An ardent Chicken Biryani fan looking for a Biryani that is easy to cook and finger-licking in taste? Jump onto Kerala-style Pot Chicken Biryani regionally called Kalam Biryani. The opulent Biryani ups the game with some beautiful infusions including tempering of marinated and coconut oil-cooked chicken with fried onions and the rich toppings of ghee-fried cashews and raisins. The green chilli and garlic-ginger paste added to the simple chicken marinade of garam masala, turmeric powder, lemon juice and chicken pieces set an appropriate ground for juicy and spices-imbued chicken. The best part is that it does not require multiple layering, and both nearly-cooked chicken and rice are steam-cooked together in one pot to infuse the flavours seamlessly into one Biryani.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Biryani, Varieties Of Biryani And Kerala Biryanis

Biryani has covered a chequered journey from being known as a military dish to becoming a royal cuisine. Of the many legends around Biryani, the earliest is famously associated with Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur who is said to have brought the biryani's precursor when he arrived at the frontiers of India in 1398. The other story of the dish being brought to the southern Malabar coast of India by Arab traders is equally interesting. The most popular and widely believed legend says that Biryani was born when Mumtaz Mahal ordered the chefs to prepare a special dish that combined meat and rice to provide balanced nutrition to the soldiers.

Biryani has proliferated into numerous local and hyperlocal varieties in India. Some broad differentiation in the north and South Indian Biryanis are the use of long grain brown rice in the north while local varieties of rice, like the basmati, zeera samba, jeerakasala and kala bhaat, used in the South. Another prominent distinction is in the cooking method of Kutchi biryani where the meat is layered with raw rice in a pot and cooked, and Pukki biryani where cooked meat and rice are layered in the hand. The Kerala Biryani is characterised by the unique variety of rice called khyma rice, the rich flavour of spices, and the generous dose of cashew nuts and raisins. The other variations include Mughlai Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Calcutta Biryani, Dindigul Biryani and Lucknowi Biryani. 

Preparation: 1 hour 10 minutes

Cooking: 55 minutes

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken

  • 2 kg basmati rice

  • 3 onions 

  • 2 tomatoes

  • A small number of coriander leaves

  • 3 green chillies

  • 1 ginger

  • 5-6 garlic

  • ½ tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder

  • 1 ½ tbsp red chilli powder

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • 250 gms raisins 

  • 250 gm cashew nut 

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cardamoms

  • 1 cinnamon 

  • 3 cloves

  • Salt to taste

  • 4 tbsp oil

  • 2 tbsp ghee

Method:

  • Clean chicken pieces and keep them aside.

  • Grind green chilli, ginger, and garlic into a fine paste and keep aside.

  • In a large bowl, add chicken pieces, salt,garam masala, turmeric powder, lemon

  • Juice, 2-3 tsp of ground green chilli paste, mix it well and leave to be marinated for 10-15 minutes.

  • In a pan, heat ghee, fry cashews and raisins, fry it well, take out and set aside.

  • Then fry sliced onions in coconut oil until golden, and set aside.

  • In the same coconut oil add sliced onions and salt and saute well.

  • Then add green chilli and ginger-garlic paste into it and mix it well

  • Now add tomatoes and saute till they soften.

  • Add marinated chicken pieces, fried onions, and coriander leaves and mix. Cover and cook for 10-20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, wash the basmati rice well and soak it for 10 minutes.

  • In a pot, boil water with bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, and put it aside.

  • In another pot add ghee, then introduce half of the cooked chicken pieces.

  • Then layer this up with soaked basmati rice and spread uniformly.

  • Spread fried onions over it, fried cashews, raisins and coriander leaves over it. Add salt and pour the water boiled with whole spices over it.

  • Then heat a banana leaf, tie it on top of the biryani pot and cook for 8 to 9 minutes.

  • When the biryani is cooked, remove the banana leaf from the top and mix everything. Remove from heat and keep aside

Kalam Biryani with great flavours and satiety levels is worth a try. It is especially for those finding layering of rice and cooked chicken a bit of a task. Since this one requires you to do one layering each of chicken and rice and cooking everything together in the water-infused with whole spices.