thalassery biriyani recipe

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani – Dum Biryani





35 min


25 min


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Thalassery Chicken Biriyani –  Dum Biryani

One of the best dishes ever!

Please read through the entire recipe before you begin.

Do not let the number of ingredients, deter you. They are mostly spices and are repeated in the different sections of List of Ingredients.

The Recipe Intro includes the Video on how to make Thalassery Chicken Biriyani –  Dum Biryani. Check it out.

read the recipe introduction 300x81 Thalassery Chicken Biriyani Dum Biryani

This recipe has been copied by many unscrupulous bloggers as well as youtubers without any reference to my original recipe, even using all my tips and special additions. I do not wish to do a public name shaming like I have seen out there several times, but karma exists.
If you are sharing this recipe on your blog/page, kindly share the link to this page, instead of cut/copy etc.. All recipes are copyrighted material.
thalassery biriyani x 300x199 Thalassery Chicken Biriyani Dum Biryani

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani – Dum Biryani

Ingredients: For Chicken Masala

  • 1 kg ‏chicken, skin removed - cut to medium large pieces
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp ‏dalda / vanaspati / vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups ‏sliced onion
  • ½ cup ‏garlic ( I recommend using the Indian small variety of garlic for this Biryani - it makes a huge difference)
  • ½ cup ‏fresh ginger, chopped coarsely
  • 5 - 8 ‏small green chillies, adjust according to heat preference and de-seed if you want the heat to be be reduced but do not omit the chillies
  • ½ - ¾ tsp ‏turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ generous Tbsp ‏Special  Thalassery Biriyani Masala powder (recipe follows) 
  • 1 tsp ‏rock salt - rock salt is preferred
  • 2 large ‏firm and ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • a handful ‏of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • a handful ‏of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp ‏yoghurt
  • Juice of one ‏small yellow lime - about 1 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp ‏ghee  (clarified butter)
  • 2 Tbsp ‏thick coconut cream
  • ½ quantity ‏of the 'bista' Fried Onions - see method for garnish

For the rice:

  • 4 cups ‏Kaima Rice (Jeerakasala Rice)
  • 6 ¼ cups ‏water
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp ‏ghee
  • 3 small sticks ‏of cinamon
  • 12 ‏cloves
  • 6 ‏cardamom pods - bruised
  • 1 small piece ‏of star anise
  • a pinch of ‏fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp ‏salt - you can use rock salt or table salt

For Special Thalassery Biriyani Masala Powder:

  • 3 ‏cloves
  • 3 ‏cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp ‏fennel seeds / aniseed / saunf
  • black pepper corns ‏1 tsp
  • cumin / jeera ‏¼ tsp
  • ¼ tsp ‏caraway seeds / shahi jeera / persian cumin
  • ¼ tsp ‏nutmeg / jayphal
  • ¼ tsp ‏mace / javaitri 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp ‏kasa kasa / poppy seeds  
  • 2 ‏mild dried red chillies, seeds removed
  • a small piece ( a petal) ‏of star anise / chakraphool / thakolam

For the garnish:

  • 1  cup ‏oil or ghee for frying the onions.
  • 2 cups ‏very finely sliced onion ( USE A MANDOLIN slicer)
  • large handful ‏of cashew nuts
  • handful ‏of golden raisins
  • As needed, ‏fresh coriander

For the 'DUM':

  • ¼ cup ‏good quality rose water
  • ¹/8 tsp ‏turmeric powder
  • handful ‏of fresh coriander leaves
  • a sprinkling ‏of the special Thalassery Biriyani masala powder( which is left left over after adding to the masala)
  • A little ‏ghee
  • You will need to make a dough ‏of 1- 2 cups of wheat flour mixed with water to make a soft pliable dough to seal the lid of the pot.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani –  Dum Biryani


For the chicken masala:

