Chicken biryani – Malabar ishtyle.



Chicken biryanis are no longer a lot of hardwork. This was not always the case.

There used to be a time when cooking a biryani at home meant someone special was invited or something special was happening in the house. We would wake up in anticipation of the big day. “Today we are having biryani for lunch”- I would tell this to anybody who would care to listen. Then my father would go the market with the grocery list, of course, accompanied by me. See, it’s different in India. You have to travel a bit to get good quality Basmati rice.

“What?”, you say,”You don’t stock the biyani rice?We usually just buy a big bag from Costco.”

Ah! yes! But Basmati rice is quite expensive in India and unless you are really rich, you usually just buy enough for that one meal of biryani. A few years ago, there weren’t that many supermarkets. So you had to stop at one shop for the rice, another one for the chicken and then another for the herbs and lemon. It would take atleast an hour or more to get back home after a round of shopping.

Of course, things are different now and you can get all you want at any one of the many super markets that are popping all around. Sure is convenient but then you miss the walk in the chantha ( market), with all its varied smells and great display of veggies.

If Mastercard used this theme they would have said:

Biryani rice Rs. 50

Fresh chicken Rs.100
A walk in the chantha ( market ) Priceless

Making chicken biryani is a breeze after coming to the US. Take a few cups of rice from the Costco rice bag. Cut up the chicken in the freezer. Use the herbs that you have stored in the fridge. Chicken biryani is ready in an hour or so. And this is exactly what I did last Friday – actually Satish did go to the store for chicken.

I have had a brief touch with Malabar cuisine. My mother once worked for some time in Kozhikode. She stayed there for a few months or so. We went to visit her once and I had some amazing food at one of my father’s friends. I was convinced Muslim hospitality was the best. There was a whole table of food and all their relatives were in the house to welcome us. Made us all feel real special! I was really young but this episode is still clear in my memory.

Thanks to fellow bloggers Shaheen and Shynee, we are getting to know more about this cuisine.

For the chicken biryani, I followed Shynee’s recipe. I had seen Anita mention it. Thanks Anita!!!

Once you have made biryani you will see that it is more of a method than exact measure ( except for cooking the rice).

Here are some pictures to get you inspired.

Cooking the rice:

Soak the rice in water for 30min or so prior to cooking. Drain off the water.

Add ghee( a must for authentic taste), cloves, cardamon and cinnamon. Add the rice. Stir well. Add water and salt. ( For 3 cups of rice, I used 5 3/4 water). Cook covered. When all water is evaporated, shut off the flame and keep covered for a few more minutes. In the meanwhile avoid stirring. You can fluff with a fork after it has finished cooking


Cooking the chicken


Layering the rice and chicken


Frying herbs to decorate the top


Also fry onions, raisins and cashews.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes.

Serve warm with raita, achar, ulli surka and pappadam.


49 responses »

  1. A beautful recipe from you atlast:D

    Looks great,specially the chicken.Mouthwatering Biryani.Thanks Gini:)

    Are you saying my other recipes weren’t beautiful?:) Just kidding.
    Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Gini – the biryani looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. For Green Blog Project entry, leave your trackback or link in the comments or send me an e-mail.

    I will..I will. As soon as this semester is over.

  3. oh my! oh my! oh my! that looks sooooooooo good Gini! As for the basmati rice at Costco, it sure rocks!

    I really like Costco! Thanks Nabeela and thanks for including me in your list of fav food blogs. Appreciate it!!

  4. Gini,
    Thanks for the recipe – I love Kerala-style Biriyani. I’ve tasted another Kerala-style Biriyani that had pineapples and nuts – do you just add pineapples to this recipe or is that a totally different style? If you have the recipe for the one with pineapples, would you mind posting it. I had it some 20 years ago in a Kerala restaurant in the middle-east but I am yet to find something close to that in taste.

