Indian food is delicious, and South Indian food is amazing, but do you know what’s extra special? The Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad chicken biryani is a popular and flavorful rice dish that originates from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu in south India. It is an integral part of this region’s cuisine and is frequently served at special occasions and celebrations. So today, let me share this delicious Chettinad chicken biryani recipe with you that anyone can make in their kitchen.
This dish has a variety of aromatic spices and herbs, such as star anise, bay leaf, fennel seeds, green cardamom, black cardamom, mint leaves, and curry leaves, which give it a distinct and flavorful aroma. This recipe typically requires marinated chicken, seeraga samba rice, and a smooth paste of ginger, garlic, and green chilies. The rice is cooked with whole spices, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and garam masala etc. It is finished with a generous amount of coconut milk, which adds richness and a subtle sweetness to the dish.
Chettinad chicken biryani tastes great with onion raita or cucumber raita, which helps to balance the spicy and aromatic flavors. You can enjoy it as a main course, or as part of a larger meal with other dishes.
You can make Chettinad chicken biryani in a pressure cooker, instant pot, or large pan on the stove top. It is a relatively simple recipe that can easily adapt to different taste preferences, making it a popular choice for both home cooks and professional chefs. Whether you’re an experienced cook or trying biryani for the first time, this delicious and aromatic dish is sure to become a favorite in your kitchen.
Ingredients For Chettinad Chicken Biryani
Bay leaves, green and black cardamoms, cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds, and curry leaves contribute to the overall flavor and aroma of the dish. Fry these spices in oil or ghee at the beginning of cooking. This will release their essential oils and infuse the dish with their characteristic flavors.
Sautéed Vegetables and Aromatics
The sautéed vegetables and aromatics add flavor and texture to the dish. This includes onions, green chillies, ginger garlic paste, and tomatoes. These ingredients meld with the spices to create a complex and aromatic base for the biryani.
The marinated chicken is an important component of the dish, adding flavor and protein. The lemon juice helps to tenderize the chicken and adds a tangy flavor.
Rice and liquid
The rice and liquid contribute to the texture and flavor of the dish. You can use seeraga samba rice (or basmati rice) and coconut milk. Soak the rice in water before cooking to help it cook evenly and become fluffy. The coconut milk adds a rich and creamy flavor to the biryani.
Finally, the garnishes, including coriander and mint leaves, add freshness and flavor to the dish. Add them just before serving to add a burst of fresh flavor.
Cooking Directions For Chettinad Chicken Biryani
Biryani and especially Chettinad style biryani can seem intimidating and overwhelming if you are a new cook. It is mostly because it is based on so many steps and involves so many ingredients. However, if you cook it two or three times, the process will fall into a rhythm, and it will become second nature. So, first, breathe and trust the process. We can master it together with these easy step by step instructions with pictures.
Let’s do this!
First, you need to wash the rice and soak it in enough water for about 15-20 minutes.
In the preparation process, cut slits in the chicken pieces and marinate it in freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt.
Now place a pot on medium heat with the lid off and add the oil and ghee.
Once the oil and ghee are hot, add the whole spices (bay leaves, green and black cardamoms, cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds, curry leaves) and fry them for a few seconds until fragrant. Do not burn them, or they will lose their flavor.
Next, add the chopped onions and fry them until they are a nice golden brown color.
Then add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and fry them for a minute.
Now add a sliced tomato and cook it for about a minute until the tomato juices begin to ooze.
Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt and stir in well.
Now add the marinated chicken pieces to the pot and fry for a few minutes to coat them with the masala.
Once the chicken is in, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes. If there is not enough liquid in the pan, make sure you add some water because you want to prevent the spice from burning.
At this point, add the soaked and drained rice, coconut milk, and the required amount of water (about 4 cups).
Stir well to combine and bring to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, turn the burner to low, cover the pot, and let it cook until the biryani is ready. The cooking time will vary depending on your altitude, but is usually 18-20 minutes. You are aiming for a moist, but not wet, final dish. You want your biryani to be fluffy and not soupy.
Fluff the biryani with a fork. Garnish with coriander leaves and mint leaves.
Serve the delicious Chettinad chicken biryani hot with onion raita or cucumber raita
There are many delicious and creative ways to serve Chettinad chicken biryani. Here are a few serving suggestions to consider:
As a main course: Chettinad chicken biryani is a filling and flavorful dish that you can enjoy as a main course on its own. Simply serve it with a side of raita or yogurt and a salad or vegetables for a complete meal.
With sides: Chettinad chicken biryani pairs well with a variety of side dishes, such as vegetable curries, dals, or paneer dishes. You can also serve it with grilled or roasted vegetables, or with a refreshing cucumber or tomato salad.
As a party dish: Chettinad chicken biryani is a great choice for gatherings and parties, as it can be easily made in large quantities and served to a crowd. You can serve it as a main course or as part of a larger spread of dishes.
As a lunch or dinner option: Chettinad chicken biryani is a perfect choice for a hearty and flavorful lunch or dinner. It can be served with a side of raita or yogurt and a salad or vegetables for a well-rounded meal.
With traditional accompaniments: In South India, chettinad chicken biryani is often served with traditional accompaniments such as pickles, papadums, and chutneys. These condiments add a burst of flavor and help to balance the rich and aromatic flavors of the biryani.
Storing Chettinad Chicken Biryani
If you have leftovers of Chettinad chicken biryani, it is important to store them properly to ensure that the dish stays fresh and safe to eat. Here are some tips on how to store Chettinad chicken biryani:
Allow the biryani to cool completely: It is important to allow the biryani to cool completely before storing it, as storing hot food can cause the container to become compromised or allow bacteria to grow.
Transfer the biryani to an airtight container: Once the biryani has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container. This will help to prevent contamination and keep the biryani fresh for longer.
Refrigerate or freeze the biryani: If you plan to eat the biryani within the next few days, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. Simply place the container in the refrigerator, and it should stay fresh for 3-4 days. If you won’t be able to eat the biryani within this time frame, it can be frozen for longer storage. Simply transfer the biryani to a sealable plastic bag or container and place it in the freezer.
Reheat the biryani carefully: When you’re ready to eat the biryani, be sure to reheat it thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. The best way to reheat the biryani is to transfer it to a pot on the stove and heat it over medium heat until it is fully heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave the biryani, making sure to cover it with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.