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Ambur chicken biryani in a white bowl with chicken leg piece and boiled egg on top
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5 from 8 votes

Ambur Chicken Biryani | How to make Ambur Star Biryani

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. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Biryani recipe, Main Course, Non-vegetarian, Rice recipe
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people


  • 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.
    Red chilies soaked in water
  • Then grind it into a thick paste by adding very little water. Keep aside.
    Red chili paste
  • Clean and wash chicken.
  • Wash jeera samba rice and soak in water for minimum 30 minutes.
    Jeera samba rice soaking in water
  • 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. 
    Soaked jeera sambar rice added in ambur chicken biryani preparation
  • 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.
    Cooking soaked jeera rice for ambut chicken biryani preparation
  • Once ¾ cooked, drain all the water and keep the cooked rice aside.
    Jeera samba rice half cooked in a bowl for ambur chicken biryani preparation
  • 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.
    Oil been heated for ambur chicken biryani
  • Then add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom and mix.
    all biryani whole spices added to cooker in ambur biryani preparation
  • Next add 2 tbspns of sliced onions and mix. 
    sliced onions sauted in ambur biryani preparation
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and saute until the raw smell of the paste is gone.
    ginger garlic paste added during ambur biryani preparation
  • Add chicken and cook until the color of the chicken turns white.
    chicken added to cooker along with all spices of ambur chicken biryani
  • Then add 1 tbspn of chopped coriander and mint leaves and mix. The aroma of fresh herbs cooking in oil is so amazing. 
    Fresh coriander and mint leaves added to the cooker in which ambur chicken biryani is made
  • Next add chopped onions and tomatoes and cook it until the tomatoes turn soft.
    chopped onions and tomatoes is cooked in cooker for ambur chicken biryani
  • Add ground red chili paste, salt to taste and mix well. 
  • Cook for another 5 minutes on medium flame.
    red masala cooking in which ambur chicken biryani is going to be made
  • Add remaining curd, mix. Let it cook for another 2 minutes.
    thick curd or yogurt added to the red masala paste
  • 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.
    ambur chicken biryani layering in cooker
  • Add half of the cooked rice on top of the chicken layer, sprinkle coriander and mint leaves.
    cooked jeera rice is layered over ambur chicken biryani masala
  • Now add the second layer, by adding the chicken gravy we removed.  Level it as much possible.
    second layer of ambur chicken biryani masala is added
  • Add the remaining rice, level it out. 
    coriander leaves is added over jeera samba rice for ambur chicken biryani made in cooker
  • 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)
    , ambur chicken biryani getting ready layers of rice and chicken cooked in pressure cooker on dum
  • 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! ?


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.