Biryani Chicken Indian Kerala Malabar cuisine

Malabar Chicken Dum Biryani Recipe – Aromatic & Flavourful Kerala One Pot Meal

Malabar chicken biryani is a flavourful and aromatic dish originating from the Malabar region of Kerala, India. This biryani stands out due to its unique blend of spices, preparation techniques, and the influence of Kerala’s rich culinary heritage.

Here are some key aspects of Malabar Chicken Biryani:

  • Spices: The biryani uses a distinct blend of spices that are characteristic of the Malabar region, giving it a unique flavour profile.
  • Rice: The use of high-quality, long-grain basmati rice or kaima rice ensures a fragrant and fluffy texture.
  • Dum cooking: This slow-cooking method allows the flavours to meld together, creating a rich and aromatic dish.

I made this biryani for Eid, every time I make biryani I try a different recipe. This time I followed Abida Rasheed’s Malabar chicken biryani recipe.

The preparation method is slightly different from the other kinds of biryani. Fried onions are added while cooking the chicken masala, the heat comes from the crushed green chillies added. Garam masala is the only spice added, I prepared my own version of garam masala by roasting & grinding whole aromatic spices.

I’ve used basmati rice, ideally kaima or jeerakasala rice has to be added. Soaked & rinsed rice is roasted in ghee & cooked in water till it turns fluffy.

Chicken masala & cooked rice are layered & topped with fried onions, saffron, mint, cilantro, roasted cashew nuts & raisins, dum cooked for 10 minutes.

After dum cooking, the biryani has to be kept covered for sometime to let all the flavours & aroma infuse in the biryani.

As we open this biryani its mesmerizing aroma will fill the entire house, drawing everyone toward the dish.

Malabar chicken biryani is typically served with raita (yogurt-based side dish), pappadam (crispy flatbread), hard-boiled eggs, and pickles.

This a mild tasting & lip smackingly delicious biryani, this biryani tastes the better the next day. Any leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator & enjoyed the next day.

Chicken Masala

After Dum Cooking

Malabar Chicken Dum Biryani Recipe - Aromatic & Flavourful One Pot Meal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5 People
Making Garam Masala
  • Whole cardamoms- 10
  • Whole cloves- 3
  • Whole cinnamon- 2-inch slice
  • Whole Mace- 1
  • Fennel seeds- ½ tbsp
To Crush
  • Garlic cloves- 6
  • Fresh ginger- 3-inch slice
  • Green chilies- 5 or based on your spice level
Making Chicken Masala
  • Oil left after frying onions- 3 tbsp
  • Ghee- 3tbsp
  • Chicken legs or bone-in pieces- 8 large pieces
  • Onions, sliced- 4 (I used yellow onions)
  • Crushed ginger-garlic-green chilies
  • Salt- 2 tsp
  • Tomato, chopped- 1, large
  • Fried onions- 1 cup
  • Garam Masala- 1½ tbsp
  • Yogurt- ½ cup, slightly sour
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- ½ cup
For Cooking Rice
  • Ghee- 3 tbsp
  • Dried bay leaves- 2
  • Whole cardamom- 3
  • Whole cinnamon- 1-inch slice
  • Mace- 1
  • Kaima or Basmati rice- 2 cups, soaked & rinsed
  • Warm water- 3½ cups
  • Salt- 1½ tsp (add enough salt while cooking rice)
For Layering
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Saffron- 10 strands soaked in 2 tbsp milk or water
  • Fried onions- 1 cup
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Mint leaves, chopped
  • Roasted cashew nuts
  • Roasted raisins
Prep Work
  1. Fry 2 thinly sliced onions in oil till they turn golden brown. Keep the onions aside.
  2. Save the oil that's left after frying onions.
  3. I've taken 4 large yellow onions, slice the onions even & thin.
  4. To a blender jar, add garlic, ginger & green chilies, grind to a coarse paste, don't make into a smooth paste.
  5. Green chilies will impart the required heat to this biryani so add more if you want this biryani very spicy.
  6. For making garam masala, I've roasted the above mentioned whole spices & fennel seeds till they got aromatic. Let cool down & grind to a fine powder. This can be made ahead of time & stored in an air-tight container.
Making chicken masala
  1. Place a large wide pan over medium heat, add the oil that's left after frying onion & ghee.
  2. Add the sliced onions, saute till onions turn translucent.
  3. Add the chicken, cook for a few minutes.
  4. When the chicken turns white add 1½ tsp salt & combine well, cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the crushed garlic-ginger-green chilies, combine well & cook till the raw smell of the garlic-ginger goes away.
  6. Add the tomato, cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add yogurt & cook covered till the chicken has almost cooked through.
  8. Add the fried onions, combine well & cooked covered till the chicken has cooked through.
  9. Add 1½ tbsp garam masala combine well & cook for a few minutes.
  10. Save 1 tsp garam masala, will be added while layering.
  11. Finally, garnish with chopped cilantro.
  12. Take the pan off the heat & keep the chicken masala covered.
Cooking Rice
  1. I've taken basmati rice, ideally kaima or jeerakasala rice has to be used.
  2. Soak the rice in water for 15 minutes, after that take the rice in a strainer & rinse well under running water.
  3. Place a saucepan over medium heat, add ghee.
  4. Add dried bay leaves, whole cardamom, cinnamon & mace; saute for a minute.
  5. Add 1 sliced onion, saute till translucent.
  6. Add soaked & rinsed rice, roast the rice for 3 minutes.
  7. For 2 cups rice, I've added 3½ cups warm water, combine well.
  8. Add 1½ tsp salt.
  9. Enough salt has to be added to the rice, otherwise the biryani will taste bland.
  10. Cook covered for 12 to 15 minutes till the rice has turned fluffy, don't over cook the rice.
  11. Take the pan off the heat & keep the rice covered.
Layering the chicken masala & rice
  1. Soak 10 saffron strands in 1 tbsp water for 5 minutes.
  2. Roast cashew nuts & raisins in ghee or oil.
  3. Have fried onions, chopped mint & cilantro ready.
  4. I've used the same large pan used for making chicken masala.
  5. Chicken masala has to be the bottom layer.
  6. Spread cooked rice over the chicken masala.
  7. Evenly spread 1 tsp garam masala over the rice.
  8. Add the saffron water, top with fried onions, chopped mint, cilantro, cashew nuts & raisins.
  9. Close the pan tightly with an aluminum foil & with the lid.
  10. Dum cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  11. After dum cooking, let the biryani rest for sometime.
  12. While serving, uncover the lid & gently combine the chicken masala & rice.
  13. Enjoy the mesmerizing aroma of this biryani.
  14. Serve the biryani on a plate, enjoy with raita, pappadam & pickle.




Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...