There are different versions of biriyanis which have unique flavours. I like to experiment with preparing different biriyanis and I found that garam masala is the master ingredient which enhances the taste and smell of this particular dish. I prefer to make garam masala myself than buying readymade garam masala powder, which is better in flavour. In this recipe I will also show you how to prepare garam masala at home.

In past, I have tried Lucknowi and Hyderabadi style of biriyani preparations and I am trying to make it perfect and authentic. When it comes perfect for me and for my family, then I may share it for you. Now I am super exited to share this recipe because it’s one of my nostalgic food with all its divine taste and memories.

Let’s talk about Malabar biriyani, which has mainly Thalassary and Kozhikode (Calicut) styles of preparations. For Thalassary biriyani, ghee rice is prepared for layering. For meat masala, caramelised onions (known as “bista” locally) are used, but chilly powder and coriander powder are not used. I learned all  about thalassary biriyani from my bestie. Personally I like both kinds of Malabar biriyanis, yes they are superb!!!


Recently I searched for the origin of Malabar biriyani, it is said that “the dish must have originally came from Samarkand with the Mughals and migrated through the Deccan and the rule of the Arcot Nawabs into Kerala”. The word biriyani is from Persian word (beryā) which means fried or roasted.

Rice plays a very good role in malabar biriyani, jeerakashala or Wayanad kaima is normally used. If it not available you can try with basmati rice. The gravy of biriyani is a thick blend of onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, tomatoes, fresh coriander and mint leaves, homemade garam masala, lemon, curd and some spice powders. Good quality ghee and coconut oil is also responsible for its special aroma and taste. Aluminium vessel or iron cast vessel (chembu) are the traditionally used utensils.fullsizeoutput_be

For malabar dum biriyani dum process is crucial. Traditional method is by pasting the lid of the vessel(chembu) using maida and placing hot burning charcoal on the top of the lid. This method won’t allow the flavours to disappear as vapours, and thus it will be compressed in the vessels.

Let’s see how this mouthwatering traditional malabar dum biriyani is prepared.

The three steps includes

  1. Garnish
  2. Masala for meat
  3. Cooking rice and dum
  • 1/2 cup of ghee
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup onion thinly sliced
2.For  masala
a)For meat masala
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 500g of beef
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp green chilly paste
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/4 fennel seed powder
  • 3/4 cup curd
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 3/4 cup mint leaves
  • salt
b)Garam masala
  • 8 green cardamoms
  • 13 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon stikes
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 3 mace
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
3.For cooking rice
  • 2 cups jeera rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  •  2 leaves coriander (if needed)
  • 5 cups of water
  • salt
  • Pour ghee in a hot pan then roast cashew nuts until light brown and take it, then put raisins when it pops up take it from ghee
  • Then put sliced onions and roast till golden brown
  • Keep the left over ghee aside


2.For  masala
a)Meat masala
  • Pour coconut oil in a hot pan, then sauté onions until it gets a slight brown colour


  • Then add ginger garlic paste, green chilly paste and sauté for some seconds until raw smell disappears


  • Add tomatoes and then cook thoroughly to get a smooth paste, then add chilly powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder, salt, fennel seed powder, curd and lemon


  • Then add meat and mix well and cook it in a pressure cooker for 4 whistles in medium flame ,after whistles turn off the flame and let it cool naturally
  • Open the cooker ,convert the masala into the vessel  for dum then turn on the flame and makes the  gravy  little thick


  • Then add garam masala ,coriander and mint leaves mix wellfullsizeoutput_1fa
b)Garam masala
  • Dry roast the ingredients ,grind it and store in air tight bottle.


3.Rice cooking and dum
  • In a vessel take 5 cups of water then put salt, oil and coriander (optional) and let it boil
  • When boils add rice and cook  the rice upto 80%


  • After cooking drain the water from rice and keep it aside
  • Add little bit of cooked rice in to the meat masala



  • Sprinkle some garam masala powder, 2-3 drops of lemon juice and little bit of garnish items (cashew nuts ,raisins, brown onions and some ghee)


  • Similarly add all the rice layer by layer and thus put whole ghee and garnish items
  • Close the lid and put a weight on it top to trap the flavoured steam from the vessel


  • Place the vessel on a medium flame for 20 minutes


  • After 20 minutes switch off flame, and let the vessel to rest for 10 minutes, after that open the biriyani vessel… serve hot with raita..,!!


  • Put desired amount of salt while cooking rice, for 2 cups rice 1 1/2 tbsp salt is required
  • Adjust the hot spices according to your taste
  • Try to put homemade garam masala
  • Putting white poppy seeds with cashew nut paste in masala gives more flavour
  • Be alert while  biriyani is on dum, don’t let it burn






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