Chicken Masala Biriyani - My 29th guest post for My Kitchen Odessey

I was having a casual chat with Priya a couple of weeks ago. It just happened all of sudden, I whatsapped her (where is English going to??? Hehe...) and she called me back. We spoke for quite some time. She, along with her co-blogger Tessa, seem to be a big fan of my biriyani collection and she was quick to mention to me that it had been long since I had posted a biriyani on the blog. And she was true! The last biriyani that I posted was this one, which was way back in November. Yes, I have been a bit away from biriyanis, not because I lost my interest in them but because the new kitchen was making me so fidgety that I was taking much longer to finish the whole process. It was really frustrating me to say the least. When we had guest over when my parents had come, I made the Thalassery Chicken Biriyani, which happens to be a blog favorite as well, but it took me so much time that I got frustrated. It took me a month to make the next one, which is the one that you are going to see at Sathya's space.

First of all, I would like to apologise to Sathya for procrastinating over her invitation for a guest post. She had asked me for one quite some time ago, but I had asked her to give me some time till I settle into my new kitchen. It has been more than 3 months since I moved in, but I still feel that I am yet to really sink in. Since her blog is about pure vegetarian delicacies, I was thinking about giving her some simple recipe but then she came up requesting me for a chicken recipe. I was shocked at first, “Sathya, isn’t your blog vegetarian?” That is when she posted an updated picture of her Chettinad Chicken Curry. She assured me that she is primarily vegetarian, who cooks once in a blue moon for her folks when they request for non-vegetarian. She assured me that her request was a well thought-of one, and here I am with a chicken recipe like she wanted!

This biriyani was influenced by a mutton recipe a colleague had shared, which InShaAllah would come in due course as my drafts flow.. till then, do move on to Sathya's space to read more and the recipe as well!

Chicken Masala Biriyani
Serves 4-6

  • 1000 gm chicken, cut into medium sized pcs
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped. 

For grinding:
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 3 green chillies
  • l large ginger piece
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 cloves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste

For dum:
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 10 cashews, slit
  • 15-20 raisins
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp rose water

For rice:
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 1 ltr water
  • Whole spices as required (bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, peppercorn) 


Let us go step by step. 
First of all, wash chicken pieces properly, pat them dry. Grind all the ingredients under “for grinding” section into a smooth paste. Put into the chicken and mix well. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour. The best would be to keep it overnight. If keeping overnight, leave it in the fridge and then bring it back to normal temperature before cooking.

Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Saute the onion till soft. Then add the tomatoes and cook till mashed. Now add the chicken along with its marinade. Check the salt. Close the lid and cook for one whistle on high. Switch off and allow the pressure to go by itself.

Meanwhile, let us cook the rice. Heat water along with the whole masala's till it comes to a rolling boil. Add the drained rice and salt and allow it to boil again. Now reduce the flame to the minimum and leave it untouched with a closed lid for 10-15 minutes till the water is totally evaporated and the rice is 90% cooked. Fluff it up and set aside.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and ghee. Fry the onion till brown. Set aside on a paper towel. Fry the cashew nuts, puff up the raisins. Drain and keep along with the fried onion.

Now let’s start the dum process. Heat a chapathi tawa till it becomes hot and keep it on low flame. In a deep saucepan, put in the chicken masala. Sprinkle half of the dum ingredients - fried onion, cashew, raisins, coriander and mint leaves and garam masala powder. Put all the rice on top. Sprinkle the rest of the dum ingredients. Now drizzle the fried oil-ghee and the rose water on top. Tightly cover with aluminium foil on the top and close the lid. Keep on top of the hot chapathi tawa and keep the flame on high for 5 minutes. Lower to minimum and then leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Switch off and allow the rice to rest for another 10 minutes. (To see step by step procedure on how to put biryani on dum, you may refer to this post.)

Take off the lid and the foil. Mix with soft hands, using a ladle with a long handle to mix the rice and masala. Serve warm with some raita, pickle and papad!

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