Thalassery Chicken Dum Biriyani

Yesterday was my elder daughter, Rasha's sixth birthday. Feels like yesterday that the fragile little one who looked so much like her abba on birth had come into my hands as Allah's gift. Now whoever sees her says that she is my photocopy. How the transformation, I really don't know. Last month, at our office staff party, my colleagues were commenting that she looks like me because HD loves me a lot. Hehe... I asked him once I was back from the party, do you really??? and he had a big question mark on his face. ;) Thanks to my leg, I could not even bake a cake for her day, even though we do not place any importance for birthdays. All I pray to the Almighty is to provide her with His bounties and protection life long....

I had promised this biriyani post when I had done the Neychor post a couple of weeks ago. Even though I am married to a place which is very close to Thalassery, I never got a chance to learn how to make their biriyani from my in-laws. We have always gone on very tight vacations, that would last just a couple of weeks with packed schedules. So when I saw the recipe on my relative's blog, I was so excited. Now I should say that when we have guests coming in large number, this is the format of biriyani that I make. First of all, it's easy to prepare but the taste is really out of the world. The more time you leave the onion and tomato masala to cook, the tastier the biriyani becomes. Instead of me typing any more, I guess I will go straight to the recipe...

Thalassery Chicken Dum Biriyani
Serves 4 generously
Recipe adapted from here


The first step is to make the Neychoru/ ghee rice.

For the marinating:
500 gm chicken
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt, to taste

For the masala:
3 tbsp ghee/ oil
3 large onions, sliced
4 green chillies, slit
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 tsp garam masala
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the dum:
2 tbsp ghee
1 onion, sliced
6-8 cashews
5-6 raisins
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp rose water (optional)


Marinate the chicken along with the masalas in a pressure cooker for an hour. Pressure cook the chicken for one whistle, switch off and allow the pressure to go on its own.

In a large saucepan, heat ghee. Add the onion and slit green chillies along with salt and cook till the onion turns transparent. Add in the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on low flame with a tight lid till the tomatoes get completely mashed and incorporated into the onion. Literally you would not be able to make out the onion or the tomato - it needs to get that mashed up. The more you cook the onion tomato masala, the tastier the biriyani turns out to be! Once the masala is well cooked, add the garam masala and lime juice. Give it a mix.

Finally dump in the cooked chicken along with all its stock and cook till the masala becomes slightly dry. Ensure not to dry it up too much, or else your biriyani will not be moist.

Now let's prepare the dum ingredients. In a small kadai, heat the ghee. Add in the onion and fry till it browns. Sprinkle some salt to ensure that the onion stays crisp. Drain the browned onions onto a kitchen towel. Fry the cashews till brown and drain. Fry the raisins till puffed up and drain.

For the dum, take a large saucepan which is dry. Spread a thin layer of Neychoru on the bottom. Now dump in the prepared chicken masala and spread to make it even. Sprinkle half of the garam masala, chopped coriander and mint leaves and fried dum ingredients. Add all the remaining rice on the top and spread at the top to level. Sprinkle the remaining dum ingredients on the top. Finally sprinkle the rose water. Wrap up the top with aluminuim foil, close the lid tightly and leave on the lowest flame possible for 30 to 45 minutes till a lovely aroma spreads across your kitchen!!!

Want to know how to put the dum? Refer to this post!

To serve, there are two ways:

1. You can mix up the whole biriyani till well mixed and serve into plates.
2. Separate the rice into a large saucepan and the masala and the last layer rice together into another saucepan. When it is served on the plate, you can take how much ever masala and rice you require, ie. the person being served can adjust their level of masala and rice.

The second method is more authentic as far as Thalassery Biriyani serving method is concerned. But then to ensure that I do not run short of the masala or rice, I always mix it up and serve!!! ;)

Yum, slurpy Thalassery Chicken Dum Biriyani is ready. Serve hot with raita, pappad and chammanthi, along with some pickle as well...


The original recipe says to cook the chicken in the pressure cooker and then fry the chicken till brown. I conveniently skip that step always for two reasons: I am lazy and I can blame it on the calories that it will add. So if you want to fry, you can do that, and dump the fried oil into the masala - gives an awesome taste!

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