‘Kozhikode’ or Calicut (the anglicized name) is a coastal city in the state of Kerala in India also known as the ‘land of spices’. A visit to Calicut is not complete without enjoying the very famous Kozhikodan Chicken biryani! There are a couple of popular restaurants like Paragon, Saagar, Bombay hotel etc which serve this extremely delicious meal and sometimes the wait times at peak hours can be really long. It is however totally worth the wait! I learnt to make a version of this dish at home with inputs from friends and the internet and it tastes almost like it ! The main star ingredient of this dish is the rice used which is a special ‘jeerakasala’ or ‘kaima’ rice and this is a tiny variety of rice that enhances the taste of this dish . However, I use the regular Basmati rice which is easily available in the stores here in the US which also tastes good and comes close in taste! This biryani does not use red chilly powder and all the spice is from the green chillies and other dry spices.The traditional recipe has an off white color due to very little turmeric used .I did use turmeric in my preparation so you can see it has a yellow tinge. In my preparation, I also cook the chicken and rice separately and then layer them together. The traditional recipe calls for cooking the rice and chicken in the ‘dum'(steaming over coal) . The final outcome of my dish is very close to the original and usually loved by everyone who has had it. Hope you enjoyed reading about this special and popular dish and will try it some time . Please read on for the ingredients and the detailed cooking procedure 🙂 Happy cooking!
Kozhikodan Chicken Biriyani
A very popular dish from Kozhikode or Malabar with chicken and layered rice based on Malabar Indian cuisine
Its preferable to use Jeerakasala or Kaima rice for the authentic taste. I have however used Basmati rice. Other varieties of raw rice can be also used .It is preferred to liberally use ghee for biryani to get the authentic taste (I use a combination of ghee and oil ).Feel free to adjust the quantities and spices to your liking.
- 4 cups Basmati Rice
- 4 teaspoon ghee or Clarified Butter
- 4 tsp oil
- 5-6 cloves
- 3-4 stick cinnamon (small pieces)
- 2 bay leaves
- 5-6 cardamoms
- 1/2 an onion diced
- salt per taste
- 5 cups Water
For Chicken marination
- 11/2 pounds chicken
- 3 cups of yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1 cup mint leaves finely chopped
- 1/2 cup curry leaves finely hopped
- 3 medium tomatoes diced
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Biryani Masala (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp poppy seed paste
- salt to taste
To powder for marinade
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp aniseeds (perinjeerakam)
To grind for marinade
- 1 inch ginger
- 10-12 cloves of garlic
- 10-15 green chillies
For Chicken Preparation
- 4 tbsp ghee or oil
- 3 -4 small cinnamon pieces
- 5-6 cloves
- 4-5 cardamom pieces
- 1 nutmeg (jathikka)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tomato diced
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 onion cut into long thin stripes
- 10 cashews
- 10 raisins
- ghee for frying
- 1 sprig of mint leaves
- coriander leaves chopped
- Boiled Egg (optional)
- Wash the meat thoroughly with salt and lemon and drain water completely.
- Powder the ingredients in the “to powder for marinade” section .
- Grind the ingredients in the “to grind for marinade” section with minimum water .
- Add the powdered spices, ground paste and all contents in the “for chicken marination” section to the chicken.
- Mix well and marinate for about 2 to 3 hours in a referigrator
Rice Preparation and garnishes
- Wash the rice, drain and keep aside
- Heat a thick bottomed pan , add the ghee and oil
- Add the thin sliced onions and fry until crisp golden brown
- Drain and keep aside.
- Add the cashews and raisins ,brown it as well
- Drain and keep aside.
- The thin fried onions, cashews and raisins will be used for garnishing.
- In the remaining ghee and oil, add the spices under the “For rice” section
- Next add the diced onions and sautée
- After 2 mins add the washed rice
- Fry for about 5 to 7 mins until the rice turns opaque
- Add the salt and water and cook until done in a rice cooker
- Wait for the steam to be released and rice to be cooled.
- Next for the preparation of the Chicken , pour ghee and oil in a large deep bottomed pan
- Add onions and sautée it for 10 mins
- Add tomatoes and ginger garlic paste ,sautée for another 5 mins
- Next add the marinated chicken and fry it for a while
- Cook until the chicken is well done.
- Add some chopped coriander leaves and squeeze a little lemon.
Layering biryani and garnishing
- Next process is layering of the biryani, transfer the cooked rice into a serving bowl and garnish with fried onions,cashews ,raisins,chopped mint and coriander leaves
- Then add a layer of the chicken gravy and repeat layering with rice, chicken and again layer with garnish onions , nuts ,raisins, mint and coriander leaves.
- Gently mix so the gravy is evenly mixed into the rice.
- Squeeze half a lemon if you like (optional).
- Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves, boiled egg, and the remaining garnishes.
- Kozhikodan Chicken Biryani is ready to be served.
- Accompaniments that are usually served with this dish are fritters (pappad), yogurt salad, coconut chutney and pickle . Enjoy 🙂