Clean the chicken pieces and make small gashes. Marinate the cleaned chicken pieces with the marination ingredients and keep for half an hour.
Grind tomato & coriander leaves to a smooth paste. Check out Pepper Chicken
Soak the cashew nuts in hot water (2 tbsp) for 5-10 mins and grind it to a smooth paste.
Shallow fry the chicken pieces in oil/ghee till it turns golden brown & half cooked.
Add the finely sliced onion to the same oil/ghee (in which chicken is fried) and cook till it becomes brown. Check out Green Chicken Curry
Add crushed ginger, garlic and green chilly. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
Add the tomato coriander paste and cook till the oil separates. Add garam masala and cook for a minute.
Add yogurt, salt and mix well.
Add the fried chicken pieces and combine well. Make sure that the chicken pieces are coated well with the masala. Add 1/2 cup water and cover and cook the chicken.
When the chicken is almost done and the gravy has dried, add the cashew paste. Cook till the chicken is done.
Clean, wash and drain the rice. Heat ghee and add spices(cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf). Fry for a min and add chopped onion, crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli. Stir well till it gives out an aroma, for 4-5 mins.
Add rice and stir for five mins. Check out Chicken Ghee Roast
Add salt, lemon juice and 5 1/4 cups of water. Bring the water to boil, reduce flame to lowest and cook till rice is done, around 7 mins. (refer notes)
Layering the Biriyani
Preheat the oven to 180 degree 10 minutes before baking the biriyani. Apply some ghee to a baking dish. Put one layer of rice in the dish. Sprinkle some chopped coriander & mint leaves, fried onion, cashew and raisins (if using) and drizzle some ghee. On top of that spread some chicken masala. Repeat the process until the masala and rice is finished. The top layer should be of rice. Cover the dish with a wet cloth. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins.(refer notes for alternative method)
Heat ghee/oil in a pan and fry the cashews & raisins. Remove them from the pan & in the remaining ghee/oil fry the onions till it becomes golden brown. Drain the excess ghee in a paper towel & keep it aside.
Garnish the baked biriyani with fried cashew, raisins, onions, boiled eggs, chopped mint and coriander leaves. Serve hot with pickle, raita & pappad.