My Kitchen Antics: Chettinad chicken biryani

Recipe adapted from here


Chicken- 1 kg, without skin, but with bone and cut into medium size pieces

To marinate

Greek yoghurt- 1/2 cup

Ginger garlic paste- 1 heaped tsp

Green chilli- 1, finely chopped

Garam masala- 1 tsp

Salt- to taste

For the rice

Basmati rice- 3 cups, washed till water runs clear (refer notes)

Coconut milk- 2 cups

Water- 3 cups

Lime juice- 1 tbsp

Salt- to taste

For the masala

Ghee- 3 tbsp

Cardamom- 4 pods

Cinnamon- 2 inch stick

Cloves- 4

Bay leaf- 1

Star anise- 1

Onions- 3 medium, finely chopped

Thai green chilly- 2, slit in half (add more if you want it spicy)

Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp

Tomato- 2 medium, finely chopped

Chilli powder- 2 tsp

Coriander powder- 2 tsp

Turmeric powder- 1 tsp

Mint leaves- 1/4 cup, roughly chopped

Coriander leaves- 1/2 cup, roughly chopped


Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients in that section for a minimum of at least an hour. I marinated it the previous night.

Mix together the coconut milk and water and soak the washed rice in  it when you begin to start prepping the biryani.

For the gravy, heat a large pot over medium heat and melt the ghee

Into it add the whole spices and when they start smelling great, throw in the onions and green chilly.

Saute and cook till the onions turn a light golden brown at which point you add the ginger garlic paste.

Mix well and cook till the raw smell disappears.

Add the tomatoes, cover with a lid and cook till the oil starts appearing around the edges. 

In goes the chilli, coriander and turmeric powder. Add a dash of water if needed and cook for about 2 minutes.

Mix in the mint and coriander leaves and then tip in the marinated chicken. Mix well.

Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, till water starts coming out. Don’t add any water.

Pour in the coconut milk mix from the rice into the pot (without the rice of course), mix well, increase heat to high and bring the mix to a boil.
After boiling for about 5 minutes, add the rice, lime juice and enough salt into the water. The salt should stand out a bit, as only then will your biryani have the right amount of salt once cooked.
Close with a tight lid, reduce heat to low and cook for about 25 minutes.
Make sure no steam escapes. If you don’t have a tight lid, wrap the lid with foil so it fits tightly.
Once the time is up, and all the water has been absorbed, do a taste test from the rice right on top. If its cooked then remove from heat, if not, cook for a further 5 minutes.
Drizzle some ghee on top and cover with lid and keep aside for about 10 minutes and then serve hot with a side of raita, pickle and pappadom.

Notes: I use a variety of basmati rice called golden sella which is more resilient to cooking and doesn’t break or become mushy as easily as basmati. I always end up with a mushy mess when i use basmati for biryani and so started using sella after i tasted a really good biryani using this rice at the famous Kadiris in London.
If using basmati, follow same method, but you would know the cooking time for your rice and amount of water, so adjust accordingly. I know this is pretty vague info, so ill try it with a normal basmati next time and update.
Use good quality coconut milk, the thick creamy one, as coconut milk powder will not bring out the taste that well.
I need to perfect this recipe a bit more, as the flavour hasn’t come out the way i expected. I shall update it as and when i try it again.

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