  1. Clean and rinse the chicken pieces. Rub with salt. Rinse again and keep drained.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the fried garnish as well as the special Biriyani masala powder. Also chop and slice the fresh ingredients needed.
  3. Crush the ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste – using a pestle and mortar for best results.
  4. Slice onions and chop tomatoes.
  5. In a heavy bottomed vessel or cooker, add the dalda.
  6. Heat on medium heat till melted.
  7. Add the sliced onions and sauté, whilst stirring on high heat- till softened.
  8. Next, add the crushed paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies.
  9. Sauté till the ginger and garlic no longer emit their raw smell.
  10. Add the drained chicken pieces and toss well on high heat to coat the chicken pieces well with the sautéed ingredients.
  11. Once the chicken has turned white (no longer pink) and is thoroughly coated, add turmeric and the special Thalassery Biriyani masala powder. (1 ½ generous Tbsp of the ground spice – not all of it) .
  12. Toss well to distribute evenly.
  13. Also add the rock salt and the chopped tomatoes. Stir and cook briefly.
  14. Add the fresh mint and coriander leaves now, followed by the yoghurt and mix till the yoghurt disappears into the mixture.
  15. Pour the lime juice over the masala.
  16. When the masala is simmering, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  17. Open and add the ghee over the chicken masala. Stir gently.
  18. Cover again and cook on low for 5 more minutes.The gravy should be starting to thicken and the chicken should be tender.
  19. Gently remove the pieces of chicken from the gravy, using tongs and place on a tray.
  20. Reduce the remaining  gravy by simmering till thickened, stirring continuously so that NO BURNING/SCORCHING occurs.
  21. When the gravy looks right, add the coconut cream and stir through.
  22. Return the chicken pieces and coat once more in the thickened gravy – to get a wonderful coating on the chicken.
  23. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  24. When cooled down, take half the fried onions (BISTA– see section for Fried Garnish) and crush them with your hands to form a powdery texture. Add this to the masala as well. Stir to mix in.

For the RICE:

  1. Before you start cooking the chicken masala : Rinse the Biryani Rice once. Drain. Add a good spoonful of salt and rub into the rice. Scrub the grains gently but thoroughly. Rinse again thoroughly 3-5 times till the water runs clear. Keep drained for a while.
  2. While the Chicken Masala is being cooked, we can start preparing the rice.
  3. Bring the water to boil in a pot with a tight lid.
  4. Add the ghee. Stir.
  5. Add the drained rice and stir.
  6. Bring back to a boil and add the whole spices and salt.
  7. Cook covered on low with a tight lid, opening and stirring occasionally from the bottom.
  8. Cook till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  9. Fluff up the rice with a fork, immediately when done.

For the fried garnish:

  1. Heat oil or ghee for frying the finely sliced onions in a small wok.
  2. When hot, add the finely sliced onions and fry for around 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the slices stay separate. It may seem at first that the onions take some time to change color, but as soon as they start changing color, they will burn quickly so keep a close watch.
  3. Strain and keep aside in a metal spider strainer. This is better than using kitchen paper towel to keep the onions crisp.
  4. These fried onions are called Bista. Use half of this fried onion to make the   ‘crushed BISTA’ – see method for masala.
  5. In the same oil, fry the cashews till golden and golden raisins till puffed. Drain and set aside.

For the Special Thalassery Biriyani Masala Powder:

  1. Add all the whole spices except the kasa kasa, dried red chilli and star anise to a small dry pan. Toast on medium heat, stirring till the spices smell aromatic and are crackling well.
  2. At this stage add the kasa kasa and stir, followed by the dried chillies and star anise. When these smell toasted as well, remove from heat.
  3. Grind the toasted spices in a small mixer jar to a powder. Set aside.
  4. Note that a little powder might be left over after adding to the masala and sprinkling over the dum. Use the next time you make Nadan Chicken Curry.

On to the ‘DUM’ – sealed cooking method for Thalassery Chicken Biriyani –  Dum Biryani:

Now we will cook the chicken masala and the rice together in a sealed, steaming environment.

You need a pot, large enough to hold both the rice and masala and enough room for some steam to develop as well.

