of chicken, and the aromatic basmati rice come together to create a dish that’s more than just a meal; it’s an experience. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or just want to treat yourself, this biryani promises a culinary journey that’s unforgettable. So, gather your ingredients, put on your chef’s hat, and dive into the world of gongura chicken biryani. Enjoy every bite!


What is Gongura biryani?

Gongura biryani is a unique variant of biryani that incorporates gongura leaves, also known as sorrel leaves, to give it a tangy flavor, making it distinct from other biryani types.

Where is Gongura chicken from?

Gongura chicken is a popular dish from the southern part of India, especially Andhra Pradesh, where gongura leaves are widely used in various culinary preparations.

What is Gongura called in Malayalam?

In Malayalam, Gongura is referred to as “Pulicha Keera”, which translates to sour leaf, highlighting its tangy flavor.

Is Vijayawada biryani spicy?

Vijayawada biryani is known for its rich flavors and can be quite spicy, reflecting the culinary traditions of the Andhra region. However, the spice level can vary based on preparation.

How is Gongura biryani different from regular biryani?

Gongura biryani is distinct due to the addition of gongura leaves, which impart a tangy flavor, setting it apart from the traditional biryani’s aromatic spices.

Can Gongura leaves be used in other dishes?

Absolutely! Gongura leaves are versatile and can be used in pickles, curries, dals, and even as a tangy chutney, popularly known as Gongura pachadi.

What health benefits do Gongura leaves offer?

Gongura leaves are rich in iron, calcium, folic acid, and antioxidants, making them beneficial for digestion, bone health, and overall immunity.

Is there a vegetarian version of Gongura biryani?

Yes, Gongura biryani can be made vegetarian by substituting chicken or meat with vegetables, paneer, or tofu while retaining the tangy gongura flavor.

How spicy is Gongura chicken compared to other Andhra dishes?

Gongura chicken is moderately spicy, but its tanginess from the gongura leaves balances the heat. However, Andhra cuisine is known for its spiciness, so it’s on par with many regional dishes.

Are there any specific rice varieties recommended for Gongura biryani?

While basmati rice is commonly used for its long grains and aroma, local rice varieties like Sona Masuri can also be used for Gongura biryani, offering a slightly different texture and flavor.

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