Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken Biriyani....(Serves 6-8)

Long after its introduction to the Indian palate by the Shahi Rasoiwalahs of Mughal emperors, Biriyani, has adorned the dinner tables world over  in its vibrant, colorful variations. Biriyani is central to the traditional Malabar weddings of  Kerala. The recipe below is quite popular among the Malayali friends, here in Baton rouge, and is the result of multiple improvisations, trials and errors to identify the right taste and flavor...

For the Chicken gravy

Chicken 2 lbs/1kg
Red Onions 3 big, thinly sliced
Tomato 1 big, cut into wedges
Green chilly 2 nos, finely chopped
Whole garam masala 5 each
(Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves)
Bay leaf 2 nos
Dry red chilly 8 nos
Whole Coriander seeds 2 TBSP
Poppy seeds 2 tsp
Fennel seeds 2 tsp
Ginger 1’ piece
Garlic 8-10 cloves
Grated coconut ½ cup (secret ingredient)
Yogurt ½ cup, divided
Cashewnuts 5 nos
Almonds 5 nos
Coriander leaves a handful
Mint leaves a handful
Garam masala powder 1 tsp, recipe follows
Cashewnuts and raisins to garnish
Saffron strands a pinch
Ghee 2 TBSP
Milk ½ cup
Egg 4 nos, hard boiled
Salt as needed

Garam masala powder (make fresh)

Cardamom 1 tsp
Cinnamon 1’ piece
Cloves 1 tsp
Whole black pepper ½ tsp
Star anise 2 nos
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Black cardamom 1 no


Blend all these into a fine powder and keep aside.

Preparing the gravy for Biriyani

Prepare the following three pastes and keep them aside:

Paste I: Dry roast following ingredients and make a fine paste and keep aside. You can add little water to make it a smooth paste.

8 dry red chillies
2 TBSP whole coriander seeds
2 tsps each of poppy seeds and fennel seeds

Paste II: Make a paste out of the ginger and garlic mentioned in the ingredient list and keep aside.

Paste III: Soak the cashews and almonds in water for 30 minutes. Grind together,
½ cup coconut grated
½ cup yogurt
Soaked cashews and almonds
Combine everything in a blender and make a thick paste, keep aside.

Wash and cut the chicken into medium size pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces in half of the yogurt for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 TBSP ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add quarter portion of onions and sauté till golden brown. Drain and mix with some coriander leaves and 1 tsp garam masala powder. Keep aside.
In the same ghee add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. Fry them for a minute till a nice aroma comes out. Add in rest of the sliced onions and sauté till golden brown. Next add the ginger and garlic paste (paste II), mint leaves and fry for 3 more minutes. Now add the first paste. Stir for 5-6 minutes. Add in tomatoes and fry until oil leaves the masala and the tomatoes are soft. Next add in the chicken pieces and mix to combine well at a high heat for 4 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add enough water (1/2 cup) to cook the chicken, salt and cook covered, until chicken is done. Then add paste III and stir for 5 minutes. The gravy will have attained a reddish brown color and will be thick. Gravy for Biriyani is ready now.

For the rice

Basmati rice 4 cups
Ghee 2 TBSP
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Cloves 6-8 nos
Cardamom 5 nos
Cinnamon 1’ piece
Bay leaf 2 nos
Water to cook rice
Salt as needed
Lemon juice 1 TBSP


Wash and soak rice in water for 30 minutes.
Heat ghee in a deep bottomed pan and add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Fry till aroma oozes out and add the rice, stir for 2 -3 minutes. Add 2.5 cups water (or enough to cook rice), 1 tsp lemon juice and salt. Once cooked, remove from the fire.

Final cooking

Take a microwave safe vessel. Layer the bottom with 1/3 portion of the rice. Top it with ½ of the chicken gravy. Now add half of fried onions, coriander leaves and garam masala that we had prepared earlier. Place hard boiled eggs. Layer up again with rice, chicken gravy and eggs. Top with fried onions, coriander leaves and garam masala. Add the final layer of rice and garnish with remaining garam masala-fried onions and coriander leaves.

Warm ½ cup milk and add saffron strands to it. When is gets a yellow color, pour over the prepared Biriyani. Cover the vessel with a plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes.

Garnish with fried cashews and raisins.


We prefer to use boneless chicken breasts for this recipe, but boned thighs should work well too
You can use store bought garam masala powder, but making them fresh add more flavor as well as taste to your biriyani
Try to use yogurt that is not too sour
Add sugar to the final phase of cooking gravy to balance all tastes
The rice can be cooked using a rice cooker, after fried in ghee
You can always use a conventional oven too instead of microwave. Pre-heat the oven at 325 F. Place the layered biriyani in the oven for 10 minutes.


  1. Damn, this is fantabulous. Love that biryani shot. Just had late lunch an hour ago but I feel hungry looking at this again. Good job!

  2. Fabulous...love to have biryani at any time any day...:D

  3. Love biriyani...yummy yumm...and as usual lovely clicks...

  4. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!delicious...........

  5. love love biriyani... and the biriyani pic is really awesome... well written recipe too

  6. lovely biryani... looks perfect...great clicks!

  7. I love chicken Biriyani...The picture is so tempting.Feel like eating it.

  8. looks yummy! ee reethiyil veg biriyani try cheyyatte!

  9. Ohhh... my fav biriyani..Adipoli ayitundu..Kothivarunnu...

  10. this gve bck to memory of traditional malabar cuisine..i love biriyani...the flavors of spices is fabulous....hey girls u made my day....fantastic click too...

  11. Woww such a tempting and delectable briyani...makes me hungry..

  12. Nice photo and great recipe, love your detailed method and tips, thanks for sharing....


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  14. Wowwwww Adipoli biriyani..nalla kidu pic:)first time here :)

  15. It looks delicious..Love the pics!

  16. hiiii kairali sisters...tried ur recipe today .....it came out really gud....thanks 4 the recipe.....:)


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