A Biryani that is dear to the people in Thalassery- a town in Kannur district…
Hope everyone who celebrated Eid had a wonderful celebration with friends and family. Honestly, I cannot think of an Eid without Biryani. A plate of biryani can bring so much happiness and celebration to me and to anyone who loves biryani.
Every Eid, I try to make a different kind of biryani. This Eid, I wanted to try one of the popular biryanis in Kerala- Thalassery biryani. Unfortunately, I haven’t tasted this biryani at any restaurants nor made by anyone from Thalassery. I came across the recipe for making this biryani in youtube, it’s an authentic recipe made in a restaurant in Thalassery.
There are three stages in making any biryani- making the meat masala, cooking the rice and Dum cooking. In this biryani, fried onions are used for making the meat masala. Yet another speciality is the rice used for making this biryani, Kaima rice or Jeerakasala rice is used, it’s a short grain rice that imparts an unique flavor and aroma and is widely used in Malabar region.
The fried onions gave so much flavor and taste to this biryani, I was truly blown away. This biryani will become dear to your taste buds too.
Cooked Basmati Rice
After adding chicken pieces
Adding fried onions to cooked chicken
Fried onion chicken masala
Spread cooked rice over the chicken masala
Topped with fried onions, saffron, mint, cilantro and cashew nuts
- Onions, sliced evenly- thin and long- 7
- Oil- enough to fry onions (for more flavor, use half oil and half ghee)
- Cardamom whole- 4
- Cloves whole- 3
- Cinnamon whole- 3 inch slice
- Ground Nutmeg- ¼ tsp
- Fennel powder- 2 tsp
- Cumin powder- ¼ tsp
- Ginger, chopped- 3 inch
- Garlic, chopped- 4 large cloves
- Green chilies- 6 to 8 (based on your spice level)
- Tomatoes, chopped- 7
- Chicken, bone-in- 10 pieces
- Mint leaves, chopped- 10 leaves
- Cilantro, chopped- ¼ cup
- Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
- Salt- to taste
- Kaima Rice or Jeerakasala rice- 2½ cups ( or use Basmati rice)
- Whole cardamom- 2
- Whole cloves- 2
- Whole cinnamon- 2 inch slice
- Bay leaves- 3
- Whole black peppercorns- 1 tsp
- Ghee- 2 tbsp
- Salt- a few pinches
- Water- 3 cups (to cook in rice cooker)
- Cashew nuts, roasted- ½ cup
- Cilantro, chopped- 2 handfuls
- Fresh Mint leaves, chopped- 5 leaves
- Saffron- 2 pinches soaked in ¼ cup milk
- Slice the onions evenly to thin long slices, or use a food processor and use the slicer blade to slice onions.
- Place a frying pan over medium heat, add oil or use half oil and half ghee and fry the onions in 5 batches till they turn golden brown in color. Transfer the fried onions to a kitchen paper towel and let it absorb the excess oil.
- Keep aside the fried onions.
- In a blender, blend the ingredients mentioned above for making the garam masala and keep aside.
- In a blender or food processor, grind the ginger, garlic and green chilies, keep aside.
- For making this biryani, Kaima rice or jeerakasala rice is used. If not use Basmati rice.
- I cooked the rice in a rice cooker.
- Add the washed rice along with the other ingredients mentioned above for cooking rice. While cooking in rice cooker, you don't need to add too much water. For 2½ cups rice, 3 to 3½ cups water will be enough. Cook the rice and Keep aside.
- Place a large pan over medium heat, add the chopped tomatoes, let cook and turn mushy.
- Add the ground ginger, garlic and green chilies, combine well and cook for a few minutes till the raw smell goes away.
- Add the mint leaves, combine well.
- Add chicken pieces, season with salt and cook along with ¼ cup water, cook covered till the chicken has cooked well.
- Add ¾ th of the fried onions to the cooked chicken (keep aside the remaining fried onions- it will be used for topping the biryani).
- Combine well and cook covered for 5 minutes so that the flavor of fried onions gets into the cooked chicken.
- Add the prepared garam masala, combine well and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Combine well.
- If the mixture gets too dry, add a few tablespoons of water and cook for a minute.
- Make sure the chicken masala is not watery. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- In a bowl, soak the saffron in ¼ cup milk and keep aside for 5 minutes.
- Evenly spread the chicken masala as the bottom layer of the pan.
- Spread the cooked rice over the chicken masala.
- Drizzle the saffron milk over the rice.
- Spread the remaining fried onions, chopped mint, chopped cilantro and cashew nuts over the rice.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place a lid or round pizza pan over the pan.
- Place the pan over very low heat and dum cook (dum means to breathe in) for 10 minutes.
- You could also dum cook in an oven- preheat the oven to the lowest oven temperature, layer the chicken masala and rice and other ingredients in a deep dish, cover with aluminum foil and place it on the lower rack and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes of dum cooking, remove the pan from the heat or oven.
- Let cool down for a few minutes.
- Serve the biryani along with raita, pickle or pappad.
- Remember, biryani tastes better the next day. You could cook this the previous night and keep in the refrigerator. Microwave or steam cook before serving.