Back to Basics – Putting Biriyani on Dum

PinI had just asked on the blog’s FB page as to who would love to see a step-by-step post on how to put dum for biriyani, and thanks to the positive response, here I am! I am sure that in the history of this blog, this is the fastest post that has ever happened, within a day! ๐Ÿ˜‰


It is no secret that I have a biriyani crazy family. That definitely includes me. It is very well known with the variety of rice dishes that I have already featured on the blog, and InShaAllah will continue to share all those that I try and succeed. One query I keep getting on my emails is the way to put dum for the biriyani. For most of the biriyanis, putting on dum is one of the most important procedure that helps in the overall taste of the biriyani. By putting it on dum, you are basically using vapour to pass through the masala layer into the rice layer so that the flavor would permeate throughout the rice. Sounds simple?


I do not want to go into history, because I am not good at it. This post is simply to explain how I have learned to do it. Back home, when biriyani was made in clay ovens, heated wooden peices would be kept at the bottom and at the top of the biriyani for doing the dum. Now we all work on gas stoves, but still I have seen my relatives put heated wood on top of the dum pot. I normally don’t do it, but what I follow has given good results, Alhamdulillah…


Going off to the way it is done…


First of all, heat a chapathi tawa till hot, and then keep it on low flame till the layering of the biriyani is done.


Keep all the dum ingredients ready along with the pan (the biriyani in question is Malai Chicken Biriyani).

Put the masala layer first and sprinkle half the dum ingredients. Note that some biriyanis require some rice to be layered at the bottom before putting the masala, just like in the Thalassery Chicken Biriyani. It is better to follow as per the recipe.

Layer the whole rice on top of the masala. You may read in some recipes to layer masala, then rice, and then masala and done with the rice on the top. You may do this for a large quantity of biriyani. But doing a single layer is more than enough for a biriyani just made for home people!

Sprinkle the remaining dum ingredients on the top. Cover tightly with anย aluminiumย foil on the top.

Close tightly with the lid.

Keep on the hot tawa on the low flame for an average of 30 minutes. Switch off and allow it to cool as is.

As you can notice, when the dum is done and you open the foil, the mint and coriander would have changed color.

Mix well with a long handled ladle for the masala and rice and serve hot with raita and pickle!!! Enjoy your biriyani!

There are a few variations some people do use. Umma never used foil to cover, she would just close the lid. I have seen a cousin’s wife close with a flat lid and keep a small pan of boiled water on top. I have just explained the way I usually do. I sincerely hope that this helps many of you who would love to try their hands at making biriyani… ๐Ÿ™‚


Any questions, you are always welcome! I will only be glad to answer them in my capacity of knowledge. And any suggestions, tips and criticism is also welcome – I am always open to learning from all of you… Seriously, after doing this post, I am in awe with fellow bloggers who take step by step for their cooking. I just don’t have the patience for the same! Hehe…


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    1. Thank you so much Babitha…

  1. nicely explained with the pictures dear, i too don't have patience in taking step by step shots…

    1. Thank you so much Razina…

  2. Biryani looks mouthwatering.. Great post dear..

    1. Thank you so much Gloria…

  3. well explained informative post

    1. Thank you so much Remya…

  4. Wooow… Briyani looks super delicious sis… Helpful post for beginners to put on dum briyani!!

    1. Thank you so much Ree….

  5. Very well explained dear! And looks so yum!

    1. Thank you so much Beulah….

  6. Really good post Rafee. I have tried all the dum styles you have mentioned but as you have mentioned here dum with aluminum foil also does the magic.

    1. Good to know dears… thanks a lot…

  7. Very nicely done rafee, I can do dum for 1kg rice, but not more than that, need lots of skills ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Aara… ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Hi. Wow. How do you do that? I tried 2.5kg and it was okay but some rice grains were still raw i cooked in a long pot was that my mistake?

      1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

        I have heard from an uncle of mine who is an amazing cook, that once you move to more than 10 cups of rice, keep the water to 1.5 cups for 1 cup rice, never more. Also, in between the cooking, to give it a good stir so that the rice is distributed and cooks uniformly. I have cooked only maximum upto 1.5 kgs rice and Alhamdulillah, has been fine till date… Good luck…

  8. Very well explained dear…….!!

    1. Thank you so much Sony…

  9. Thats a very useful post, thank you for sharing this ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Gauri… ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. that would be very useful to the beginners in cooking ! now I can link back to your post whenever I post any biriyani recipe.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I'm too lazy to post in detail

    1. Oh… that will be really good for me as well… thanks a lot Hasna… ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. same pinch me 2 a BIIIIG biryani fan especially mutton Biryani :D…and really a useful post…always gud to know the different ways to make a dum biryani…Shukran 4 sharing !!:)

    1. Thanks you so much dear Manjusha… ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. This post has been put together so well Rafeeda. This is "the" way to make the dum Biryani. The space left above the rice all the way to the rim of the pot is important to allow the steam to cook the meat in the pot and also leave enough room for the rice to fluff up. I am impressed:)

    I however, follow the same concept but bake mine in an oven. I could make a small amount or cook for a crowd following the same procedure.

    1. This is just my 2 cents of what I have learned… so good to know from an experienced cook like you that what I am doing is right! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just because it has acted well for me everytime, I shared it… thanks a lot dear…

  13. my dear raffyyy i am going to make this sometime for sure.. never applied foil in dum, i used to cover it with a little damp clean kitchen cloth.. then leave it for dam.. like your style too and shall try your malai chicken baryani too yum yum

    1. I have heard of that style as well, Monu… towards Hydrebad side, they make dough and seal the pot. Thanks a lot dear…

  14. I was given this tip by an Indian lady I met once. what happens if you put in the oven instead of stove top?

    1. Thank you so much Nammi… yes, you can put in the oven but I have never tried it yet… If I do, I would definitely update this post…

  15. Am sure this post is definitely useful for everyone, i do this way, ur dum briyani rocks.

    1. Thank you so much Priyaakka…

  16. Thanks for sharing the tip on getting a great tasting Biriyani..

    1. Thank you so much Pankthi…

  17. Ambika Devi says:

    Thank you so much

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      My pleasure!

  18. Katrien Thiery says:

    Wauw, this looks amazing! Do you have any advise on how to reheat the biryani. I want to make this for a dinner party for 11 people and want to prepare as much as possible in advance.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      You can steam biriyani while reheating, it makes it as good as new…

  19. I tried yesterday of making dum biryani and left sealed biryani for 1hr but when I open lid the rice and meat is cooked but the rice was still watery .the rice didn’t get dry. I was thinking it happened because i didn’t put something hot on top of pot . What did you think ,can u tell me the cause.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      This process works when the meat as well as the rice are at least partly cooked. If you add the rice uncooked, then the process won’t be the same…

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