Thalassery Chicken Biryani / Kerala Chicken Biriyani

Thalassery Chicken Biryani is a classic delicacy in Kerala. Biryani is a classic Indian origin dish famous all over the world. Chicken Biryani is everyone’s favourite; the flavour and aroma makes it irresistible and a hearty “all in one meal”. In India, each community and region has its own unique style of preparing Biryani. Thalassery Biriyani/ Malabar Biriyani, Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Lucknowi Biryani, Thalapakittu, Dindigal Style, Bombay Biryani, Madras Biryani are all different and incomparable. It is a wholesome meal and you can serve some appetizers like Minced meat rollChicken 65, Chicken fry, Squid fry, chicken cutlets, fish cutlets and serve this as main course alongwith some raita and Dates Lime pickle.

Biriyani can be made with any meat like Chicken, Mutton, Beef, fish, Egg or Prawns. Pulao made with vegetables, Mushroom or Paneer is also called as Biryani in India. You will like my flavourful Kerala Fish Biryani, another delicacy from God’s own country. In Kerala, there is another popular Biriyani called Kappa Biriyani prepared with Tapioca and Beef ribs. While making Biriyani, Rice plays an important part. Aromatic long grained Basmati Rice, Khaima/ Jeerakasala rice etc. are used according to each region. Cooking of rice is also important. It should be cooked most delicately so as not to break the rice.

All rice dishes like Biryani, Pulao, Ghee rice, South Indian rice dishes like coconut rice, Tomato rice, curd rice are popular in India. Do check my other Biryani recipes like Fish Biryani, Egg Biryani, Hyderabadi chicken Dum Biryani, quick biryani and Kerala Mutton Biriyani . The aroma and flavours make it a hearty meal and the taste stay in your tongue and mind for long. Thalassery Chicken Biryani has special spices that provides a distinctive flavour to the Biriyani and also uses Jeerkashala/ Khaima rice for preparation, which makes it unique. It is quite simple to make, and you can make extra Masala and store in an airtight container for later use. This is a real delight for all Biryani lovers. Kerala is famous for its Thalassery Biriyani and Malabar Biriyani. Here is my version of simple and easy Thalassery Chicken Biryani. Enjoy with your family and friends!

Time : 1 hour

Serves: 5


Ingredients for Rice:

Khaima / Jeerakasala Rice: 3 cups
Boiling Water: 6 cups
Onion: 2 nos
Cashewnuts: few
Kismis: few
Cardamom: 5 nos
Cloves: 5 nos.
Cinnamon stick: 3 nos.
Pepper corns: 1 tbsp
Bay leaf: 1
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Oil + Ghee: 3 tbsp
Salt: as required


Ingredients for Chicken Masala

Chicken: 1 kg

Garam Masala

: ½ tsp
Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: ½ tsp – 1 tsp
Salt: as required
Onion: 5 nos.
Ginger: 2” piece
Garlic: 10 – 12 cloves
Green Chilly: 10 – 12 nos
Turmeric Pdr: 1 tsp
Jeera (Cumin): two pinches
Perumjeerah (aniseed): 1 tsp
Sajeera (caraway seed): ½ tsp
Cardamom: 4 nos
Cloves: 5 nos
Cinnamon stick: 3 nos
Jathipatri (Mace): 1 full mace
Nutmeg: quarter of a nutmeg
Star Anise: ½ tsp
Tomatoes: 2 medium
Coriander + Mint Leaves chopped: 1 cup
Curd: ½ cup
Milk + Yellow food color or Saffron: ¼ cup

Step by step recipe for Thalassery Biriyani

  1. Wash and soak the rice in water for an hour. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil + Ghee in a pan and fry the cashews, Kismis and onions to golden brown, drain and keep aside.
  3. Pour oil and ghee in a non-stick Biriyani Pot (I use non-stick as the rice won’t break).
  4. Add Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Bay leaf, whole pepper to oil followed by rice. Fry the rice for some time.
  5. Add Boiled water, enough salt and lime juice and cover and cook on low flame till the rice is fully cooked and the water is dried. Keep it half open for cooling.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani) Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)

  1. Clean and wash the chicken pieces and drain. Marinate with turmeric powder, Chili powder (optional), Garam Masala and salt for an hour.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani) Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)

  1. Heat enough oil and ghee in a Kadai, add few curry leaves.
  2. Now add the sliced onions and sauté till limp.
  3. Grind Ginger, garlic and green chilly together; add this paste to onion and sauté for some time.
  4. In a blender, grind all Masalas – Turmeric Powder, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Perumjeerah, Jeerah, Shajeera, Star anise, Nutmeg and mace.  Add this to the onions and fry for some time.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani) Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani) Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)  Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)

  1. Now add chopped tomatoes and continue frying till they are mashed.
  2. Chop mint and coriander leaves and add to the gravy then add curd and salt.
  3. Mix in the marinated chicken pieces and combine well. Pour one and half cups water and mix well.
  4. Once the gravy starts to boil, cover and cook on low flame till the chicken pieces are soft and the gravy becomes thick.
  5. You may grind little coconut and cashews and add to the gravy to make a thicker gravy (optional).
  6. Once the chicken korma is ready we can start layering.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)  Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani) Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)  Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)

  1. Layer the rice and chicken in a thick bottomed Biriyani pot.
  2. Sprinkle the fried Onions, cashews and kismis and saffron milk in between. Top layer should be covered with fried onions and cashews and chopped coriander and mint leaves.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)  Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Kerala Biriyani)

  1. Cover, seal and cook it on a low flame for 10- 15 mts if you want to make dum. You may also cover it with foil and bake in oven for 10 – 15mts.
  2. Enjoy your Thalassery Chicken Biriyani with Raita, Pappad, Mango chutney and Lime pickle.

For Raita, chop Onion, squeeze and add chopped cucumber and a green chilly, add little grated carrot, tomato and add thick butter milk and salt. Sprinkle with coriander leaves.


  • Jeerakashala rice/ Khaima rice is used for Thalassery Biriyani.
  • Chicken Korma should have little gravy to mix in the rice. If required, add water to have enough gravy.
  • Use small tender chicken for best results.
  • You can add little colour to the rice by adding saffron strands to milk or adding little yellow food color.
  • Always prepare Rice first and allow to cool. It is important to cool the rice before layering so the rice grains stay intact.
  • The onions and tomatoes should be mashed nicely before adding the chicken pieces to the gravy.
  • Grind little coconut and cashews and add to the gravy to make a thicker Korma. It tastes awesome too!
  • Check how to make Garam Masala at home for the perfect taste.
  • If you are looking for an easier chicken Biriyani recipe, check Quick and easy Chicken Biriyani.

Have a hearty lunch or Dinner with Thalassery style chicken Biriyani . Enjoy with Mango chutney, Raita, Pappad and Lime pickle. God Bless!! 

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