South Indian Biryani – With Homemade Biryani Masala

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Is there anyone out there who doesnt love a good biryani?Theres so many varieties of the Biryani. A few are as below

  • Lucknowi, or Awadhi, biryani.
  • Kolkata biryani.
  • Memoni biryani.
  • Hyderabadi biryani.
  • Malabar biryani.
  • Thalassery biryani.
  • Ambur biryani.
  • Dindigul biryani.
  • Sindhi Biryani
  • Shahi Biryani

As a kid I was teased by my family that I would run away with anyone who would offer a platter of Biryani so much so I would shyly agree. Oh yes, its my weakness. Even to this day. I love a good Biryani. Back home, in India it was so easy to order a good Biryani from those one-a-many Biryani joints. One of my favorites used to be Ammis and another was the Hot and Spicy Anjappars. I cannot speak any less of the Biryani we used to get at our office Canteen. A plateful of Biryani could ward off the Office Stress. Its more like an accomplishment I guess – having a good plate of it. Oh I can think up a million excuses to enjoy the dish, All lame off course. But then, I have to add Adelaide is not very Biryani friendly. I have tried 3 different restaurants and none comes close to home. Home made Biryani beats the ones from the shops anytime. If you’re visiting Adelaide you now know what to expect.

I made this Biryani with Biryani masala from scratch. Usually I use whole spices but this time I went all the way to make a Biryani masala.It turned out good. Long grains of rice soaking up the flavours and cooked to perfection. The recipe takes about 1 hour start to finish.Add another 10-15 minutes for Prep work If you’re well organised even quicker


Basmati Rice : 650 grams, soaked for 30-45 minutes, I used Daawat

Chicken : 1400gms with Bone. Marinate with 1/2 tsp Turmeric and lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Onion : 2 Large, thinly sliced

Tomatoes – 3 medium – Chopped medium

Green Chillies – 5-6 medium hot

Yoghurt/Curd – 3 Heaped tbsp if thick or 1/3 Cup( not too sour )

Oil – 60 ml

Ghee – 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp

Kashmiri Chilli powder : 1 heaped tsp

Fried Onions – 1.5 handfuls

For the Biryani Masala

To Slow roast and grind

Cardamom/Elaichi – 5

Cloves – 5

Mace : 1/4 tsp

Pepper : 3/4 tsp

Khus Khus/ White Poppy seeds – 1 Tsp

Pepper(whole) 1 Tsp

Coriander seeds – 2.5 tsp

Stone flower/kalpasi – few about 4 pieces

Cinnamon – 3 , 1 inch pieces

Fennel seeds /Sombu – 1 tsp

Cumin/Jeera – 1/2 tsp

For the Rice

Water – About 3 Litres

Star anise – 2-3

Saunf/fennel seeds – 1 tsp

Bayleaf – 2-3

Cardamom – 3-4


  1. Toast the spices for about 2 minutes and grind them to a fine powder
  2. Clean and Soak the rice in plentiful water
  3. Marinate the chicken cut to medium size with 1/2 tsp turmeric and juice of 1/2 lemon. Keep aside
  4. Finely slice the onion and separate between fingers
  5. Add oil, 2 tsp ghee and add the onions and green chillie
  6. Saute for a good 5 minutes till it turns slightly brown
  7. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for another 2 minutes
  8. Add the curd/yogurt and saute well
  9. Turn up the heat and Add the chicken. Mix the chicken so that the masala coats the chicken
  10. Lower the heat and add the Tomatoes
  11. Cook till the tomatoes are soft
  12. Add the Kashmiri chilli powder
  13. After about 5-7 minutes add the ground masala powder
  14. Toss the chicken in the pan so that it coats the chicken and cook till the oil separates in medium Flame. It should take about 20-22 minutes
  15. In the meantime bring about 3 litres of water to boil with 3 cardamoms, bay-leaf, star anise and salt.
  16. Add the rice and cook till 90% done. Drain completely. ( Very important to remove the starch from the rice)
  17. Remove half of the chicken and alter with rice add fried onions and fresh Coriander and Mint leaves
  18. Seal with foil and leave on a strong pan/gridle for about 15-20 minutes.
  19. Open after 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Serve. Enjoy.

Top 5 Secrets to making the perfect Biryani

  1. The Qorma /Korma or the Gravy for the Biryani- Needs to be saute’ed till the onions turn a lovely brown
  2. Using top quality Rice- soaking the rice for a minimum of 30 minutes and then draining the liquid.Removing the starch as much is required
  3. Use the freshest ingredients possible. Nothing off a jar – including the ginger garlic paste
  4. Slow cooking the gravy is the key. Till the Oil Separates. Do not rush the cooking process
  5. Rice to meat ratio is usually 1:1.25 , gets you a better result with 1:1.5

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