Boil 1 cup Basmati rice with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 bayleaf, a few cloves. A few peppercorns and a small bit of cinnamon till done – firm and cooked through, not mushy. Drain, remove the spices.
Fry ½ sliced onion and a few whole cashewnuts in oil till brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.
In a pan, pour in 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, fry one onion chopped fine, then add one tomato chopped fine and stir till fried well and the oil separates. Then add a few whole peppercorns, a small bit of cinnamon, ½ level teaspoon sugar, 2 cups boiled chicken or mutton/lamb chopped into small bite-sized pieces and 2 teaspoons biryani powder or curry powder and stir. Add 1 tablespoon plain yogurt and ½ cup water and boil till it becomes a thick gravy.
Take a serving dish and put in half the rice, sprinkle half the fried onions and some freshly chopped mint leaves over it. Then layer all the chicken or lamb over it and spoon the rice over that so it’s fully covered and sprinkle the remaining fried onions as well as the cashewnuts on top with a teaspoon of finely chopped mint leaves.
The biryani can be served with dahi/yogurt. Stir the yogurt with a bit of salt and sugar and add finely chopped onions, tomatoes and cucumber. Pickles make a good accompaniment too.