Thalassery Biryani Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5 People
  • Onions, sliced evenly- thin and long- 7
  • Oil- enough to fry onions (for more flavor, use half oil and half ghee)
For making Garam Masala
  • Cardamom whole- 4
  • Cloves whole- 3
  • Cinnamon whole- 3 inch slice
  • Ground Nutmeg- ¼ tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder- ¼ tsp
To grind
  • Ginger, chopped- 3 inch
  • Garlic, chopped- 4 large cloves
  • Green chilies- 6 to 8 (based on your spice level)
Making Chicken Masala
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 7
  • Chicken, bone-in- 10 pieces
  • Mint leaves, chopped- 10 leaves
  • Cilantro, chopped- ¼ cup
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
For cooking Rice
  • 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- 1½ tsp
  • Water- 3 cups (to cook in rice cooker) & 4½ cups on stovetop
Other ingredients
  • Cashew nuts, roasted- ½ cup
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handfuls
  • Fresh Mint leaves, chopped- 5 leaves
  • Saffron- 2 pinches soaked in ¼ cup milk
  1. Slice the onions evenly to thin long slices, or use a food processor and use the slicer blade to slice onions.
  2. Place a frying pan over medium heat, add oil or use half oil and half ghee, 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.
  3. Keep aside the fried onions.
  4. In a blender, blend the ingredients mentioned above for making the garam masala and keep aside.
  5. In a blender or food processor, grind the ginger, garlic and green chilies, keep aside.
Cooking the Rice
  1. For making this biryani, Kaima rice or jeerakasala rice is used. If not use Basmati rice.
  2. Soak the rice in water for 15 minutes. After that, add the rice onto a strainer & rinse under running water.
  3. Place a large saucepan over medium heat.
  4. For stovetop cooking in a saucepan for 2½ cups rice, 4½ cups water is required.
  5. Add the water, whole spices, salt & ghee to the saucepan.
  6. Let water come to a slight boil.
  7. Add the soaked & rinsed rice to the water.
  8. Cook covered for 15 minutes till rice has almost cooked & the water has dired off.
  9. Do not over cook the rice.
  10. In the rice cooker, don't need to add too much water. For 2½ cups rice, 3½ cups water should be enough.
  11. After the rice has cooked well, remove the pan from the heat and Keep the rice covered
Making the Chicken Masala
  1. Place a large pan or wok over medium heat, add the chopped tomatoes, let cook and turn slightly mashed up around 10 minutes.
  2. Add the ground ginger, garlic and green chilies, combine well and cook for 10 minutes ill the raw smell goes away.
  3. Add the mint leaves, combine well.
  4. Add chicken pieces, season with salt and the prepared garam masala.
  5. Combine well.
  6. Cook covered for 15 minutes.
  7. After the chicken has half cooked.
  8. Add ¾ th of the fried onions to the chicken (keep aside the remaining fried onions- will be used for topping the biryani).
  9. Combine well and cook covered for another 10 to 15 minutes so that the flavor of fried onions gets into the cooked chicken.
  10. Let the chicken cook well.
  11. If the masala is getting dried, you can add 2 to 3 tbsp water and cook.
  12. At this point, the masala will have a nice caramelized color & will turn aromatic.
  13. Add chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Combine well.
  14. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  15. Make sure the chicken masala is not watery. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Layering the chicken-rice and Dum Cooking
  1. In a bowl, soak the saffron in ¼ cup milk and keep aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Evenly spread the chicken masala as the bottom layer of the pan.
  3. Spread the cooked rice over the chicken masala.
  4. Drizzle the saffron milk over the rice.
  5. Spread the remaining fried onions, chopped mint, chopped cilantro and cashew nuts over the rice.
  6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place a lid or round pizza pan over the pan.
  7. Place the pan over very low heat and dum cook for 10 minutes.
  8. You could also dum cook in the 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.
  9. After 10 minutes of dum cooking, remove the pan from the heat or oven.
  10. Let cool down for a few minutes.
  11. Serve the biryani along with raita, pickle or pappad.
  12. 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.
Plan & Make Ahead: Fried onions can be made ahead of time- the previous day & store in an air tight containes.
Garam masala can be made ahead of time- the previous day & store in an air tight container.
Ground the ginger/garlic/green chilies the previous day & store in the refrigerator.
This way, it will be much easier to make this biryani.
Recipe by Cooking with Thas - Healthy Recipes, Instant pot, Videos by Thasneen at