Potli Biryani (Chicken Biryani in a Banana leaf parcel) !!

Some time back, I had read about a prawn biriyani cooked in a banana leaf. Though I wanted to try it out immediately, it did not happen due to certain circumstances and I conveniently forgot about it. If like me, one has the habit of collecting thousands of recipes, it becomes a bit difficult to keep track of them. Hence, this recipe was lying at the back of my mind and when I saw fresh banana leaves at the vegetable shop last week, I knew I had to try this at least once.

But I did not remember the exact recipe (but I think it had coconut milk in it and I was not sure if my North Indian friends would like it)  and decided to go along with one of my chicken biryani recipes. It results were good. The banana leaf imparted a subtle flavor to the rice and the 'potli' or the banana leaf parcel made for a lovely presentation.

Read on for the recipe -



















Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -

For Chicken -
  • 250 gm Chicken
  • 2 large onions 
  • 2 tsp GG paste
  • whole spices ( 3 cloves, 2 inch cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 1 black cardamom, 2 green cardamom, 1 bay leaf, 2 mace)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup thick curd
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • oil (2 tbsp)
  • ghee (2tbsp)
  • salt to taste

For the biriyani rice -
  • 2 cups Basmati rice 
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 2" long cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom (slightly split)
  • 1 mace
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • salt to taste

Final garnishing -
  • Fried onions
  • mint leaves
  • coriander leaves
  • food color (opional)
  • ghee

Preparation - Clean the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the ingredients listed under 'For Chicken' except for the whole spices, oil and onions. Mix everything together and rub the marinade on the chicken pieces for about 5 mins.

Keep aside for 2-3 hours.

Chop the onions into thin long pieces.

Cooking -

For the chicken - Heat oil in a wok. Add the whole spices and fry for 10-15 seconds. Next, add the onions and fry till translucent.

Add the mint leaves and the coriander leaves. Fry for 2 mins.

Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. Cook for 15 mins (covered) till 3/4 done. Remove from flame and keep aside.

For the rice - Boil 8-10 cup water in large pan. When it gets to a boil, add all the spices and salt.

Wash the Basmati rice and add to the boiling water. Boil on a medium flame for 8-9 mins.

Switch off the flame.  Add the ghee and allow to stand for 30 secs before draining off.

Final assembly - Take a fresh and clean banana leaf that is wide enough and has no tears .

Rub a little ghee all over it. Place a layer of rice on it. Then layer with chicken, fried onions, mint leaves, coriander leaves, ghee and few dots of color. Gather the ends of the leaf, bring them together and bind it with a string/ribbon/rubber band.




















Boil water in a steamer. If you don't own one, use an idli maker. Place the banana leaf parcel inside the steamer and allow it to steam for 10-15 mins. The banana leaf would have changed to a yellowish shade by then.




















Remove from the steamer and allow it to rest for 10 mins.

Serve the parcels with raita.



















Note - I packed individual portions into each banana leaf parcel. So, one can serve it directly with the leaf itself.

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