Malabar Style Chicken Biriyani


Pic courtesy:Self

Thalassery biryani or Malabar Style Biriyani is a rice-based dish blended with spices and chicken.The main difference between Thalassery biryani and other biryani versions is that it uses only Khaima/Jeerakasala rice ;  a short-grain, thin rice which is also called biryani rice in Kerala. The dish does not use basmati rice. Biryani is an exotic dish of Mughal origin, but this variant has evolved from the  Malabar province. It is a symbol of the cultural amalgamation of Mughal and Malabari cuisines. The Mughals brought the cuisine of biryani from Samarkand, and later variations of biryani developed in different parts of India. Thalassery biryani may have come to the region because of the influence of the Muslim rulers of Mysore and Arkot.(source:wikipedia).This is an inevitable dish during festive seasons among the Muslim community in Malabar.


For  marinating the chicken  and preparing chicken Masala:-

  1. Chicken -1kg(medium sized chicken)
  2. Curd- 1 /2 cups
  3. Biryani Masala (see the ingredients below)-1-1 1/2tsp
  4. Pepper powder- 1/2 -3/4tsp
  5. Turmeric powder -1/2 tsp
  6. Lemon juice -1tbsp
  7. White poppy seed -3/4 tsp
  8. Garlic -7(crushed)
  9. Ginger medium size piece -2 (crushed)
  10. Green chilly (crushed) -10 -15nos
  11. Tomato -2
  12. Mint leaves- 1/4 cup
  13. Coriander leaves -1/4 cup
  14. Ghee-2tbsp
  15. Onion (thinly sliced) -5

For Biryani Rice:-

  1. Kaima/jeerakashala rice -750g(equals almost 3.8 cups)
  2. Lemon juice -2tsp
  3. Ghee-3tsp
  4. Cardamom- 2
  5. Cloves- 2
  6. Small cinnamon stick -1
  7. Bay leaves -1
  8. Rose water -few drops
  9. Coconut oil- 2 tsp

For garnishing:-

  1. Cashew nut roasted -handful
  2. Raisin roasted -handful
  3. Coriander leaves -handful
  4. Mint leaves -handful
  5. Ghee  2-3 tsp
  6. Onion-thinly sliced(1)

For Biriyani Masala

  1. Cinnamon stick -2
  2. Cardamom -2
  3. Cloves -3
  4. Caraway seeds- 1/4 tsp
  5. Cumin seeds -1/4tsp
  6. Fennel seeds -1/4tsp
  7. Star anise -2
  8. Mace -1 0r 2
  9. Nutmeg piece-1/2


Prepare Biryani Masala

  • Dry Roast all the spices and make fine powder.Store in airtight container.

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Clean the chicken and cut into medium sized pieces. Wash and drain well.
  2. Soak the fennel seeds and poppy seeds in water for  at least an hour and grind with to a very fine creamy paste. You can add little bit cashews to it to get a creamy paste if its grainy.Keep aside the mixture
  3. Crush together the ginger, garlic and green chilies . Just pulse them rather than fine grinding.
  4. Marinate chicken pieces with 1/2 cup of curd,1 tsp lemon juice,1/2 tsp biryani masala,1/4 tsp turmeric powder,1/2 tsp pepper powder,1/4 of crushed garlic,ginger, green chilly,poppy seed-fennel paste and salt.keep it aside for 30 minutes.If you are keeping the marination over night ;omit the curd since curd is a meat tenderizer


  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Fry the sliced onions  till they turn golden brown and crisp. Do this on a medium low heat.
  • Remove the onions and stir fry the cashew nuts on medium heat till it turns brown on all sides. Drain and remove.
  • Add the raisins and roast them just for 2-3seconds. Remove onto paper towels.

Making Chicken masala

  • Slice the onions very thin.slice tomatoes in cubes and chop mint -coriander  leaves.
  • Heat up the remaining ghee in the same heavy bottomed pan and add one pinch of whole black pepper, one star anise,one or two cloves and a small piece of cinnamon.
  • Add the remaining sliced onions and saute it till it becomes translucent.
  • Add the remaining crushed garlic,ginger and green chilly,saute well till the raw taste leaves.Add chopped tomato and saute till becomes mushy.
  • Now add the remaining turmeric powder , 3/4 tsp of biryani masala and marinated chicken and mix well.cook for few minutes.
  • Add the mint leaves and coriander leaves and mix well.check the salt and add as required.Cover with lid and cook till chicken is just 3/4th cooked.The gravy must be dry.

Preparing the Biryani Rice

  • Wash the rice and drain water completely.
  • Boil water (1and 1/2 cup water for 1 cup rice ),add salt,rose water,cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Heat ghee in a deep bottom vessel. add rice and fry for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add boiled water,1 tsp lemon juice and one teaspoon coconut oil.Stir well and cover with a lid.check salt consistency.
  • Cook till the rice is soft and water is completely evaporated.switch off fire and keep aside.

Dum or layering

  • Mix fried onion, cashew, raisin, coriander leaves and mint leaves together for garnisghing and keep aside.
  • Take the chicken masala pan(containing chicken masala)…spread some ghee and sprinkle some biriyani masala in it.
  • Spread one layer of cooked rice on top of the chicken masala.Sprinkle the garnishing item and one tsp of the chicken gravy if you have excess (you can also use saffron milk instead of gravy,).
  • Repeat the layering till rice gets over.
  • Pour left over ghee(melted)around the rim of the vessel and also on top of the rice layer.
  • Cover the vessel with a heavy lid and tightly seal the lid with maida (all purpose flour) dough.
  • In traditional way of making dum biriyani ;hot coal or charcoal is placed on top of the lid .
  • if you are cooking on stove; place a nonstick or cast iron pan on the stove (keep very low flame) and place the biriyani vessel on top of it.Put a wet cloth on the top of the vessel and cook in low flame for 15-20 minutes and turn off the stove.
  • Let it stand for few more minutes before coal or cloth is removed.
  • Carefully remove the dum sealing and open the lid.
  • once the vessel is opened  transfer the cooked biryani rice in to another vessel and mix well.
  • Keep the bottom layer of rice and chicken in the same vessel.
  • While serving ; place chicken masala in the center and cover it with rice.( distribute rice evenly throughout).
  • Place a boiled egg on top and serve along with pickles,pappadam and salads.

Thanks And Regards

Anitha Varghese



Posted on April 14, 2016, in Non Veg Recipes, Rice Varieties and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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