Kerala Chicken Biriyani

Chicken Biriyani

Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: India, Kerala, South Indian
Keyword: Biryani, Chicken Biryani, Kerala Chicken Biryani
Servings: 8 people
Author: Maria Jose
Kerala Style Chicken Biryani. Chicken marinated in spices and shallow fried and cooked in flavor packed masala, layered with Basmati Rice.
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  • 900 gms Chicken measured after cleaning (refer notes)

For Marination:

  • 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Chilly powder
  • 1.5 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • Salt

For Masala

  • 5 large Onion finely sliced
  • 2.5 tbsp each Crushed Ginger & Garlic
  • 5 Green chilly crushed
  • 2 big Tomato sliced
  • 3 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Cashew nuts
  • Oil / Ghee
  • Salt

For Rice

  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 5 1/4 cups Water refer notes
  • 6 Cardamom
  • 6 Cloves
  • 2 medium - big pieces Cinnamon
  • 2 small - medium Bay leaves
  • 1 large Onion chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp each Crushed ginger & garlic
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Green chilli, crushed
  • 3 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • Salt

For garnishing:

  • 2 tbsp each Cashews & raisins
  • 1 large Onion sliced finely
  • 3 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 3 tbsp Chopped Mint leaves
  • Boiled eggs, for garnishing optional


  • Masala Preparation
  • Clean the chicken pieces and make small gashes. Marinate the cleaned chicken pieces with the marination ingredients and keep for half an hour.
  • Grind tomato & coriander leaves to a smooth paste. Check out Pepper Chicken
  • Soak the cashew nuts in hot water (2 tbsp) for 5-10 mins and grind it to a smooth paste.
  • Shallow fry the chicken pieces in oil/ghee till it turns golden brown & half cooked.
  • Add the finely sliced onion to the same oil/ghee (in which chicken is fried) and cook till it becomes brown. Check out Green Chicken Curry
  • Add crushed ginger, garlic and green chilly. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Add the tomato coriander paste and cook till the oil separates. Add garam masala and cook for a minute.
  • Add yogurt, salt and mix well.
  • Add the fried chicken pieces and combine well. Make sure that the chicken pieces are coated well with the masala. Add 1/2 cup water and cover and cook the chicken.
  • When the chicken is almost done and the gravy has dried, add the cashew paste. Cook till the chicken is done.
  • Rice Preparation
  • Clean, wash and drain the rice. Heat ghee and add spices(cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf). Fry for a min and add chopped onion, crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli. Stir well till it gives out an aroma, for 4-5 mins.
  • Add rice and stir for five mins. Check out Chicken Ghee Roast
  • Add salt, lemon juice and 5 1/4 cups of water. Bring the water to boil, reduce flame to lowest and cook till rice is done, around 7 mins. (refer notes)
  • Layering the Biriyani
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree 10 minutes before baking the biriyani. Apply some ghee to a baking dish. Put one layer of rice in the dish. Sprinkle some chopped coriander & mint leaves, fried onion, cashew and raisins (if using) and drizzle some ghee. On top of that spread some chicken masala. Repeat the process until the masala and rice is finished. The top layer should be of rice. Cover the dish with a wet cloth. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins.(refer notes for alternative method)
  • Garnishing:
  • Heat ghee/oil in a pan and fry the cashews & raisins. Remove them from the pan & in the remaining ghee/oil fry the onions till it becomes golden brown. Drain the excess ghee in a paper towel & keep it aside.
  • Garnish the baked biriyani with fried cashew, raisins, onions, boiled eggs, chopped mint and coriander leaves. Serve hot with pickle, raita & pappad.


I used 10 skinless thigh pieces of chicken for the biriyani. Also I’ve used only 5 1/4 cups of water for cooking the rice. Usually the water is double the amount of rice. But I prefer the rice not to be mushy, hence lesser qty of water. My rice was ready in 7 mins. The timing may vary depending on the brand. 
I skipped raisins. 
If you dont have an oven to bake the biriyani, do the following method. 1. Layer the rice and masala in a greased heavy bottomed vessel/non stick pan & cover it with a tight lid. 2. Heat a thava/dosa kallu, when it is really hot, place the biriyani vessel on top of that. Reduce the heat to the lowest flame & cook for 20-25 mins. Keep the heat at the lowest flame throughout, otherwise it might get burnt. 3. Also place a pan of boiling water on top of the biriyani vessel at the same time.