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Monday, April 4, 2016

Thalassery Chicken Biryani | Kerela Style Chicken Biryani

Thalassery is a town on the Malabar Coast in Kannur district in Kerela. The biryani is named after this place, and also the most popular and best served biryani throughout Kerela.

Let me tell you what is so special about this biryani and how it is different from other biryanis. Other than spices, it is the technique and also a different kind of rice used.

In other type of biryani, we usually cook the rice in lot of water and then strain it. Whereas, here we will cook the rice like a regular pulao, by cooking the rice in the measured amount of water or similar to steamed rice. Instead of using the regular long grain basmati rice, we use the short grain aromatic 'Jeera Rice'. This type of rice is very popular in southern part of India.

Jeera Rice can be substituted with Basmati rice in case if it is not available, but the technique remains the same. Other dominating ingredients are the flavor of curry leaves and green chilies.

Serves 5 to 6
Preparation Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes (approx)


For Chicken:

  • 1 kilogram of Chicken
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
  • 3 green chilies (or more)
  • 3/4 cup yogurt 
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Biryani Spice Powder: Dry roast and grind together - 6 cloves, 4 cardamoms, 2 pieces of cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp whole black pepper, 1 tbsp fennel seeds (badi saunf), 1 tsp whole cumin.
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 6 to 7 curry leaves
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil (or less)

For Biryani Rice:
  • 4 cups Jeera rice
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 big size cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom
  • 7 and 3/4 cups of water
  • 4 tsp salt (according to taste)
  • 4 tbsp of ghee (or cooking oil)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

Ingredients for Dum cooking:
  • 1 small sliced onion and deep fried
  • 1/4 cup whole cashew nuts fried
  • 2 green chilies sliced
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves (or more)
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder (any brand)
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves

  1. Wash and cut chicken pieces into medium size.
  2. Slice 2 large onion, 2 tomatoes, mint leaves, and coriander leaves.
  3. Prepare biryani spice powder.
  4.  Keep all the dum ingredients ready.
  5. There is no need to soak the rice in advance. Wash the rice just before cooking.

  1. Heat 1/4 cup cooking oil in a large saucepan and fry 2 large onion sliced along with 3 green chilies till golden brown. Add mint leaves, 2 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, 2 chopped tomatoes, and curry leaves. Fry till tomatoes soften and oil separates.
  2. Add chicken pieces, 1 tbsp red chili powder, 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, and biryani spice powder. Fry on high heat for 1 minute and stir well till everything is well combined.
  3. Then add 3/4 cup whisked yogurt, salt, and chopped coriander leaves. Cover and cook on medium low heat till chicken is almost cooked. 
  4. While the chicken is cooking, prepare biryani rice. 
  5. Heat 4 tbsp of ghee in a large nonstick vessel and add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamom.
  6. Now add sliced onion and fry till soft and pink. To this add the measured water - 7 and 3/4 cups of water.
  7.  Once the water starts to boil, add salt (4 tsp) and 1 tbsp vinegar. Wash the rice and add to the boiling water. Bring the water and rice to a boil, and then reduce the heat, cover and cook on low flame till rice is almost cooked and water has evaporated.
  8. With help of a ladle, lift up the rice from sides and bottom and allow the trapped steam to come out. Do not overcook the rice. Switch off the heat and keep the vessel partially covered. 
  9. In a large vessel or same vessel in which you cooked gravy, make the first layer as chicken gravy. For the second layer, add half of the cooked rice. Then sprinkle a pinch of garam masala powder, curry leaves, sliced green chilies, half of the fried onion and some fried cashew nuts and few tbsp of ghee.
  10. Again make a layer of another half of the rice, and repeat all the things from step 9.
  11. Make deep dents in the rice for steam to circulate. Cover the vessel well and keep for dum cooking on medium heat for 5 minutes. And then reduce the heat and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Once the steam starts forming, switch off the heat and leave the biryani covered for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
  12. Serve hot with Raita, Pickle, and Pappad.  

Step by step method

Biryani Spice Powder:

Chicken preparation:

Rice Preparation:

Dum Cooking:


  1. Looks too time consuming dish...but it's worth ..taste is amazingg just lik original to hav it on weekends....thanks shan...

  2. Photographs n recipe is excellent. Thanks for making it so clear for all..

  3. Looks too time consuming dish...but it's worth ..taste is amazingg just lik original to hav it on weekends....thanks shan...

  4. A good attempt and never knew they make like pulao. I am from Thalaserry and we always make the biryani in dum process and not like pulao. The one pot cooking we do is called erachi choru.

  5. Can look at my blog to see prices, and nutritional facts of chicken at different grocery stores.

  6. We all loved it very much authentic kerala taste ...

  7. We all loved it very much authentic kerala taste ...

  8. A very friendly openhearted place to occupy a couple of nights. All persons were well trained, cooperative and helpful. Everything was handled with effectiveness and attention to every detail was given. Food was delicious and the view was wonderful while dining. Thanks… restaurant near venkateshwar college

  9. tried it and it came out so good

  10. In order to get such a delicious dish it is necessary to follow the order of all stages of cooking.