Ambur chicken biryani is a specialty of nawabs of arcot who first cooked and made this biryani recipe most popular in southern parts of India, Ambur in Tamil Nadu. What’s special about this biryani is that is is cooked on wood fires and a special variety of short grain rice called seeraga samba rice (jeera samba rice) is used.
There are different methods of preparing biryani. If we talk about South Indian chicken biryani recipe types then there are – the most popular Hyderabadi style, Bombay style, Donne Biryani(Karnataka style), arcot biryani that’s Ambur special, thalapakattu biryani from Dindigul region and so many more. The taste of biryani differs according to the type of biryani and it’s preparation. Ambur Biryani is one of the famous biriyani recipes of South India which emerged during the Nawab of Arcot’s regime. Prepared mainly with Jeeraga Samba rice, both chicken and Mutton are used for this. Ambur Biryani is usually served with Brinjal curry (Khattay Baigan) and Cucumber Raitha, which makes your feast a delightful one.
This is Ambur Star Biryani recipe. I got a chance to taste this special yummy biryani 3 year back when we drove from Bangalore to Tamil Nadu. At that point I didn’t know that Star biryani is famous in Ambur and in rest of TN. When we came back to Bangalore I was surprised to see that Ambur Star Biryani had opened it’s first out let in Bangalore on the same day. How co-incidental :). I have always been thinking of preparing this Ambur star biryani recipe but didn’t know the exact recipe, then while I was on internet searching for some thing else, I accidentally landed on this video posted by Kairali Tv on youtube on Ambur Star Biryani, and it was prepared by the master as they call(chef) of Ambur Star Biryani showing the authentic preparation. I was super excited and I decided to give it a try on Sunday. The biryani ingredients are easily available, I bet you already have them in your pantry.
What’s special about Ambur chicken biryani?
Ambur chicken biryani is never made using basmati rice. If you want authentic Ambur biryani then use only jeera samba rice, the short grain rice. The rice itself makes a huge difference. It’s got a unique and delicious aroma and flavor to it. Texture of the biryani is so different when you interchange jeera samba rice with basmati rice.
Ambur biryani recipe uses dry red chili paste along with the whole spices that goes into making biryani like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon. The spice factor in this biryani is from the red chilies which are soaked in water and then ground. Using fresh ground red chili paste is very important. We do not want to compromise on either flavor or taste, right!
Can I use Mutton instead of chicken to make Ambur mutton Biryani?
Yes. Of course you can. But cooking mutton in dum method and making sure it’s fully cooked is very tricky. But you can do it. Follow this recipe as it is, just add one extra step in the beginning. Cook mutton pieces along with few sliced onions, ginger-garlic paste, salt and turmeric powder in pressure cooker for 2 to 3 whistles (or until mutton is ¾ cooked). Then add the cooked mutton in place of chicken in the recipe.
Our other most popular biryani recipes
Ambur Chicken Biryani | How to make Ambur Star Biryani
- 500 grams chicken pieces
- 2 cups jeera samba rice
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- ¼ cup thick curd
- 4 tablespoon coriander-mint leaves, finely chopped
- 4 cloves
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cardamom
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup oil
To be grind-
- 20 nos dried red chilies (adjust quantity as per spice preference)
- First soak dried red chilies in water for minimum 30 minutes.
- Then grind it into a thick paste by adding very little water. Keep aside.
- Clean and wash chicken.
- Wash jeera samba rice and soak in water for minimum 30 minutes.
- Boil 3 liters of water in a large dish. Once water start to boil, add 1 tspn of salt and 1 tspn of oil and then add the soaked jeera rice.
- Cook it until it’s ¾th done. This is very important, do not over cook or fully cook the jeera rice, as we would be making biryani on dum you need the rice to be ¾ done.
- Once ¾ cooked, drain all the water and keep the cooked rice aside.
- Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan(I used pressure cooker). Add 1 tspn of curd and mix well. Be careful here the curd will splutter.
- Then add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom and mix.
- Next add 2 tbspns of sliced onions and mix.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and saute until the raw smell of the paste is gone.
- Add chicken and cook until the color of the chicken turns white.
- Then add 1 tbspn of chopped coriander and mint leaves and mix. The aroma of fresh herbs cooking in oil is so amazing.
- Next add chopped onions and tomatoes and cook it until the tomatoes turn soft.
- Add ground red chili paste, salt to taste and mix well.
- Cook for another 5 minutes on medium flame.
- Add remaining curd, mix. Let it cook for another 2 minutes.
- By now the chicken should be ¾ cooked. Now it’s time to layer and put the biryani on dum cooking.
- I removed half of the chicken gravy mix into another bowl before adding the rice, as I wanted more layers. If you wish you can make just 1 layer.
- Add half of the cooked rice on top of the chicken layer, sprinkle coriander and mint leaves.
- Now add the second layer, by adding the chicken gravy we removed. Level it as much possible.
- Add the remaining rice, level it out.
- Place the dish on low heat, cover it and place a heavy item on top of the plate to trap the steam inside(I know this is not the authentic dum, but at home this is what is convenient)
- Let biryani cook for 20 minutes on dum heat.
- Ambur Star Biryani is ready. The biryani has a different dimension due to the jeera samba rice. The texture and the taste of this biryani is lip smacking good.
- Serve hot with onion raita and boiled egg. HEAVEN!
- The specialty of Ambur biryani is it's made of Jeera samba rice only. So please try to use jeera samba rice to experience the authentic flavor, texture and taste of this biryani. But if you cannot get jeera samba rice at all, then substitute with basmati rice.
- The biryani does not have any garam masala powder, coriander powder, etc. The spice and the taste comes from red chilie paste. Do adjust the red chilies as per your spice requirement.
- You can see I have not used any water in the biryani. The rice and chicken is cooked separately until ¾ done and then layered and put it on dum. Moisture released by chicken and the curd used is enough to get the chicken cooked, but if you experience that chicken is drying out and burning, please add few tbspns of water to chicken gravy and cook it, but do not add more water as this will make the biryani soggy and rice would get mashed.