Thalassery biryani (Malabar biriyani)

Updated: August 7, 2022, By Swasthi

Thalassery biryani recipe with video – Thalassery biryani originated from the malabar region of Kerala and is quite popular for its unique aroma and taste that comes from the unusual variety of rice called Jeerakasala. Unlike the other kind of popular biryanis where basmati rice is used, thalassery biriyani is made using a premium quality short grain rice which is also known as kaima rice or biriyani rice in Kerala.

thalassery chicken biryani

Recipe Comments

Biryani masala made from a unique blend of kerala spices is another contributor to one of this most amazing & flavorful biriyani. If you are not accessible to the jeerakasala rice, then you may try this with aged basmati rice.

The process of making thalassery biryani is not much different from the Pakki Hyderabadi biryani except the usage of tomatoes here. However the method of cooking Jeerakasala or kaima is different from cooking basmati rice.

During our stay in a couple of resorts in Kerala, I happened to note down few very good recipes from the chefs there. Trying to share them after a few trails. This thalassery chicken biryani recipe is one of them. The original recipe calls for half cup of ghee which I have reduced to 1/4 cup, you may use another 2 tbsps if you want the biriyani to be more flavorful.


For more Biryani recipes, you can check
Hyderabadi chicken biryani
Chicken biryani in cooker
Ambur biryani
Chettinad chicken biryani
Hyderabadi mutton biryani

Photo Guide

Preparation for thalassery chicken biryani

1. Clean the spices and add them to a blender jar. I have not roasted the spices as the powder gets roasted along with the chicken.

Clean the spices and add them to a blender jar

2. Make a very fine powder. Set this aside.

fine powder

3. Add 3 to 4 tbsps of ghee to a biryani pot. Fry cashews until lightly golden. Then add raisins. When they turn plump, transfer these to a plate. We will be using these for garnishing.

Fry cashews until lightly golden

4. To the same pan, add onions and fry them evenly until golden or light brown. You can skip this step if you are using store bought fried onions. But the ones fried in ghee lend a delicate aroma. What you are seeing in the picture is half done. I fried them a little more. Set them aside along with cashews and raisins. We will be using these as well for garnishing.

add onions and fry them evenly until golden

Making thalassery chicken biryani

5. In the remaining ghee, add the sliced onions for gravy. Fry them until golden.

add the sliced onions for gravy

6. Add ginger garlic and green chili paste. There is no red chili powder used in this recipe, the heat comes from green chilies alone, so make sure you use enough. I have used 2 hot chilies. Freshly ground paste is preferred.

Add ginger garlic and green chili paste

7. Saute it until a nice smell comes out.


8. Add cleaned chicken and saute for 2 to 3 mins. The color of the chicken has to turn pale. Add turmeric and biryani masala we made at step 2.

Add cleaned chicken

9. Saute for 2 to 3 mins on a low flame. Cook covered for another 2 to 3 mins. By now chicken turns slightly tender.


10. Add tomatoes, salt and curd. Saute for 2 mins. Switch over to low flame and then cook covered until chicken is fully cooked and tender. In between you will need to stir to prevent burning. At the end of this step you will have thick chicken gravy. Chicken when cooked on a low heat releases moisture which is good enough to cook it completely.

Add tomatoes, salt and curd

11. While the chicken cooks, go ahead making biryani rice. It is made almost the same way we make malabar nei choru. Wash the rice and drain it to a colander. As I mentioned malabar biryani is made with Jeerakasala which needs no soaking and no draining. If you are not having that rice, then use basmati rice. Wash and soak for 30 mins. Drain and set aside. Bring water to a boil on another burner.

How to make thalassery biriyani

12. Heat a pot with 1 to 2 tbsps ghee and saute the spices.

Heat a pot

13. Add drained rice and saute for 2 to 3 mins. Add salt.

Add drained rice

14. Add hot water. Note that cold water makes the rice sticky. Stir gently.

Add hot water

15. Cook on a medium heat until the entire water is absorbed but still very wet.

Cook on a medium heat

16. Cook covered and lower the flame completely and cook until the rice absorbs all the water and turns dry. At this stage rice is cooked to 90% meaning al dente. If the rice is under cooked, you can sprinkle some warm water and continue to cook.

Cook covered and lower the flame completely

17. By then the chicken would have completely cooked. A thick gravy would be left. Add mint and coriander leaves. Level the chicken properly.

Add mint and coriander leaves

Layering malabar chicken biriyani

18. Layer half of the rice and sprinkle garam masala, some fried onions and pudina.

Layer the rice

19. Layer the rice again. Sprinkle coriander leaves, pudina, fried onions, cashews and raisins. Add ghee mixed with rose water.

Sprinkle coriander leaves, pudina, fried onions, cashews and raisins

20. Cover with a very tight and heavy lid. or seal it with a foil or thick moist cloth. Place a steel plate over the seal and then an heavy object.
Heat a old tawa or griddle. When it turns very hot, place this biryani pot over the tawa and cook for 12 to 15 mins. Make sure the flame is medium.

Cover with a very tight and heavy lid

Allow biriyani to rest for a while and check the bottom, the moisture in the gravy or masala would have evaporated.

