Craving for chicken biryani? Make this Chettinad chicken biryani at home and dig in!
Is there anything more comforting than a plate of chicken biryani? It’s the ultimate comfort food! Tender, flavorful rice paired with juicy, succulent chicken cooked in a variety of warm spices. YUM!
There are many different types of biryani out there. If you enjoy spicy food, then chicken biryani Chettinad style is for you!
I can’t imagine a better way to spend a lazy weekend than eating chicken biryani, sipping on some ice-cold Pepsi, and lounging on the couch. Absolute bliss!
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What Is Chettinad Chicken Biryani?
Chettinad chicken biryani is a South Indian dish that originates from the Chettinadu region in Tamil Nadu, India. Chettinad cuisine is well known for being spicy, aromatic, and flavorful.
It uses a variety of different spices and chilies to create mouthwatering dishes such as Chettinad chicken biryani and lamb Chettinad.
How Is Chettinad Chicken Biryani Different From Other Types Of Biryani?
You’ll find different types of biryani all across India. Every state and region has its own variation.
This biryani is made with peppercorns and dried chilies, so it’s quite spicy. It’s the perfect weekend treat for spice lovers!
Ingredients For Chettinad Biryani
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this biryani:
Chicken on the bone is great for making biryani, as it adds more flavor to the rice. I use 1 lb chicken drumsticks for this recipe, that’s roughly around 4 – 5 drumsticks. You can also use chicken thighs if you prefer.
This recipe uses a variety of whole spices, namely:
Chettinad cuisine often uses dried chilies. These chilies really pack a punch, so a little goes a long way! I use 2 dried chilies for this recipe, and it’s already pretty spicy. If you prefer a milder flavor, use just 1 dried chili instead.
Marinating your chicken with yogurt helps to tenderize the meat, and produces succulent drumsticks in your biryani. Just 30 minutes should do the trick, but you can even marinate your chicken for a few hours if time permits.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is usually the fat/oil of choice when making Indian biryani. It adds great flavor to the dish. To paraphrase a popular saying, you can never have too much ghee!
The base of most South Indian dishes is beautifully caramelized red onions!
This aromatic herb is a must-have for South Indian cooking! It adds wonderful flavor and aroma to the dish. You can usually get curry leaves at your local Indian grocer.
You’ll probably have to buy more than just the 2 sprigs needed for this recipe, so here’s a guide on How To Store Curry Leaves For A Long Time.
I use long grain basmati rice for this recipe, with a rice-to-water ratio of 1:1.5. It’s important to be exact about this because adding too much water can lead to mushy, overcooked biryani.
I love the fresh, citrusy flavor of coriander! Beyond just using it as a garnish, I add chopped coriander as the biryani rice is cooking to amp up the flavor. And of course, in the end, I garnish with a generous amount of coriander.
If it’s not already obvious by now, coriander is hands down my favorite herb!
How To Make Chettinad Chicken Biryani
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make Chettinad biryani:
Prepare the biryani masala paste.
Heat a frying pan on medium-low heat and dry roast the coriander, cumin, fennel, peppercorns, cardamom, and dried chilies for a few minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Once the spices have cooled, transfer them to a blender along with garlic, ginger, yogurt, chili powder, and turmeric. Blend the ingredients to form a smooth biryani masala paste.
Marinate the chicken.
Pour the masala paste over the chicken drumsticks and mix well to evenly coat all the chicken with this spice paste.
Set aside and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.
Soak the rice.
Wash the rice, and then soak it in 1½ cups of water for 30 minutes.
Cook the biryani on the stovetop.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a non-stick pot on medium-high before adding bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves. Fry for about 1 minute.
Next, add the chopped onions and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes. Add ½ tsp salt to help the onions brown faster.
On medium-low heat, add tomatoes. Once the tomatoes soften, add the marinated chicken and ½ tsp salt, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
After that, add the rice along with the water it was soaking in, 1 tsp salt, and chopped coriander. Mix well.
On high heat, bring the water to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes.
Let the biryani rest.
Turn off the stove and let the biryani rest for 15 minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork.
Garnish and serve Chettinad chicken biryani.
Finally, garnish with more chopped coriander and serve with raita on the side.
Pro Tips For Making The Perfect Chettinad Chicken Biryani
Making biryani from scratch may seem a little intimidating, but with a few pro tips, you can make delicious biryani right at home!
- Marinate chicken with yogurt. Don’t skip this step! Yogurt helps to tenderize the meat and produces succulent, juicy drumsticks. 30 minutes should do the trick, but you can even marinate it overnight if time permits.
- Cook the chicken UNCOVERED before adding the rice. Chicken tends to release moisture, so you want to cook it uncovered before adding the rice. This way, excess moisture evaporates before we add our rice and water according to the 1:1.5 ratio.
- Don’t add too much water. This will cause your biryani rice to be mushy and overcooked. Measure out the rice and water and stick to the 1:1.5 ratio for basmati rice.
- Let the biryani rest after cooking. For this recipe, I cook the rice on the stovetop for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the rice might still look a little wet, but if you continue to cook it, the bottom might get burned. To avoid this, turn off the stove and let the biryani rest (covered) for 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving. Let the residual heat do its magic!
