Kozhikode Biryani Recipe

Kozhikode Biryani, a culinary masterpiece from the Malabar region of Kerala, is renowned for its rich flavors and aromatic spices. This delightful biryani, crafted with basmati rice, tender chicken, and a blend of whole spices, is perfect for any special occasion. Although it takes about an hour to prepare, the result is a mouth-watering dish that is well worth the effort. Let’s explore how to make this delectable Kozhikode Biryani step-by-step.


Ingredients for Kozhikode Biryani

For the Biryani Masala (Serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 green cardamoms
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 1/4 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 3 1/4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 1/4 cloves

For the Marinade

  • 600 grams chicken
  • 3/4 cup yogurt (curd)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons biryani masala powder (from above)
  • 6 1/2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 1/4 green chillies (chopped)
  • 3/4 small piece of ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • Salt to taste

For the Biryani

  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 medium onions (sliced)
  • 3/4 medium tomato (chopped)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 3 1/4 star anise
  • 3 1/4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 1/4 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 3/4 bay leaf
  • 3/4 teaspoon rose water
  • Water as required

For Garnishing

  • 8 cashews
  • 8 raisins
  • 3 1/4 coriander leaves (chopped)

Preparation Steps

  • Step 1: Prepare the Biryani Masala:

Begin by roasting the whole spices (green cardamom, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin seeds, star anise, mace, cinnamon, and cloves) in a pan over medium heat until they release their aroma. Once roasted, allow them to cool slightly before grinding them into a fine powder using a spice grinder. Store this biryani masala in an airtight container for later use.

  • Step 2: Marinate the Chicken:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken pieces with yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric powder, biryani masala, minced garlic, chopped green chillies, minced ginger, poppy seeds, and salt. Mix vigorously to make sure that the marinade evenly coats the chicken. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate.

  • Step 3: Prepare the Rice:

Wash the basmati rice well under running water until the water is clear. For almost half an hour, soak the rice in water. Drain the rice and set aside. Pour water into a big saucepan and let it to a boil. Pour in the soaked rice and some pinch of salt. Cook the rice until it is 70% done (the grains should still be firm). Drain the rice and set aside.

  • Step 4: Fry the Onions and Nuts:

Heat the ghee in a pan over a low flame. Add the onion slices and cook until they become crispy and golden brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set them aside on a paper towel to drain excess oil. In the same pan, fry the cashews and raisins until they are golden brown. Remove and set aside.

  • Step 5: Cook the Chicken Masala:

In a large, deep pan, heat coconut oil over medium flame. Add the star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and black pepper powder. When the spices become aromatic, add the chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, minced ginger, and minced garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes are soft. Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade, turmeric powder, salt, and biryani masala. Stir well to combine. Add mint and coriander leaves. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the chicken pieces are tender and fully cooked.

  • Step 6: Layer the Biryani:

In a large, heavy-bottomed vessel, start by spreading a layer of the partially cooked rice. Top this with a portion of the fried onions, cashews, and raisins. Add a layer of the chicken masala. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of rice on top. Drizzle rose water over the top layer.

  • Step 7: Dum Cooking:

Cover the vessel with a tight-fitting lid. If the lid is not tight enough, seal it with dough to prevent steam from escaping. Cook the biryani on low heat for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the rice to absorb the moisture from the chicken masala. This process, known as “dum cooking,” ensures that the biryani is aromatic and flavorful.

  • Step 8: Serve the Biryani:

Once the biryani is done, gently fluff the rice with a fork, being careful not to break the grains. Serve the Kozhikode Biryani hot, garnished with the remaining fried onions, cashews, and raisins. This biryani pairs beautifully with raita, green chutney, or even a hearty chicken curry.

Tips for the Perfect Kozhikode Biryani

  • Quality Ingredients:

Using fresh and high-quality ingredients, especially whole spices, makes a significant difference in the final flavor of the biryani.

  • Even Cooking:

Ensure that the rice is only partially cooked before layering it with the chicken masala. This prevents the rice from becoming mushy during the final cooking process.

  • Layering:

Proper layering is crucial for a well-balanced biryani. Make sure to distribute the fried onions, nuts, and chicken masala evenly between the layers of rice.

  • Dum Cooking:

Dum cooking allows the flavors to meld together, creating a fragrant and delicious biryani. Make sure to cook on low heat to avoid burning the bottom layer.


Kozhikode Biryani is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is perfect for any celebration or family gathering. The intricate blend of spices, tender chicken, and fragrant rice creates a symphony of flavors that is sure to impress your loved ones. Follow these steps to create a delightful Kozhikode Biryani that will be the highlight of your next meal. Enjoy this traditional delicacy and share the joy of cooking with those you cherish.



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