Kozhikode Koyi Biriyani (Calicut Chicken Biryani)

To celebrate this occasion, I found no better way other than posting this great Biryani from the Southern State of Kerala. Kozhikode Biryani, also known as Calicut Biryani, Thalasseri Biryani or Malabar Biryani is very popular in Kerala. This preparation differs from others in cooking, were Ghee (Clarified Butter) Is used in the cooking of rice to give this distinct aroma of Ghee. Nutmeg, mace, cloves, cinnamon and cashew nuts are used liberally in this preparation and are locally grown in Kerala.

Things You’ll Need
Basmati Rice1 – 1 kg
Chicken Thigh2 – 1 kg
Onion – 500 gm
Tomato – 250 gm
Ginger – 3 inch root
Garlic – 2 bulbs3
Ghee (Clarified Butter) – 10 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1 bunch
Mint leaves – 1/4 bunch
Green Chilli – 5 nos (adjust to sensitivity)
Lime Juice of 2 Lemons
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Cardamom – 5 nos
Cloves – 5 nos
Cashew nuts – 25 nos
Raisins – 25 nos
Salt – to taste
Rose water – 3 tsp
Saffron – few strands
Water – 1700 ml

Garam Masala for Chicken:
Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
Cardamom – 5 nos
Cloves – 5 nos
Nutmeg – 1/4 piece
Mace – 1 whole
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Black Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Eggs – 2 nos
Coriander Leaves – few strands

Golden Touch Mise en Place – [15 mins]

  • Clean and cut Chicken into bite size pieces.
  • Finely slice the Onions.
  • Chop Tomatoes.
  • Chop and crush green Chillies.
  • Wash and chop the Coriander and Mint leaves; store separately.
  • Make a very fine paste of Garlic and Ginger.
  • Dry roast for 4 mins and grind to a fine paste the Garam Masala.
  • Soak Saffron strands in 2 tbsp Milk.
  • Hard boil Eggs.

Golden Touch Preparation: [1 hour 25 mins]

Stage One: Frying the Onion
Heat 5 tbsp Ghee in a non-stick pan. Fry Onions till they are golden and crispy. Strain and remove the crispy Onions from the hot Ghee. Layer on a tissue paper to absorb the excess Ghee. These crispy Onions are known as Bista in Kozhikode (Calicut).

Stage Two: Chicken

  1. Heat a non-stick pan and add Tomatoes. Saute for about 5 mins.
  2. Add Ginger-Garlic paste, crushed green Chillies, and saut for 3 mins till the raw taste leaves and you can smell the fine aroma.
  3. Add Chicken, Salt and 200ml Water, cover and bring to boil. Lower the flame and allow to cook on low flame for 20 mins. Stir occasionally.
  4. Now add of the Bista, Garam Masala, Lemon Juice and of the chopped Coriander and Mint leaves, cover and leave for 2 mins.

Stage Three: Rice

  1. Heat the left-over Ghee, fry the Rice for about 3 mins.
  2. Boil 1500 ml Water in a large deep bottomed pan.
  3. Add Salt, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves and Rose Water to the boiling Water, stir in well, add the Rice and cook till the entire Water is absorbed in the Rice.

Stage Four: Layering & Garnish

  1. In a about tsp Ghee and fry Cashew-nuts and Raisins for about 2 mins.
  2. In a large deep-bottomed, non-stick pan, spread of the Chicken, topped by Rice, spread evenly of the fried Onion, Mint and Coriander Leaves, Raisins, Cashew-nuts and a few drops of Saffron Milk.
  3. Repeat the above step.
  4. Cover. Seal with Flour dough all-around to make it an air-tight container.
  5. On very low flame cook for about 5 mins on fire.

Golden Touch Service:
Garnish with Coriander leaves and quartered boiled Eggs.
Serve hot with Dates Chutney and roasted Pappad (Poppadom)

1. Replace Basmati Rice with small grain Rice if available locally, this is used in traditional recipe. The Hindi word Basmati means fragrant, referring to the nutty flavour and aroma of this long grained Rice.
2. I prefer Chicken thigh as it has very high quality flesh when compared to the rest of the Chicken, plus it does not become rubbery like Chicken breast.
3. Bulb of Garlic usually contains between ten and twenty individual cloves of Garlic. When buying Garlic look for the smallest ones, that are firm with lot of dry papery covering. Avoid sprouting ones and ones that leave a dent when pressed with your thumb finger.

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