Kerala Spicy Chicken Biriyani

Kerala Chicken Biriyani / Kozhi 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

Cooking 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.

Chicken preparation


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


Whole spices

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.


To Garnish

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.

Fried Onion

Cilantro DSC_0207


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.

DSC_0245 (2)DSC_0246 (2)

Recipe for Garam Masala (Yield – Around 3  tbsp)

  1. Fennel Seeds (Perumjeerakam)-  2 tbsp
  2. Cloves (Grambu)- 13 – 15
  3. Cinnamon stick (Karuvapatta) – 2  inch
  4. Cardamom (Elaikka) – 3 – 4
  5. Star anise (Thakkolam) -  1
  6. Whole pepper (Kurumulaku) -15 – 20
  7. 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).


  1. You can sprinkle some saffron in coconut milk while layering. It gives an extra taste and color.
  2. Cooking the chicken in ghee instead of oil will give an extra taste though it isn’t recommended health-wise.
  3. If you deep/shallow fry the chicken after it is cooked, the chicken will remain firm and more tasty.
  4. 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.
  5. You can use store-bought fried onion for garnishing.
  6. 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.

Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

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  • @ Raj,

    Sorry for the late reply..I am in India on vacation now. I am not sure whether I use a 200 or 237 ml cup for measurement, will confirm it once I get back..

  • I made this yesterday evening following the steps you specified… It was SO GOOD… My biriyani was always a flop.. I am happy that I got the exact method.. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  • I would have gone through almost all your recipes minimum say 5 times…. even thoough i am yet to try all… but mut say that ur presentation is way tooo awesome and tempting.. and especially because you have chosen white as the colour for your background for website… the entire presentation is so well clear… Good effort… and wish you happy cooking…

  • Siji,

    Thanks a lot for your wonderful words about the website. You made our day!! 🙂 Do let us know your comments/suggestions if you try out any recipes. Please keep visiting..Thanks again!!

  • We were trying for a good kerala Biryani. This one was awesome, this tastes like a Hyderabadi Biryani, we prepared 2 times. It came well, Thanks for the nice post.

  • hi maya,

    your recipes looks soooo yummy once gponna try chicken biriyani…for sure…and kale toran also..:)pls post some more recipes healthy version:)

  • Maya, which brand of basmati rice are you using ? It looks very nice. I am going to try this biriyani for a dinner party. Could you pls suggest some side dishes for this biriyani other than pickle & chammanthi? Waiting for your reply

  • Hi Maya,

    Lovely presentation!
    I am planning to prepare this Biriyani over the weekend, but I need to cook it early morning as we are travelling after that. So what do you think is best –
    marinating the chicken and refrigerating it overnight OR
    cooking the chicken part the previous night itself & just doing the rice part alone in the morning?
    The layering part & final heat up I can do at my friends’ place after reaching there…

    Waiting to hear from you… Thanks in advance.

  • I recommend cooking the chicken part the day before and just doing the rice part alone in the morning. Make sure you leave enough gravy otherwise it will get dry after refrigeration. Hope it comes out well for you. Have a great time!

  • Hi Maya,
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I tried this biriyani last week and it came out well. I felt the fried onion for garnishing could have been a bit more. Next time onwards I will add more. Thanks for your recipe. I love it 🙂

  • Hi Maya.. I’m a doctor settled in Dubai.. I shifted there after marriage.. I never cooked ever at my home but when I came here v had big joint family I made ur duck curry, ur mutton and chicken biriyani and al came big hit.. I have taken time to thank u to start such a blog for the younger generation.. N al my credit goes to u so thank u..

  • Hi maya….this recipe always works for me. Ive tried it countless times with few minor changes here n thre…..ive almost mastered it

  • Wow, this recipe is extremely delicious. I also like the way you explain the procedures which is clearly stated in this post. also the pictures provided are great ,it show the texture of the dish for almost every steps that makes it more informative to your readers. So thanks for sharing and I’m wishing for more power to your site and continue to share your knowledge to us. God Bless.

  • hi Maya,
    Can you please tell me the brand name of the pan you had used for deep frying.I have been looking for one but i don’t know which one to buy.

  • Hi Yummyoyummy team,
    Tried this biriyani n it turned out so good…. Really yummy😀…My happiness doubled when my picky eater daughter said that she liked it very much….Thank you so much… U made my day… Keep up the good work n happy blogging…

  • Hi Maya… I tried out this recipe yesterday and it turned out to be great. It had a distinctive flavour. But it the taste had begun to change by evening [though I had kept it in fridge] 🙁
    Would it be due to addition of fresh pineapple? Do let me know your thoughts on this.

    • Its not the pineapple but did you keep the hot biriyani covered for a long time, after it got done? If yes, then that could be the reason. The moisture that condensed on the lid of the pot might have dripped back inside and that might have changed its taste.

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About Maya

Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

Every Recipe Since 2010