In a large mixing bowl combine the ingredients listed under 'marinade'. Toss chicken in it and refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
Rinse long grain basmati rice 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak it in enough water for about 15 minutes while you prepare other ingredients.
To make fried onions from scratch, heat the Instant pot on Saute, adjusted to high setting. Add ghee and sliced onions along with a pinch of salt. Continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions get golden brown in color. It can take 12-15 minutes for that. Add ¼ cup water and scrape off any brown bits stuck to the bottom. If needed, clean the pot before the next step.
Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil along with marinated chicken. Spread it in a single layer, cover with a glass lid and cook for 3 minutes. Open the lid, flip the chicken and turn off Saute mode. Add few tablespoons water and scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
To layer biryani in the Instant pot, layer and spread the strained rice over the partially cooked chicken. Add 1 cup water over rice (follow a 1:1 ratio). Make sure all the rice is submerged. Sprinkle salt and garam masala and gently stir the top only.
Top with half the fried onions and herbs, along with soaked saffron.
Close the lid with knob at sealing position. Set Pressure Cook or Manual for 6 minutes at high pressure. After cooking time is up, wait 5 minutes then manually release the pressure following the quick release (QR) instructions of your cooker.
Open the lid and using oven mitts remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot base, to stop the cooking process. Using a fork, gently fluff the top 1-inch layer of rice. Top with remaining fried onions and chopped herbs, Let it rest for 5 minutes, uncovered. This allows for any excess moisture to evaporate.
Chicken Biryani with Partially Cooked Rice
Follow steps 1-4 from above for marinating chicken, soaking rice, caramelizing onions and sautéing chicken. While the onions are sautéing, make rice following the instructions below.
To partially cook rice on the stove, boil 4 cups of water in a sauce pan. Add drained rice and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring back to a boil and cook rice on high-heat for 5 minutes, then strain and keep aside. Microwave: Add drained rice to a microwave safe bowl, along with with 1½ cup fresh water and 1 teaspoon salt. Microwave for 5 minutes, or until the rice is 50% done, and then strain and keep aside.
Layer the biryani as per steps 5 & 6 and pour ½ cup over the rice. Pressure cook and serve as per step 7 & 8.
Rice: For best results choose a high quality, long-grain variety of basmati rice. I personally prefer Kohinoor Extra-Long Basmati for this recipe.
Chicken: If you like to use skinless 'bone-in' chicken (thighs or drums) in this recipe, skip saute and pressure cook chicken with ¼ cup water, for 5 minutes at high pressure, followed by a quick pressure release. After that layer rice as per instructions and pressure cook again.
Marination: Marinating chicken for just minutes really makes a big difference in flavor and tenderness. Try not to skip that step.
Order of steps: If you follow the directions in order- Marinate chicken, soak rice, caramelize onions, saute chicken, pressure cook biryani, this recipes comes together in an hour.
How to prevent the 'Burn' Message: Deglaze the pot after caramelizing and sautéing. Any brown bits left stuck at the bottom can cause the burn sign, so be sure to remove those. Clean the pot if needed in between steps.
Fried Onions shortcut: Caramelizing onions takes about 13-15 minutes. You can fry them a few days in advance, or use store-bought fried onions, to save on that time.
Recipe updated: This recipe has been updated with new photos, instructions and tips on how to avoid a burn message. It now includes two ways to make Instant Pot chicken biryani- with uncooked rice, as well as partially cooked rice.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.