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Chettinadu Chicken Biryani

Recipe for South Indian Chettinadu style chicken biryani with a special biryani masala made from scratch.

  • Total Time: 60m
  • Yield: 4-5 servings 1x



For the Biryani Masala

1 tablespoon groundnut oil
1 star anise
2 inch piece cinnamon (cassia)
4 cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cardamom
1 small piece kal pasi
1 teaspoon poppy seed
2 pods garlic
2 inch piece ginger
6 green chillies
1 handful shallots
1/4 cup water

Other Ingredients

2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoon groundnut oil
2 bay leaf
2 sprigs curry leaves, chopped
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 cup plain curd
750 grams chicken bone-in
2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1/2 of a lime, juiced


For the Biryani Masala

First let’s make a masala paste for the biryani from scratch.
We will be roasting all the spices and herbs in oil and then grinding them to make an aromatic biryani masala paste. Here is how to do it.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. I used groundnut oil today. Any kind of vegetable oil will work just fine. Add in the spices. star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, cardamom, a small piece of kalpasi, and little poppy seeds.
Keep the flame on low and saute the spices till they are aromatic and slightly change in colour. It will take about a couple of minutes.
Add in the garlic, ginger and green chillies. Adjust the amount of green chillies according to your taste. Add in a handful of shallots along and saute them for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes, the masalas are roasted and ready to be ground.
Transfer the ground masalas to a mixie. Add in about a quarter cup of water and grind to a smooth paste. Make sure to grind the masalas to a really fine paste.

To make the biryani

We shall be doing the biryani in a pressure cooker. Add little ghee to the pan. Add in a little oil along. Add a couple of bay leaves. Add in chopped curry leaves. Add in the sliced onions. Saute the onions till they are slightly brown in colour. It will take about 3-4 minutes on medium flame. Once the onions are slightly brown, add in the red chilli powder. Add in the turmeric powder. Saute for a few seconds.
Add in the tomatoes and saute for a minute. Add in the mint leaves and the coriander leaves. Make sure to chop the leaves and then add. Saute for a minute. Add in the ground biryani masala paste. Along with the masala paste, add in plain curd / yogurt. Mix well to combine. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low flame for five minutes. Once the masalas are cooked, add in the chicken pieces. Always use chicken with bone in as the bone has a lot of flavours that will penetrate into the rice and make the biryani more tasty. Add in the salt. Mix well to combine. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low flame for 10-12 minutes. No need to add any water as the chicken will release water while cooking and that will suffice. Saute once in a while so the masalas do not scorch at the bottom.
While the chicken is cooking, wash and soak the basmati rice in water for about 15 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked, add in about 3 cups of water. We used about two cups of rice today. We will have to add 1.5 cups of water for every cup of rice used.
After adding the water, mix well to combine. Let it come to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add in juice of half a lime. Taste for seasoning at this stage and adjust for salt if necessary.
Add in the soaked and drained rice at this stage and mix well. Cover the pressure pan with lid and add in the whistle weight. Cook for 5-6 minutes on medium flame or two whistles. Cook on medium flame.
After the said two whistles, remove from heat and wait for the pressure to release naturally.
Our Chettinadu style chicken biryani is ready. Serve hot.

  • Author: Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 45m

Keywords: Chettinadu Chicken Biryani