Travancore Style Chicken Biriyani

Following yesterday's Pineapple Sago Kheer, I have to post a biriyani, right? Eid is never complete without a biriyani. How much ever tired we may be, we still put up a lavish biriyani lunch, which will be finally washed down by cups of paalu pizhinjathu...

This time, I am coming with you with a very interesting biriyani, which I had bookmarked ages ago, but once I got the chance to try it, I was wondering why I had not tried it earlier! The ingredient list may look really long - I mean, really really long, but believe me it takes more or less the same time as every other biriyani tastes and I must say that making the garam masala from scratch in this recipe makes it "a-must-try-at-least-once" biriyani!

Travancore or "Thiruvithankoor", if you want the tongue twister name in Malayalam, is the southern part of Kerala just like how the northern part of Kerala is called "Malabar". The major state is Trivandrum, which is our capital too. A visit to the lavish kottaaram or palace of the rajas, and the paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, are a must see when you go to Trivandrum. I had been there during the initial days of my marriage and after that, never got a chance to go there again...

Every part of Kerala has their own style of biriyanis, so this is the southern way of making it. I am hoping to explore more and more into the various styles. Till then, let me go straight ahead into the recipe...

Travancore Style Chicken Biriyani
Serves 4 - 6
Recipe adapted from here


For garam masala:
2 tbsp fennel seeds
12 cloves
2 inch stick cinnamon
4 cardamom
1 star anise
20 black peppercorn

For marination:
1200 gm chicken, cleaned and cut into medium pieces
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
3 tsp garam masala powder (above)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp yogurt
Salt to taste

For grinding:
6 cloves garlic
1 inch pc garlic
3 green chillies
6 shallots (cheriyulli)
2 cardamom
5 cloves
1 small pc cinnamon
2 bay leaves
6 pepper corn
1 star anise

For masala:
2 tbsp oil
2 meduim onions, thinly sliced
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala (above)
1 large tomato, chopped
4 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
4 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

For rice:
3 cups of basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
1 tsp ghee
1 small pc cinnamon
2 cardamom
4 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Salt to taste
Enough water

For dum:
2 tbsp ghee
1 large onion, sliced
10 cashews
15 raisins
2 tbsp garam masala powder (above)


Powder the ingredients under "for garam masala". We will be using this garam masala throughout the recipe. Put it into an airtight container.

Combine all the ingredients under "for marination" well in a bowl. Marinate overnight.

The next day, grind the ingredients under "for grinding' and set aside. In a deep pan, heat oil. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute till soft. Add in the powders and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the ground masala and curry leaves and saute till oil floats on top. If sticking at the bottom, sprinkle in some water. Add the tomato, coriander and mint leaves and cook till the tomato gets mashed. Now add the chicken along with the marinade and combine well. Cook till the chicken is almost done. Stir occasionally. Adjust the salt.

In another pan, boil water. As it starts to heat, add all ingredients except rice. Bring to rolling boil. Add the drained rice and cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

For preparing the dum ingredients, heat ghee in a frying pan. Fry the onions till browned and crisp. Drain onto a kitchen towel. Fry the cashews and raisins till done. Drain and set aside.

To do the dum, heat a chapathi tawa. For full details, you can refer to this post. Drizzle half the fried ghee at the bottom of the layering saucepan. Put a thin layer of rice. Dump all the chicken masala onto it. Sprinkle in half of the fried ingredients and 1 tbsp garam masala. Add in the remaining rice. Sprinkle in the remaining dum ingredients including the garam masala and the remaining ghee. Seal tightly using an aluminuim foil and close the lid. Keep on dum for 15-20 minutes and switch off. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Before serving, mix well with a ladle. Serve hot with pickle and raita.

For more non-vegetarian rice ideas, you can check out here!

Wishing all my esteemed readers a very happy Eid - TakabalAllah Minna Waminkum... May all of you have a wonderful time with your relatives and otherwise... I am hoping for a relaxed Eid, and especially since it would be falling on the weekend, we would lose out on our holidays, which is a sad thing. Do stay tuned for a special Eid guest post coming up this Saturday and then will catch up with all of you post Eid, InShaAllah... :)

Linking this post to Sadaf's Virtual Eid Potluck Party 2015...

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