    Faffer, I think pineapples are added to mutton biryani. I made it once. The pineapples got lost in the mutton gravy. I have to dig up the recipe. I might have even lost it when my old computer crashed. Damn!! I will let you know if I get the recipe from my friend.

  5. WOW!!! Looks absolutely delicious and inspiring. I have never had kerala biryani and would love to try this one out… The photos are so tempting…

    Try it. It is pretty easy if you know how to cook the rice the correct way. Hope you like it.

  6. This looks like it is to die for! Will make it this weekend as we are all feeling chicken deprived!

    Did you make it?
    It was pretty good. I am sure you will like it.

  7. Looks really good…especially the chicken, finger lickin’ good.

    Thanks. Your picture of the Singapore dishes is making me very hungry. Can’t wait to visit Singapore!!

  8. i miss the chantha too. Biryani doesn’t have the same anticipation here. But ur photos looks so good, i am hungry now.

    Thanks Shaheen. Biryani is our most common dish for guests these days. No need for a long list of sides:)

  9. The first time I had biryani was when I was 17 years old. I hated it when it bit into the sweet raisins and cashwenuts – totally unfamiliar items in rice. Then later on, oh boy! I love it! But seriously I have tried all kind of rice here, but the real long grain basmati we get and the smell, I never get here. What brand do you buy?

    I don’t know what brand, but now that you asked I will look it up. I know what you mean about the fragrant smell. I don’t think this rice has that fragrance either. My sister will pick out all the raisins from her biryani. I too have gave grown to like those in the biryani .

  10. Looks absolutely delicious. This looks nothing like Burmese biryani.

    I hardly know anything about Burmese cuisine. Hope to learn more. I had no clue Burma had biryanis too:)

  11. Looks great! We are malabar cuisine lovers too…and I have one malabar cookbook.
    Regarding the pineapples, I don’t add it always. But when I add it, I don’t add it to the gravy. During the final stage when I layer gravy and rice, I add a layer of chopped pineapples. Then do the “dhum” in the oven.

  12. Here I see the recipe of the rice. but where is the recipe for chicken. how would i make this. It shows only how to cook rice.

    I have provided the links for the recipes that I followed in the post. Click here for the recipe.

  13. Gini cooked the biriyani when i visited them. It was soooo good. She packed some for me too…But i forgot to pick it up when i left. One of the biggest mistakes of my life…:-(

    Thanks Renju for the nice words. Appreciate it.

  14. The biriyani indeed looks yummy. But mummy! where is the recipe for the ‘Cooking the chicken’ ? Do us bachelor boys a favour. Please load the recipe in full.

  15. hiii gini, i luv to make this recipe… only probs is i’m nt abl to get the description of “cooking the chickn” n “layering” …. some error on page is shown……pls help me……coz i luv cookng n this recipez jus awesome……….plsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  16. Hi,
    Your pictures look amazing!! But i didn’t fing the recipe on how to make the biriyani after the part where it says ‘How to cook the rice’. Where can i find it?

  17. Pingback: Malabar Chicken Biryani « COOKING WITH SIMI

  18. See Deepa’s response above! The rice recipe looks similar to Persian preparation, and I welcome
    all the details; like the wonderful pictures of the finished product. But if you don’t at least give a ratio
    of proportions for all the ingredients, nobody can enjoy your food.

  19. hello

    i love this recipe and u ve a gud job on the site !!
    one problem is tht the link u ve provided for the recipe is not viewable to all readers.
    wud really appreciate if u could post the recipe on ur site
    keep up the good wrk

    take care

  20. I dont think it is a style to explain cooking. and it is not the real malabar style and i have tried the same recipe and ended in a horror way.Please do

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  24. I do not have a chance to properly check out this webpage presently, nonetheless I saved it as a
    favorite to check it afterwards. Cheers for the helpful info.

  25. This recipe will surely a delicious one and I appreciate the author of this article on how he presented and shown the procedures step-by-step clearly. I really like also the images provided. all i can say is, it is a great post. Thanks for sharing. God Bless.

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