Kerala Spicy Chicken Biriyani
1) Chicken – Around 10-12 medium pieces or 2 Cornish game hen (Around 3/4 kg)
Marinate the chicken pieces with the ingredients under marinade for at least 4-5 hrs.
2) Chilly powder – 2 tsp
3) Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
4) Fresh ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
5) Coriander powder – 2 tsp
6) Pepper powder – half tsp
7) Garam masala powder – 1 tsp ( If your garam masala powder does not have fennel powder as an ingredient you can also add 1 tsp fennel powder since it gives a nice aroma and flavor to meat preparations. Find the recipe for home-made garam masala below.)
8) Biriyani masala powder – 2 tsp (Find its recipe below)
9) Yoghurt – 1 tbsp
10) Salt – As required
11) Rice – Around 2.5 cups of basmati rice
To cook rice I usually follow the draining method. Soak the basmati rice for around 30 mts. Boil water in a deep vessel. To the boiling water add ghee – 2 tsp, whole spices (peppercorns- 10, cloves – 6, cardamoms – 2, bay leaves-2, cinnamon stick – 2, fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp, star anise – 2 and mace – 1 – 2). I usually add lots of whole spices. Add enough salt. The water should be slightly salty. Now add the soaked rice and cook it to the perfect consistency. Drain the water and allow the rice to cool.
12) Onion – 2 red onion medium sized, thinly sliced and chopped to halves
13) Tomato – 1 medium sized, chopped
14) Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 6-7
Thai green chilies – 10 (Adjust the chilies and spices according to your spice tolerance)
Pearl onion – 5-6 (optional)
Whole spices – cardamom – 2, Cloves – 5-6, cinnamon stick – 1-2, bay leaves – 1-2 , pepper corns – 5-6, mace -1, star anise -1
15) Curry leaves – 1 sprig
16) Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
17) Coriander powder – 1 tsp
18) Garam masala powder – 1/4 tsp
19) Oil – 2 tbsp
20) Salt – To taste
1)Coarsely grind the ginger, garlic, pearl onion, green chilies and the whole spices in a mixer.
2)Heat around 2 – 2.5 tbsp oil in a deep pan. Add the sliced onions and little salt. When the onion becomes light brown, add turmeric powder and coriander powder. Stir well for a minute and add the coarsely ground mixture mentioned above, few curry leaves and stir well for a few minutes or until the oil starts appearing. If it starts sticking to the bottom, bring down the heat and add little oil.
3) Add the chopped tomato and cook until it gets completely mashed up and oil starts appearing, about 5 – 7 mts.
4) Now add the marinated chicken, mix everything well and cover it with a lid. Do not add any water as water will ooze out from the chicken. Cook for about 10 minutes at medium flame. Bring down the flame to medium-low and cook covered until the chicken is done, stirring once or twice in between. It will take at least 45 mts for the chicken to be properly cooked. When the chicken is done, check for salt and masala. You can add 1 – 2 pinches of fennel powder or garam masala if you wish. Mix well. Switch off the flame.
I usually fry the cashews, raisins and thinly sliced onions first and then use the same oil ( around 2 tbsp) for cooking chicken.
1. Fried onion – 1 small, thinly sliced. Fry it in hot oil stirring occasionally, until browned, takes about 20 minutes. Drain on to a paper towel.
2. Cilantro – 1 bunch chopped and fried till crispy (It will take only around 5-7 mts and it will be crispy and deep green in color). You can use fresh chopped cilantro if you wish.
3. Mint leaves – Half bunch, chopped fine
4. Grated carrot – 1 medium
5. Cashews , Raisins – Around 1/4 – 1/2 cup each, fried in oil and drained
6. Julienned ginger – 1 inch cut lengthwise and very thin
7. Pineapple – Around 1/4 – 1/2 cup (I usually use canned pineapple tidbits)
8. Tomato – 1, Seeded, sliced lengthwise and then fried until cooked and lightly browned. It is optional.
For layering you need a cookware which can be put on stove or which is oven-safe. I usually use a stainless steel stock pot to layer the rice and chicken since it can be used for both purposes. The biriyani can also be served in it.
Smear the base of the cookware with ghee. Then add the fried onions, fried cilantro, cashews, raisins, mint leaves, grated carrot, pineapple, julienned ginger, fried tomato and chicken. You can pour a little gravy over the chicken pieces. Now add the rice and repeat the process. You can sprinkle some fennel powder or biriyani masala and ghee on each layer. The top-most layer should be that of rice topped with the items under garnish. You can pour any left-over chicken gravy over it. Now seal the cookware with an aluminium foil (so that moisture won’t escape), cover with its lid and bake it at 350 F for around 15-20 mts (depending on the cookware you use). If you are planning to keep it for long, cook the rice only till it is 95% done or so. If you are using stovetop keep it at low flame for around 10-15 mts or you can double-boil it. Serve hot with boiled eggs, raita, papad, biriyani chammanthi and lemon pickle. You will never go wrong with this recipe 🙂 This recipe serves around 6-8 people.
Recipe for Garam Masala (Yield – Around 3 tbsp)
- Fennel Seeds (Perumjeerakam)- 2 tbsp
- Cloves (Grambu)- 13 – 15
- Cinnamon stick (Karuvapatta) – 2 inch
- Cardamom (Elaikka) – 3 – 4
- Star anise (Thakkolam) - 1
- Whole pepper (Kurumulaku) -15 – 20
- Poppy seeds (Kus Kus) – 1 tsp (optional)
Dry roast all the ingredients lightly in a pan at medium heat for about 2-3 mts. When they cool down, grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container. It will be flavorful even if you do not dry roast them.
Recipe for biriyani masala (Yield - Around1.5 tbsp)
1. Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
2. Cloves – 4-5
3. Cardamom – 1-2
4. Cinnamon stick- 2 inch
5. Star anise – 1/2 flower
6. Whole pepper corns – 10
7. Poppy seeds (Kus Kus) – 1/2 tsp
8. Bay leaves – 1 leaf
9. Mace (javithri) – 2
Dry roast all these spices lightly, cool down and grind to a fine powder. (Dry roasting is completely optional).
You can sprinkle some saffron in coconut milk while layering. It gives an extra taste and color.
Cooking the chicken in ghee instead of oil will give an extra taste though it isn’t recommended health-wise.
If you deep/shallow fry the chicken after it is cooked, the chicken will remain firm and more tasty.
Adding cashew paste ( of around 10 whole cashews soaked in water for 10 mts or so) and/or coconut milk (around 3 – 4 tbsp) also gives an extra taste to the chicken gravy.
You can use store-bought fried onion for garnishing.
Use pearl onion (Around 25 – 30) instead of big onion to make the chicken gravy more tasty. You can crush it along with the green chilies, garlic, ginger and whole spices.