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  • Tamil Style Chicken Biryani

    Posted on | August 16, 2009 | 39 Comments |

    I can hear the collective yawn already – No, not another Biryani recipe! Hasn’t she posted all the possible variations out there already? Well, no, I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Every time I make Biryani it turns out a bit different, so you should really thank me for not posting the hundreds of variations that I could. In fact every chicken or lamb curry recipe I have can be converted into a biryani recipe. But don’t worry, I promise this one is different, it is not just a slight variation of one of my already posted recipes, it is a whole new taste.

    I talked about my new favorite cookbook called Aharam by Sabita Radhakrishnan in a previous post. This biryani was inspired by one of the chicken curry recipes in there called Kozhi Velai Kozhambu aka White Chicken Curry. When I saw the recipe, the creamy cashew nut, yogurt and coconut based gravy sounded like the perfect candidate for a biryani base. So instead of making the curry and eating it with plain rice, I decided to combine the two into a biryani and the result was this delicious mild flavored biryani that looked different from my usual red/brownish looking biryanis. This one goes well with a spicy meat curry or it is good on its own with a spicy raita.



    • 1.5 lb chicken, cut into medium sized pieces
    • 1 cup yogurt
    • 1 can ((13.5oz) low fat coconut milk
    • Oil
    • salt to taste
    • 2 cups basmati rice
    • To saute and grind
    • 1/2 cup onions thinly sliced
    • 2 tbsp thinly sliced ginger pieces
    • 2 tbsp thinly sliced garlic pieces
    • 15 green chilies (I used Serrano)
    • 15 cashew nuts
  • To Dry Roast and Grind
    • 1″ piece cinnamon
    • 2 cloves
    • 4 cardamom
    • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • For Tempering
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 3 star anise
    • 1″ cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
  • For garnish
    • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
    • a few cashew nuts, halved


    Wash the rice thoroughly and soak for at least 30 minutes.

    Dry roast the ingredients under “To Dry Roast and Grind” and process in a spice mill or coffee grinder to a smooth powder.

    Heat 2 tsp oil in a large pressure cooker and saute the ingredients under the “to saute and grind” section till onions are soft, but not browned. Place this in a food processor, add the spice powder from the previous step, and the yogurt and process to a smooth paste.

    Marinate the chicken pieces with this paste and keep aside for half an hour.

    Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the ingredients under “For Tempering” section and saute till the onions are softened. Add the marinated chicken and saute till dry and the oil starts to separate.

    Add the coconut milk and salt and mix well and close the pressure cooker. Cook till the first whistle (when the pressure cooker has reached the full pressure) and switch off the stove.

    When the chicken is getting cooked, heat about 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions and cashew nuts for the garnish one by one, remove and keep aside. Add bit more oil and add the soaked rice and a little bit of salt and fry well.

    When the pressure cooker is cool enough to handle, open and measure the gravy in the chicken. We need total 3.5 cups of liquid including the gravy and water to cook 2 cups of rice. So if there is two cups of gravy in the chicken, add 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the fried rice along with the required amount of hot water to the chicken in the pressure cooker.

    Close the pressure cooker and cook on medium heat till the first whistle. High heat will surely burn the bottom of the biryani, so make sure it is medium heat. After the first whistle, switch off the stove and let stand till it cools down.

    Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the fried onions and cashew nuts and boiled eggs if using. Serve hot with raita and/or a spicy gravy.

    Check out my other biryani recipes:

    Mutton Biryani - Kerala Style Easy Breezy Chicken Biryani Tamil Style Mutton Biryani

  • Category: Chicken, Coconut, India - Tamil Nadu, Rice, Rice Or Biryani

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    39 Responses to “Tamil Style Chicken Biryani”

    1. Divya
      August 16th, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

      Wow..looks delicious the egg and fried onions garnish..:)

      • monkey
        August 31st, 2011 @ 6:28 pm


    2. Su
      August 16th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

      Biryani recipes are like shoes and bags…you can never have enough!!! Keep them coming :)

    3. Hb
      August 16th, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

      I can never get enough of biryani. It is raining and cold here today, your dish is killing me!

    4. Raaga
      August 16th, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

      I’ll never say enough is enough… I agree about stuff turning out different each time :)

      This looks delish!

    5. Meeta
      August 17th, 2009 @ 12:22 am

      to me you can serve biryani any time and almost all the time LOL! this looks great and as i am not very familiar with tamil cuisine i have to try it out!

    6. Nirmala
      August 17th, 2009 @ 12:24 am

      No no…not at all..I actually do’t mind so many biriyani recipes ;) But this one is definitely worth drooling atleast for 10 mins. I couldn’t take my eye off the screen for that long. Coconut milk is usually added to a veggie biriyani and this combo is definitely new. Did it taste tangy? The garnish is awesome :)

    7. sra
      August 17th, 2009 @ 12:41 am

      Even my everyday cooking has hundreds of variations – the result of forgetting, misreading instructions, adding before, after, or not adding at all :grin:

      My first chicken biriyani – made in a rush of arrogance after abandoning the cookbook – was so sick I went off meat for a few months. The Spouse and others liked it, though. I cooked raw chicken and rice in the rice cooker, it reeked.

    8. shilpa
      August 17th, 2009 @ 3:42 am

      Any biryani recipes are always welcome Sig. The more the better :) . U will try this.