Serve malabar biryani with onion raita. When you serve make sure each portion gets an equal amount of the masala and the biryani rice.

malabar chicken biryani

Do note that this recipe cannot be used to make Thalassery mutton biryani since the cooking time, spices and the method differs. I will share the recipe of the same sometime soon.

Related Recipes

Thalassery chicken biryani

Thalassery biryani

4.97 from 82 votes
Easy Thalassery biriyani is one of the popular dishes from kerala cuisine. It can be made using mutton or chicken. This recipe card shares ingredients & instructions to make thalassery chicken biryani.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

For biriyani masala powder

  • 1 star anise small
  • 4 green cardamoms / elaichi
  • 4 cloves / laung
  • 2 inch cinnamon sticks , thin / dalchini
  • 2 strands mace / javithri
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg / jaiphal, grated
  • ½ tsp shahi jeera
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds / saunf / sombu
  • 1 red chili
  • ½ tsp pepper corn

For gravy

  • 3 to 4 tbsps ghee / oil
  • 1 Handful cashews (about ¼ cup split & cleaned)
  • 2 tbsps raisins (use sweet raisins)
  • ½ to ¾ cup onions thinly sliced , for making fried onions
  • ½ cup onions (heaped) sliced , for gravy
  • 2 tbsps ginger garlic chili paste (1 tbsp ginger paste, 1 tbsp garlic paste, 2 to 3 green chilies)
  • ½ kg chicken cleaned & cut
  • ¼ tsp turmeric / haldi
  • ½ cup tomatoes chopped & deseeded, ripe
  • Salt as needed
  • 2 tbsps curd / yogurt/ dahi
  • ¼ cup mint / pudina , chopped
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves chopped

For biriyani rice

  • 2 cups Jeerakasala rice / kaima (or basmati)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp ghee (use more if desired)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise / biryani flower
  • 4 green cardamoms / elaichi
  • 4 to 5 cloves / laung
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick , thin
  • ¼ to ½ tsp fennel seeds / saunf/ sombu
  • Salt as needed
  • 3 ½ cups Hot water

For layering rice

  • ¼ to ½ tsp kerala garam masala
  • 0.5 Handful pudina , chopped
  • 0.5 Handful coriander leaves , chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp rose water , edible (optional)


  • Please follow the step by step photo instructions for the method.


video of thalassery chicken biryani recipe

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Thalassery biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1260 Calories from Fat 513
% Daily Value*
Fat 57g88%
Saturated Fat 24g150%
Cholesterol 189mg63%
Sodium 248mg11%
Potassium 1808mg52%
Carbohydrates 136g45%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 50g100%
Vitamin A 1800IU36%
Vitamin C 147.3mg179%
Calcium 393mg39%
Iron 14.2mg79%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

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thalassery biryani

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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Thanks for this wonderful recepie.came out very well in first go

Hi what’s Kerala garam masala? It’s mentioned in the recipe

5 stars
Sorry, l didn’t get how much water we need to add to the rice. Is that 1.5 or 2 (double of rice)

5 stars
2 cups jeera means how much in kilo? and alternatively can i use the basmati rice? if yes.. then should i keep same quantity?

5 stars
Good recipe. Tried it today and came out so well. Thank you ?

5 stars
Hii, This the best and easy biriyani and the best part is that recipe never fails, Thank you…

5 stars
The recipe is great , but a small correction, in an Authentic thalassery biriyani after the bista is made ready , the tomatoes are sauted with ginger garlic paste and green chilli . The One you mentioned here is more of a Kozhikodan biriyani

Yes , i do it the way you have mentioned , and i always felt that’s the right way then the tomatoes get roasted in the oil else the tomatoes would taste a bit watery or would melt out into the gravy.

but either ways turns out good .

You are amazing I like ur blogs

Should the dry spices in the biryani masala powder be doubled too? Kindly advise.

5 stars
Can this recipe be doubled for 1kg chicken? Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

5 stars
Tries,it was superb,thank you

5 stars
Hi Swasthi, Thank you for posting this recipe. I tried it for the first time today, and halved the quantity as it was for just two people. It came out brilliantly! Lovely flavour – not too spicy, and so delicious. This one is going into my bookmarks!

5 stars

My family loved this recipe, I have started to use your other recipes too as it comes very close to our family taste as well. I personally love making things from scratch and follow my mother’s recipe, but after marriage started exploring new cuisines and your recipes work so well for me. Thank you for sharing.

5 stars
Craved for talashery biryani.. Tried it and it was great. Very mild flavour. Liked it

5 stars
Love the recipe

5 stars
Simple but very tasty recipe.

5 stars
Simply loved this biriani. Must try recipe.

5 stars
Super yummy biryani.

5 stars
Your recipes had always been my trump card and always comes good. Thanks for what you are doing.

Thanks a ton

Hi Swathi..
I love this recipe of Thalassery biriyani. Found it to be one of the most authentic in terms of flavour.
I had a small doubt and it’s also the reason why i am missing out on the consistency on terms of flavour… Are we suppose to you all of the biriyani masala made at step 2 or a portion from it? How much of masala should be added?

5 stars
Super…I made it was awesome and loved by everyone..thank u