Cook with Asha: Recipe secrets from her kitchen to yours

Sharpen your best knife and cooking skills at the same time with a peek into Asha’s personal recipe secrets, and recreate one of her favourite dishes in the comfort of your own home

From a childhood spent on the road with her father’s travelling theatre company to a lifetime spent travelling the world as an entertainment legend, food has always been a major influence in Asha Bhosle’s life. Inspired by family mealtimes, royal receptions, humble street food and cultural diversity, her love of all things culinary crosses borders and continents.

A household name with an award-winning line-up of 13 Asha’s restaurants in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar in the Gulf, and Birmingham and Manchester in the UK, her signature menu of North-West frontier-inspired cuisine blends classic preparations, contemporary influences and artisanal accents.

Spices singing in harmony

As Asha herself says: “Cooking comes from the heart – it should be made with love, for others to enjoy, just like singing.” We don’t suggest you try both at the same time, but in our new Cook with Asha series, we invite you to unleash your inner chef and try your hand at some of her personal favourite dishes.

This month’s recipe – classic chicken biryani – comes from her recent small screen success as host of the popular annual Sony TV Flavours of Ramadan showcase.

A dish designed for comfort, celebration and sharing with family and friends, over the years Asha has prepared this famous biryani dish for everyone from her late husband, legendary film composer, R D Burman, to stars of the big screen from around the world.

Chicken biryani, the Asha’s way


  • 1 kg parboiled rice
  • ¾ cup ghee
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 5 tbsp yoghurt
  • 10-15 almonds
  • 2 tbsp chironjee seeds (dry roasted and powdered)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1½ tsp garam masalaw whole (green cardamom, cloves, shah jeera [caraway seeds], pepper, cumin seeds)
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste mix
  • ¾ cup coriander
  • 4 tbsp saffron-milk mix
  • 5 chicken drumsticks
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • 3-4 tbsp finely sliced almonds
  • ½ cup chopped mint leaves
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves


  • In a pan, heat some ghee and fry the sliced onion until caramelised. Keep to one side as garnish.
  • Dry roast the almonds and chironjee then grind to a powder
  • In a saucepan, add ¾ cup of ghee, the three finely chopped onions and fry on a low flame until golden brown. Add the yoghurt and four tablespoons of the almond/chironjee powder and fry for a couple of minutes
  • Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder, green chillies and whole garam masala, and fry for one minute
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and two tablespoons of the saffron-milk mix
  • Add the chicken drumsticks and sear on all sides
  • Add salt and water. Cover and cook until the water reduces slightly
  • Add the parboiled rice on top of the chicken and the rest of the saffron-milk mixture.
  • Top with sliced almonds, the fried onions, mint leaves and coriander powder
  • Cover either with a lid or with dough in the traditional dum style and cook for a further 10 minutes
  • Is the fresh coriander a garnish? Not referenced in method
  • Serve