Easy Chicken Biriyani -Kerala style / No ghee, less oil version

             Chicken biriyani is a world famous rich meal with chicken , flavored rice ,nuts and raisins……and I am saying no ghee hmm…..I know you will hate me for this .But when I say chicken biriyani , in terms of flavor and color  minus ghee and less work… I hope you will have the good heart to read till the end 🙂

Sooo.. this recipe is tailored to suit my requirement for a not so special day but an ideal Sunday lunch  .Try it, if u are ready to forgo some splurge then I bet you will never go back to the old extravaganza .

This biriyani stays good till the next day if u refrigerate it properly ( when it is fresh and undisturbed but not hot) and microwave it the next day by sprinkling some water on top. As no milk product like yogurt or ghee is used biriyani remains without going stale for longer time.
I feel it is easy because chicken can be marinated well ahead of time and refrigerated  till ready to be cooked and I do not fry the rice before cooking…..
Lemme tell you, it is best to invest in a rice cooker( if u do not have one ) as it saves a lot of time and oil and cuts ur work by 50%.Please note that if you  do a lil prep work then u are ready to go.Most of the things are from your pantry and it is repeated for rice, chicken, and masala. It is done in  parts and combined.

Chicken biriyani ,tomato salad and microwaved pappadam

Serving:3 +

Ingredients: in parts

1) For chicken
Chicken-5 to 6 Bone in piece(I use drumstick or thigh pieces)
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece( grind to paste)
Garlic-2-3 flakes(grind to paste)
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Chili powder-1 tsp
2) For the rice
Basmathi rice – 3 1/4 cups(Sona masoori works fine if u r like me, not going to run to store:))
Cinnamon-1 small piece
Cardamom -3
Vegetable oil-1 tsp
Salt -3/4 tsp

3)For garnishing:
White onion-1 medium Cut lengthwise then cut once more)
Raisins-a handful(black and red)
Cashew nuts- 12 to 15 as much as u like:)
Coriander leaves ,Mint leaves- a few

4) To crush coarsely:
Ginger-1 inch piece
Garlic-4 to 5 flakes
Green chili-1
Cinnamon- a small piece
Cardamom-1 or 2

Grated coconut- 1 tbsp
Mint  leaves- a small bunch
Coriander leaves -a small bunch

5) For the masala
Red onion -2 medium (cut lengthwise then cut once more in the middle to avoid it looking too stringy)
Tomato-1(chopped )2 if u like it lil sour and more masala


1.Clean and wash the chicken .Marinate in the spices given in Part 1  Leave it aside closed for 1/2 hr to 45 minutes
2.While chicken is marinating take care of the rest.Wash rice and soak for 30 minutes.Put all the ingredients in  Part 2 into the rice cooker give it a good stir pour enough water cook till done.Open only when ready to layer ,fluff with fork.If u do not use a rice cooker see notes.

3.Pressure cook chicken pouring 1/2 glass water for 1-2 whistles only.This ensures it is cooked (see notes).Make sure to take out the pieces carefully without breaking and fry it in the remaining oil left in the pan to brown all sides well.Remove and keep it aside.

4.Heat vegetable oil- 1 tbsp in a non stick pan and fry Part 3  Put the white onion and fry it till golden brown only (see notes) then remove in the same oil add raisins let it puff up then remove now the cashews-till golden brown remove .Keep all this aside.

5.In the same oil add Part 4 (add a tsp or 2 of oil)and continue sauteing till garlic’s raw smell goes then put onion saute till they are transparent now add the tomato chopped and saute till the masala turns mushy and when it begins to dry up a bit add the browned chicken in it switch off flame keep it 3/4 closed for chicken to absorb flavors.

I take a really wide container and spread half of the cooked rice in it then   I spread the masala with chicken layeron top of the rice(do not mix rice and chicken)then the remaining rice .Press down lightly and level the top .Spread PART 3 evenly ahhaa…i love this …now the raisin rain:)

I cover the container with its tight lid and leave it in the oven(no heat needed)till ready to serve.So it will be warm but not piping hot.

Serve it with raita ,papad and sweet pickle like Pineapple pickle


*Do not leave the garnishing onions in the oil to be brown it will be burnt if u take it out of oil when it begins to be golden brown  yes..it caramelizes better while it is cooling down.

*Pressure cooking the chicken is completely optional ,I get lil apprehensive about the chicken being under cooked plus this helps to save a lot of cooking time and oil too!!As we are using bone in pieces it holds the meat better in shape and oil is used only to brown outer meat and not completely cook it.I use a small pressure cooker so 1/2 glass water is enough to cook it right.

Note that all the spices used are whole and not powder to enhance flavor and aroma.

I don’t like to complicate matters with many too many layers of rice and masala.

Do all the steps without leaving much time gap so that while layering they are still hot.

Pappadam is microwaved without oil !!

Cooking rice on stove top :
Boil water in a large vessel put 1-tsp oil,whole spices ,salt and rice.The water should be above the rice till it is cooked so add enough water if u find that it is drying up.Once cooked till done.Then pour few glasses of cold water and drain off all the water and keep it covered 3/4 th till ready to use.

Use an oven proof container to layer .After layering chicken and rice etc..u find that the rice is slightly soggy then tightly cover the container switch on the oven and put in lowest setting and leave t he container in the oven for 10 to 15 mts and remove or it will become too dry while eating .

If u r a beginner,how to check if the rice is cooked?
Each grain will be enlarged and kind of transparent ,when you bite a grain it should not be crisp ,when u break with fingers it should mash but not become a pasty.

Honestly ,Lemee know if you really noticed there is no ghee in the biriyani !!


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