Banishing the Dashboard Blues with A Savory Symphony ~ Malabar Chicken Biryani

malabar chicken biryani
symphony in stainless steel ~ shaheen’s malabar chicken biryani

And it only took three days! This post took three days to complete, that is — the biryani took the better part of one evening and *that* was an evening well-spent!

It appears that WordPress has reactivated the old functional photo uploader —
o joy, o happy day! I have been so discouraged by the change (it was a perfectly fabulous dashboard until a couple of weeks ago) that I haven’t had the heart to spend hours and hours on a post without photos. I know beggars can’t be choosers, and WordPress is a free blogging service — but as my wise uncle used to say: “If it ain’t broke, why fix it”?

It seems much better tonight, so I have hope. I guess it’s true that a picture paints a thousand words — at least on a food blog! πŸ˜‰

assembling chicken biryani
perfect harmony ~ luscious malabar chicken biryani in the making

Recently, I was the fortunate recipient of some super-fragrant homemade biryani masala from Shaheen’s kitchen. Last night Three days ago I carefully copied down her recipe for Malabar Chicken Biryani, and set to work.

I have never made a biryani, and what I learned is, biryani sings.

A carefully orchestrated ensemble of herbs and spices, whole and ground, are arranged in perfect proportion to draw out the mellow bass notes of rich, dark chicken. The feisty alto combination of fresh ginger, garlic, and chiles chases the sweet soprano of melted ghee, redolent with toasted onions, nuts, and fruits.
Layer this together and the flavors will harmonize perfectly, resulting in a dish that is nothing short of a symphony for your taste buds!

I followed Shaheen’s recipe with a only two minor changes:

I did not have white basmati rice, and I didn’t want to use brown, so I used sona masuri. I noticed that ISG made a yummy-looking biryani with seeraga samba rice, plus Shaheen mentioned a special rice called Kaima, so I figured I was on safe ground here.
I did not have mint (who me, out of an ingredient for a dish I want to make RIGHT NOW?? never…!), so I chopped up some spinach and mixed that in with the cilantro. Not the same flavor, obviously, but! If you follow this recipe and make Shaheen’s ginger-garlic-chile masala as I did, between that and all the other herbs and spices, you won’t miss the mint. I promise.

chicken biryani with pickled onion, spinach raita, and papad
Shaheen’s malabar chicken biryani with ISG’s pickled onions, spinach raita, and papad ~ sing along!



  1. sandeepa said

    Ahhhhhhhhhh biryanis are heavenly

  2. Happy Cook said

    DELICIOUS. I have seen this in her blog and have made them. Before my blogging days. And they were delicious.

  3. indosungod said

    Linda Biryani looks great and absolutely delicious I am sure. Now you are 200% inducted into the Indian cooking pantheon πŸ™‚ (made that one up but I am sure you get my appreciation) Biryanis have this special ability to make the cook and the taster feel like royalty.

  4. Nupur said

    Biryanis do sing, Linda! You said it perfectly πŸ™‚ and your version looks entirely blissful!

  5. sra said

    And I thought you were vegetarian! Just had some biriyani last night, always think the flavour’s in the rice rather than in the meat!

  6. mallugirl said

    u could have put it better!! “biryani is a symphony of flavors”.. u should copyright that statement!

  7. Pel said

    I love what follows after “biryani sings…” πŸ™‚ Looks good Linda, and I hope you ate this by hand and not fork- its the only way to hum along! πŸ˜‰

  8. Cynthia said

    You have made me insanely hungry!

  9. Vani said

    The biryani looks absolutely delicious, Linda! The gravy atop the rice looks super-delicious! I’d probably freeze some of that gravy to use as a curry for rotis later (Always being short of time, I find myself looking for ways to make two meals out of one!) Lovely write-up and beautiful background music for the “perfect harmony” of spices and flavors that a biryani is!

  10. Suganya said

    Its been sometime since I dropped by. I hope you are doing fine, Linda.

  11. AnotherSoul said

    What ?? You made Malabar biryani ? Oh my god – U r the most adventurous.. I have been wanting to try Shaheens biryani, but the process was holding me back –

    The biryani picture looks fab.

  12. Shankari said

    You are a super cook. The biriyani looks too good linda. I should have you come and give a class:)

  13. Dear all you sweet gals (and guy),

    Thank you so much for coming around to visit and sharing some biryani with me πŸ™‚ One thing I love about blogging is the interaction with like-minded souls. Unfortunately wordpress has changed their dashboard and what once took but a few minutes now requires hours. Take replying to comments individally as one example. Time was I could go to a post and reply to each and every comment in a matter of minutes — and I really enjoy doing that, too! Now it is not so quick — half the time the site freezes and I lose whatever it was I was posting/commenting/replying. I am so frustrated. So I hope you’ll forgive this mass, but no less enthusiastic and grateful “thank you”!! for all of your kind words and encouragement. I think Blogger may be looking better and better πŸ˜‰

    You’re all the best! πŸ™‚

  14. Miri said

    The biryani looks wonderful Linda – kudos for the effort!

    Thank you Miri — can’t go wrong with Shaheen’s recipe and masala! πŸ™‚

  15. sunila said

    Hi Linda ,
    First timer here and just couldnt stop reading your posts.I have an OCD where biryanis are concerned and your malabar biryani looks divine and am sure tastes that way too.your writeup if visual and sang its way to the end and I cud almost smell the fragrances too .I shall stop here before I write an ode :0)

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