Kozhikodan Chicken Biryani

‘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

  • Difficulty: medium-high
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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.


For Rice

  • 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

For Garnish

  • 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)


Chicken Marination

  1. Wash the meat thoroughly with salt and lemon and drain water completely.
  2. Powder the ingredients in the “to powder for marinade” section .
  3. Grind the ingredients in the “to grind for marinade” section with minimum water .
  4. Add the powdered spices, ground paste and all contents  in the “for chicken  marination” section to the chicken.
  5. Mix well and marinate for about 2 to 3 hours in a referigrator

Rice Preparation and garnishes

  1. Wash the rice, drain and keep aside
  2. Heat a thick bottomed pan , add the ghee and oil
  3. Add the thin sliced onions and fry until crisp golden brown
  4. Drain and keep aside.
  5. Add the cashews and raisins ,brown it as well
  6. Drain and keep aside.
  7. The thin fried onions, cashews and raisins will be used for garnishing.
  8. In the remaining ghee and oil, add the spices under the “For rice” section
  9. Next add the diced onions and sautée
  10. After 2 mins add the washed rice
  11. Fry for about 5 to 7 mins until the rice turns opaque
  12. Add the salt and water and cook until done in a rice cooker
  13. Wait for the steam to be released and rice to be cooled.

Chicken Preparation

  1. Next for the preparation of the Chicken , pour ghee and oil in a large deep bottomed pan
  2. Add onions and sautée it for 10 mins
  3. Add tomatoes and ginger garlic paste ,sautée for another 5 mins
  4. Next add the marinated chicken and fry it for a while
  5. Cook until the chicken is well done.
  6. Add some chopped coriander leaves and squeeze a little lemon.

Layering biryani and garnishing

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. Gently mix so the gravy is evenly mixed into the rice.
  4. Squeeze half a lemon if you like (optional).
  5. Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves, boiled egg,  and the remaining garnishes.
  6. Kozhikodan Chicken Biryani is ready to be served.
  7. Accompaniments that are usually served with this dish  are fritters (pappad), yogurt salad, coconut chutney and pickle . Enjoy 🙂

chicken biryani served!

Marinated Chicken

Onions being fried

Fried garnishes

Frying the rice

Chicken cooking!

Kozhikodan chicken biryani

kozhikodan Chicken Biryani

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  • Reply
    January 19, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Hmmm yummmy

    • Reply
      January 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Thank you so much Deepa!

  • Reply
    Dippy-Dotty Girl
    January 19, 2018 at 10:18 am

    How delicious your biryani looks! I am making a note of it so that I shall try it when I am back home, Nisha. xx

    • Reply
      January 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Thank you so much Dippy! I’m sure you will definitely love the Malabar version of Chicken Biryani and would love to hear how it turned out 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your stay and have a safe trip back!

      • Reply
        Dippy-Dotty Girl
        January 19, 2018 at 11:51 am

        I will and thanks my girl. I love Malabar everything, including the parottas 🙂 xx

        • Reply
          January 20, 2018 at 10:06 am

          Yes indeed Malabar dishes are to die for 🙂 very delicious, parottas are a favorite among many!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Mouth watering this looks! Must try! <3

    • Reply
      January 20, 2018 at 10:07 am

      Thank you so much Mallika! Hope you will try it some time , it is very delicious!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Biryani is ❤

    • Reply
      January 20, 2018 at 10:08 am

      Thank you so much Jyo!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Perfect for this season ✌✌

    • Reply
      January 20, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Yes perfect for this cold snowy weather here as well!

  • Reply
    Chris Riley
    January 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    I absolutely love a good biryanii. Can’t get my husband past curry in a gravy of some sort though.

    • Reply
      January 20, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Thank you for the comments! Happy to hear you love a good biryani. I love curries and gravies as well ,this biryani definitely has it’s own unique taste and flavor and am sure he will love it!

  • Reply
    a little Swiss, a little Canadian
    January 19, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Looks so delicious! 😍😋😋

    • Reply
      January 20, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Thank you so much ,this biryani has a unique blend of spices which makes it really different and delicious!

  • Reply
    Jyoti Rao :)
    January 21, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Abolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Reply
      January 22, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you so much Jyoti!

  • Reply
    Vidya Narayan
    January 29, 2018 at 2:21 am

    The Biryani at Calicut is indeed yum. During my trip in December, I happened to have the vegetarian version of biryani (which is more like a pulav) but the flavours of masalas were simply great.

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 11:26 am

      oh! Thats wonderful Vidya to hear that you visited Calicut and loved the Vegetarian biryani’s flavor and taste! Thank you for the comments!

  • Reply
    Anya Wangsuwan
    January 31, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Yum! That looks so tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you so much Anya! It is indeed a very delicious dish .

  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 1:19 am

    That looks so good!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Thank you so much Diane! It’s a very popular and delicious dish!

  • Reply
    Lily Kaitlyn
    February 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Looks very scrumptious and filling. A perfect all-in-one meal with great mix of ingredients. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Thank you so much Lily, much appreciated!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2018 at 9:16 am

    The aroma of biryani while it is being cooked is fantastic. I never tasted Biryani from kerala. I would love to try this recipe out.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Thank you so much Lisha, It is definitely worth the try you will absolutely love it, and yes the aroma is just awesome!

  • Reply
    Malabar Prawn (Shrimp) Biryani – InspiresN
    March 27, 2018 at 10:15 am

    […] the Malabar region in Southern India .I had posted the recipe of  the very famous and delicious Kozhikodan Chicken biryani couple of weeks earlier which was loved by many readers.The shrimp or prawn biryani is another […]

  • Reply
    September 26, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Did I miss your invite…The chicken Biriyani looks lip smacking and I loved your kitchen back splash too

    • Reply
      October 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks so much dear .Glad to hear that you love the recipe . I love the back splash as well 🙂

  • Reply
    December 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I have never put cinnamon in my rice….great idea!

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