    9. Ann
      August 17th, 2009 @ 5:25 am

      Yes Sig..this cant be seen as yet another chicken biriyani..a different version which I love to try..

      And the picture looks professional as usual !!

    10. Priya
      August 17th, 2009 @ 6:41 am

      Woww lip smacking dish! am drooling here!

    11. Mamatha
      August 17th, 2009 @ 6:41 am

      Don’t you worry Sig, I can never tire of Biriyani recipes! Infact, in your “If you could eat only 3 things, what would they be?” post, I mentioned biriyani as one of the dishes. This sounds similar to what my mum makes. Coconut milk is a given in her biriyanis, but sometimes she adds ground cashews too. Sauteing the chilis before grinding gives the biriyani a flavor like no other.

      I regret not buying Ahaaram in India. I hope you post more recipes from the book.

    12. Rina
      August 17th, 2009 @ 7:03 am

      Biriyani of any kind or combo is irressitable..this is a nice variation w/ mild flavours..

    13. elra
      August 17th, 2009 @ 7:11 am

      I love making biryani as well, although it take a while to prepare it. It’s worth the effort. Look delish Sig!

    14. Srivalli
      August 17th, 2009 @ 8:48 am

      heheh…I can already see waiting eagerly for us to say no no… :lol: but you are right…I am always ready to try another one…and this one looks really delicious ..

    15. Soma
      August 17th, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

      This is different to me:-) I have never used coconut milk in biryani.

      I cannot profess my love for biryani enough, i could eat it any time any number of time & never get bored. & i usually eat a LOT when it is briyani. the caramelized onions blend in to give the final touch don’t they? I am drooling.

    16. cheffresco
      August 17th, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

      This looks delicious! I want some biryani!

    17. Miri
      August 18th, 2009 @ 12:35 am

      Nothing like a good South Indian biryani I say – so bring on all your versions :) and with versions as good as these, no one would be bored!

      I usually finish off my biryanis on the stove top itself – doesn’t burn or get mushy and at the same time the slow cooking steeps the rice and chicken with the flavour of the spices. MIl on the other hand chooses to finish biryanis in the electric cooker…..I find that it dries out the rice a tad too much sometimes…

    18. Arch
      August 18th, 2009 @ 1:33 am

      Too many recipes of biryani ? Nah ! That cant happen. I made a chettinad chicken curry last week and then the remaining went into the deep freeze. On sunday, I added basmati rice to this chicken curry, poured in half a can of coconut milk and cooked in in the biryani handi. Topped it with fried onions and cashews – turned super good !!

    19. Shantanu
      August 18th, 2009 @ 3:44 am

      Oh, I can never have enough biryanis. This one’s nice and creative.

    20. Parita
      August 18th, 2009 @ 8:34 am

      Eeven though i am veggie, i must say that dish looks really exotic and mouth watering!

    21. Sujyothi
      August 18th, 2009 @ 9:33 am


      Congratulations on your fabulous site!! you really make some yummy dishes and also know how to present them well :) I must say you have a brilliant camera as well :)
      Although i am an eggetarian, i loved this recipe for its simplicity!

      Keep up the great work!

      Wish you good luck!



    22. A&N
      August 18th, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

      I’m going to vegetarianize this :P

    23. Pravs
      August 18th, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

      I will never get tired of biriyani’s non -veg ones. So keep them coming :razz:

    24. Lakshmi
      August 19th, 2009 @ 5:31 am

      aah…just the sight of biryani makes me want to eat! never get tired of any types or variations of biryani!! Yours looks awesome.

    25. Poornima
      August 19th, 2009 @ 9:17 am

      Heyy…ur egg and cottage cheese breakfast muffins , picture and recipe has been posted here –

      Was just wondering if ur aware of this.

    26. Anonymous
      August 19th, 2009 @ 11:38 am

      plagiarism : please check the following link. Some one is stealing your recipes.
      She is stealing many recipes from bloggers.

      U have a wonderful blog. Biryani looks delicious. Take care.

    27. Cynthia
      August 21st, 2009 @ 5:10 am

      I have all your biryani recipes bookmarked. It is time for me to do something about it. Oh, I don’t know – like make one of them! :)

    28. nags
      August 23rd, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

      the best part is that garnish!! my mom made a very similar one yesterday.

      psstt.. i am in kottayam :D

    29. susan from food blogga
      August 25th, 2009 @ 11:10 am

      I have never seen it with hard boiled eggs before. I’m not yawning. I’m oohing and aahing. :grin:

    30. mathew
      September 14th, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

      i should try this one..i can impress my tamil friends with this!! :grin:

    31. subz
      June 2nd, 2010 @ 10:51 am

      I made this biryani today and it was amazing…thanks so much for the recipe :)

    32. Shalini unnikrishnan
      December 24th, 2010 @ 7:00 am

      Nice recipe, sounding very tasty, I will also try it.

    33. Asthi
      July 30th, 2011 @ 11:09 am

      Aiyo…………! Its 1. A.M in the night here and i keep telling my self that i need to log off but each recipe that you have posted seems better than the last!!!!!!!!!! :) Super cool. Most of the Tamil recipes have a slight connection with the Jaffna Tamil recipes of Sri Lanka but i find a strong kerala influence as well. You should check out some of those recipes.

    34. Mini
      November 24th, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

      Planning to try this recipe today…..Is your cup measure just about any cup – like the rice cooker cup or is it the 8 oz typical measure?