How To Serve Chicken Biryani Chettinad
When it comes to biryani, having raita on the side is a must, especially for this spicy number! The cool raita compliments the spicy Chettinad biryani well. Here’s How To Make Raita For Biryani.
Also, here are a few curries and sides that would pair well with this biryani as well:
How To Store Leftovers
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
I recommend reheating any leftover biryani on the stovetop. Transfer the leftover to a pot. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of water on the biryani, cover the pot, and reheat on low for about 5 – 7 minutes or until heated through.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the secret ingredient in biryani?
Salt. Yes, biryani is made with a variety of spices, but salt is actually the most important flavor enhancer. If your rice lacks salt, your biryani will end up tasting bland even if the rice is tender and the meat is succulent.
How do you fix biryani with less salt?
Salt is an important flavor enhancer. Without enough salt, your biryani will taste bland. The good news is this problem can be easily fixed. If you need to add more salt to your biryani, just take some water and add some salt to it before pouring it over the dish. Mix well, so the salt is evenly distributed throughout the biryani.
Which oil is best for biryani?
Ghee, which is clarified butter, is the go-to oil for making Indian biryani. Ghee has a lovely nuttiness from the caramelization of milk solids. This makes it ideal for cooking and enhancing the flavor of biryani.
Which spice gives biryani flavor?
Biryani masala. You can buy ready-made biryani masala from the store, or you can grind whole spices like coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, peppercorns, and cardamom to make your own biryani masala at home. Dry roasting these spices before grinding helps to enhance their flavor.
Why do we put curd in biryani?
Using a curd or yogurt-based marinade with spices helps to make the chicken tender, succulent, and flavorful. Marinating chicken with yogurt for as little as 30 minutes can tenderize the meat, resulting in a delicious chicken biryani.
What rice is best for biryani?
Long grain basmati rice. This rice is soft and fluffy in nature. It’s also not sticky, resulting in separate grains when cooked, which makes it ideal for making biryani.
Why is my biryani wet?
This could be due to several reasons. Using too much yogurt in the marinade, adding too much water to the rice, not letting your biryani rest, and using a pot that’s too small for the quantity of biryani you’re making can all be contributing factors.
Why is my biryani dry?
Dry biryani could be because not enough water was added during the cooking process, or most of the water escaped as steam.
To prevent this, make sure to add the right amount of water for your rice and keep your pot covered when the rice is cooking. For basmati rice, you want to use a rice-to-water ratio of 1:1.5.
Is biryani healthy to eat?
It depends on how it’s made. Biryani usually consists of spiced rice and meat and is served with raita (a cool and light vegetable salad that’s dressed with yogurt). It has carbohydrates, protein, and fat (not to mention the vitamins and probiotics from the raita). So, biryani seems like a pretty balanced meal.
However, it all boils down to how the biryani is made. Using lots of ghee and red meat can make this seemingly balanced dish somewhat unhealthy and more suited for special occasions.
However, using less ghee and swapping the red meat for something leaner like salmon (to make this Salmon Fish Biryani) makes biryani a healthier option.
How do I soften chicken biryani?
Marinate the chicken with yogurt. This tenderizes the meat, resulting in succulent chicken.
Also, make sure to use the right amount of water to cook the rice. Too little water will leave your rice underdone, and too much water will leave it too soft and mushy. The right amount of water will result in perfectly tender biryani rice.
Which chicken is best for biryani?
Bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs are the best choices for biryani. Bone-in chicken adds flavor to the rice as it cooks, enhancing the taste of your biryani. Additionally, dark chicken meat (drumsticks and thighs) is more flavorful compared to white meat (breast) which is more prone to drying out.
Other chicken recipes to try
Chettinad Chicken Biryani
For chicken marinade:
- 1 lb chicken drumsticks
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- 4 cardamoms
- 2 dried chilies
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-inch ginger piece, chopped
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
For chicken marinade:
- Heat a frying pan on medium-low heat and dry roast the coriander, cumin, fennel, peppercorns, cardamom, and dried chilies for a few minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Once the spices have cooled, transfer them to a blender along with garlic, ginger, yogurt, chili powder, and turmeric. Blend the ingredients to form a smooth biryani masala paste.
- Pour the masala paste over the chicken drumsticks and mix well to evenly coat all the chicken with this spice paste.
- Set aside and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.
- Wash the rice, and then soak it in 1½ cups of water for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a non-stick pot on medium-high before adding bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves. Fry for about 1 minute.
- Next, add the chopped onions and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to10 minutes. Add ½ tsp salt to help the onions brown faster.
- After that, add the rice along with the water it was soaking in, 1 tsp salt, and chopped coriander. Mix well.
- On high heat, bring the water to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heatto low, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and let the biryani rest for 15 minutes beforefluffing the rice with a fork.
- Finally, garnish with more chopped coriander and serve with raita on the side.
And that’s how you make Anjappar style Chettinad chicken biryani! Biryani is often viewed as this intimidating dish to cook at home, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow this step-by-step, foolproof Chettinad chicken biryani recipe, and you’ll be enjoying delicious biryani at home in no time!