Thalapakatti chicken biryani is a very famous biryani from Dindigul region of Tamil nadu state of India. It is very unique in its taste and flavors and has a very mild taste with rich aroma of seeraga samba rice and coconut milk.
Thalapakatti means turban in Tamil language. The founder Mr. Nagasamy Naidu of Dindigul started a hotel in the name Ananda Vilas and he always wore a white turban. This traditional head dress and the cooking style became the brand and people started referring the biryani as thalapakatti chicken biryani.
The thalapakatti chicken biryani is prepared using seeraga samba rice, a short grain and a fragrant variety of rice which resembles jeera/cumin seeds. These rice grains are very distinct from other variety of rice and also taste very unique. Biryani prepared in Kerala and Tamil nadu use seeraga samba rice. These rice grains absorbs all spices, flavors of the meat and other ingredients used and hence makes the thalapakatti chicken biryani unique and amazingly tasty.
Thalapakatti chicken biryani is prepared with no store brought masala powders, and everything is ground freshly at home. A masala paste is made with shallots/small onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, mint and coriander leaves. Also a spice powder which is ground with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, mace and star anise is used instead of garam masala or biryani powder unlike other biryani recipes. The freshly ground spices and masala paste gives the biryani the rich aroma and flavor it has.
Thalapakatti chicken biryani is prepared in slow cooking or dum process. You can also use a pressure cooker to prepare the biryani. Use only seeraga samba rice to get that authentic thalapakatti chicken biryani taste. However, if you want to use basmati rice, you can try with that too, but may not taste as good as like with seeraga samba rice.
You will also like our similar non-veg biryani recipes: thalapakatti mutton biryani, ambur mutton biryani, ambur chicken biryani, Hyderabadi mutton dum biryani, chicken dum biryani, Hyderabadi chicken dum biryani, egg biryani, quail biryani.
½ kg or 500 gram chicken
2 tbsp curd (not sour)
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Two pieces of 2 inch cinnamon /chakke /dalchini
5-8 cloves /lavanga /laung
3 cardamoms /elaichi
2 star anise
2-3 strand mace /japathre /jaadhi pathiri /javitri
¼ tsp nutmeg
3-4 marat moggu (opt)
½ cup shallots/small onions/pearl onions
5-6 green chilli
12-15 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger
½ cup coriander leaves
½ cup mint leaves
2 cup seeraga samba rice (jeera rice)
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsp fennel seeds/saunf
½ tsp dhaniya/coriander powder (opt)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups thick coconut milk
1-1½ cups water
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
- Wash chicken until clear and drain water completely. Take cleaned chicken pieces in a bowl and add curd, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well so that the spices coat well with chicken. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
- Also rinse seeraga sambar rice until clear few times in clear water and soak it for 15-20 minutes.
- In a mixer jar, add shallots, green chilli, garlic cloves, ginger, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Grind to coarse paste by adding very little or no water. You can also use a mortar pestle and crush them coarsely. keep aside.
- For the spice powder, in a small jar, add spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise, mace strands, nutmeg, Marat moggu (opt) and grind to fine powder. Keep this aside as well.
- Heat a heavy bottomed vessel or you can also use a pressure cooker. Add 2-3 tbsp oil and heat it. Now add bay leaf, fennel seeds and sauté for few seconds. Add thinly sliced onions and fry till light brown.
- Add chopped tomatoes and fry till it turns soft. You can add a pinch salt to fasten the process. Add marinated chicken and fry with onion and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes on a high flame.
- Add dhaniya powder, 2-3 tsp ground spice powder and ground masala paste. Mix everything well. Close the vessel with a lid and cook chicken on a medium flame for 8-10 minutes. Let the masala and chicken blend well.
- Add coconut milk and water. Bring it to boil. Now drain the soaked rice and add it slowly into the vessel. Mix gently and bring it to boil. Add lemon juice. Check for salt and spice powders, add if required.
- Cover the vessel tightly with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 5 minutes. Open the lid and gently mix once and cover the lid again. Cook for 8-10 minutes on a low-medium flame or till the rice is fully done. You can place a mortar pestle or any weight on the lid so that the vessel is tightly closed.
- After 10 minutes, open the lid and check if the rice is done, else cook for few more minutes. If using a pressure cooker, you can cook for a whistle on medium flame and then turn the flame to low and cook for another 5 minutes (for a whistle).
- Once biryani is done, switch off the flame. Open the lid and drizzle ghee on the top. Immediately cover the vessel and rest it for 15-20 minutes. If using a pressure cooker add the ghee after the pressure releases. After the resting time, gently fluff chicken and rice.
- Serve hot Thalapakatti chicken biryani.
- Adjust the green chillies and other spices to suit your taste buds.
- Seeraga samba rice/jeera rice makes the thalapakatti chicken biryani authentic and very tasty. If you do not have it, can try it with basmati too.
- Shallots/pearl onions are very important in the recipe, so do not replace it with regular onions for grinding the masala paste.
- Mace and nutmeg gives a distinct flavor to the spice powder and makes thalapakatti chicken biryani aromatic.
- You may need more or less than 3 tsp of spice powder to the biryani depending on your taste. So add accordingly.
- Spice powder can be stored in an airtight container and can be used for other recipes.
- For vegetarians, replace chicken with mixed vegetables.
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