I've dreamt of making biryani for some time, but have always felt intimidated by the layers and spices I'd need to buy.

Any ideas for a small pot version of biryani?

My friend's dad makes it sometimes, but he uses a pretty large pot.

(I'm in Ontario, Canada so we might not have any specialty spices available)

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    Welcome to Seasoned Advice! While you are asking a very interesting question, I think it skirts quite close to the line for what is not on-topic for Seasoned Advice. In the on-topic guidelines page (cooking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic), there is a section about off-topic questions, which includes the following: "Recipe swapping". You do not need an overly large cooking vessel to make biryani at home; a standard 3qt pot will do. As such, your question seems to be the need for a recipe, rather than for tips on how to prepare an especially small batch. – Paul Beverage Dec 6 at 5:07
  • Thanks for responses. Hmmmm... I'll try to be more careful. Nice idea for the pre-made pastes. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, but I'd want to try making it as close to "from scratch" as possible. I do have several recipes on tap, but i suppose I've always seen them in large pots. Not sure how well I would scale down from large to small. – johnnychi Dec 6 at 19:21
  • @johnnychi - you can share the recipe you want to use and i'm sure there are experts on this forum who can help you scale down the recipe to fit inside a small pot. – Ess Kay Dec 7 at 11:28

Look around in the areas with the South Asian community (Pakistani/Indian/Bangladeshi) to find ethnic stores for specialty spices.

Whatever recipe you use, reduce the ingredients proportionately like you would for any other recipe.

The only reason for a large pot is to make it easier to mix the rice and gravy after it's cooked. If you don't have a large pot available, you can use a wide pan (of adequate height) with a lid. Avoid using narrow stock pots. It will be difficult to mix the rice up in a small pot without breaking the rice.

--- Edit:

You can even find boxed spice mixes in the ethnic stores to save the pain of buying individual spices. You can find these on Amazon as well.

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    +1. I live a long way away from India, and I can confirm that these spice mixes are cheap and easy to find in the ethnic stores here. I have cooked as little as 3-4 portions of it (using 1/2 bag -- each of those boxes contains 2 bags). – Federico Poloni Dec 7 at 13:20
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    Also, note that Biryani made with these bags is hotter (and spicier) than what you will be served in the average Indian restaurant in my European country. – Federico Poloni Dec 7 at 13:22
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    Thanks Federico for the very important note about hotness. I agree and I come from a South Asian country and we love our chillies, still I find it too hot for my liking. I have also been known to use my own spices to keep it mild with a bit of this spice mix in addition to get a nice authentic aroma and taste. – Ess Kay Dec 7 at 17:10

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