  1. Mix the rose water with the turmeric and set aside.
  2. Grease the bottom and sides very lightly with ghee.
  3. Add the chicken masala first, separating gently the chicken pieces away from the sides of the pot and towards the centre. ( We need this space to scoop out the chicken masala later, without breaking up the pieces.)
  4. Add ¾ of the the fluffed up rice over the masala, making sure the rice is thoroughly fluffed up to begin with ( no lumps ). See Notes.
  5. Gently press / pat the surface of the rice layer.
  6. Drizzle over some ghee, and ¾ of the rosewater solution.
  7. Sprinkle some chopped coriander and some of the biriyani masala powder.
  8. Top with the remaining rice (reserving a little to be sprinkled over each plating later – optional), drizzle ghee, remaining rosewater solution. Add some chopped coriander and fried onion, raisins and cashews.
  9. Mould the kneaded wheat flour dough into a thick rope. Press all around the rim of the pot and quickly press down with the lid to seal. make sure there are no gaps where dough does not seal the thin gap between the pot and lid.
  10. Place the pot over an old flat pan/ tawa on a medium flame and cook on this indirect heat for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and later cut open through the hardened dough and open the lid.
  12. Fluff up the rice on top without touching the chicken masala.
  13. Remove the rice to another wide mouthed pot / urulli and scoop out the chicken masala and place on the side of the rice.
  14. For each plate, serve with masala and rice to desired proportions and sprinkle some of the reserved rice over the top to give a more appealing lighter finish.
  15. Serve with salad and pickle. Enjoy!
  16. Do let us know if you tried it. We love to hear from you.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani –  Dum Biryani


  • Rose water is available at most indian grocery stores (do not confuse with rose extract or essence)
  • For the fried onion garnish, very thinly sliced onions must be used. It is advisable to use a mandolin slicer.
  • Sliced shallots can also be fried for the garnish.
  • The fresh herbs used in the biryani(mint and coriander) must be exceptionally fresh – especially mint – if your mint is not really fresh omit it. Using wilted mint will ruin the biryani.
  • If we were to double or triple this recipe,  the layering of the dum should be in several layers. ie. a layer of masala, followed by a layer of rice and repeat 2 or 3 times. For the quantity in this recipe, multiple layers is not required. However, it is good to layer some spice, coriander, ghee and rosewater solution  in between first and second layers of the rice.

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani –  Dum Biryani

Key Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chili, Yoghurt,  Mint, Coriander, Vanaspati, Ghee, Oil, Cashewnuts, Raisins, Spices, Salt.

Let us know if you tried it – Thalassery Biriyani –  Dum Biryani.

read the recipe introduction 300x81 Thalassery Chicken Biriyani Dum Biryani




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  1. I made this today. Our guests loved it. Thank you!

    • Hi Anu

      That’s awesome. Happy that you liked it! Thank you 🙂 Hope you will visit again.

  2. I loved the biriyani. Made it for the guests and they were so happy. Definitely making it forever!

  3. Avatar Anonymous 4 months ago

    Hi I made biriyani today. My family likes very much thanks for your recipe

  4. Avatar moly george 4 months ago

    thank you very much for your biriyani cookery .

  5. Avatar Resmi Midhun 3 months ago

    Thank uuuuuuuu soooooooo much…i made it and it tastes really like thalssery dum biriyani😊
    Could u pls share de recipe of vegetable fried rice

  6. Avatar Savitha 3 weeks ago

    Hi…this biriyani is simply awesome…no one will resist in having one more plate…..and the way you have explained makes any one to prepare this perfectly

    • Hi Savitha,
      Thank you so much for trying it and letting me know. I have received so many mails, messages and comments across various platforms for this recipe. I am happy that I shared it. Although it has been unscrupulously copied over many youtube channels and blogs,(Even down to certain tips and additions) I hope Biryani lovers will find their way to this page.
      It takes some encouragement like your comment today to keep posting my winning recipes( found through so much trial and error). These days I am posting less due to a lot of copying issues all over the place. Thanks a lot.. I will try to share more great recipes soon.

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