Cook's Hideout: Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani

April 26, 2014

Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 26
State: Tamil Nadu
Dish: Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
We are coming all the way south of India to Tamil Nadu. Capital of Tamil Nadu is Chennai, formerly known as Madras. For most of the North Indians, people from the south are all Madrasis. I have been called that quite a few times in my own life. So the point is, it is the most famous South Indian state. It is most known for its monumental ancient Hindu temples and classical dance form Bharata Natyam.
We visited the famous temples in Tamil Nadu and I've been to Chennai to present a paper during my graduation. Food wise there is hardly anything to go wrong in Tamil Nadu with fluffy idlis, crispy dosas and other delicious South Indian dishes being sold at both 5 star restaurants and at road side stalls.
Tamil Cuisine is rice based and forms the major portion of their diet. Their are regional sub-varieties in Tamil cuisine, like Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Madurai, Tirunalveli and so on.
Specialties: Idli, Dosai, Uthappam, Filter Coffee, Kootu, Sambar etc.,
Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
Today's Dish: Initially I was planning to make 'Kachipuram Idli' today, but then changed my mind and started searching for some Chettinad recipes. The Chettiar community, who is the majority in this region, are a very successful trading community. Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. It is famous for its use of variety of spices used mainly in non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered essential part of a meal.
Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
After looking through a number of dishes and knowing my love for biryanis, I finally decided to make this Chettinad style Vegetarian Biryani. It was spicy, flavorful and delicious. I served it with some onion raita (yogurt, finely chopped onions, pinch of salt) and some mango juice.
Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
Recipe adapted from Vegetable Platter:
Ingredients: Serves 2~3
Basmati Rice - 1cup
Onion - 1 large, thinly sliced
Tomato puree - 1cup
Potato - 1 medium, peeled and chopped
Carrot - 1 medium, peeled and cut into long sticks
Green beans - ½cup, chopped
Cauliflower - ½cup, cut into florets
Green Pepper - 1 small, chopped
Green Peas - ½cup
Green chilies - 2, slit (add more if you like it spicy)
Bay leaves - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1tsp
Turmeric - ½tsp
Garam Masala - 1tsp
Salt - to taste
Fried Onions - ¼cup, homemade or storebought
Mint leaves - 3tbsp, finely chopped
Cilantro leaves - 2tbsp, finely chopped

For the masala/ spice paste:
Red Onion - 1 small, chopped
Grated Coconut - 2tbsp
Ginger - 2" piece, grated
Garlic - 3~4 cloves
Dry red chili - 5~6 (adjust as per taste)
Coriander seeds - 1tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Fennel seeds - 2tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
Cloves - 4
Black Peppercorns - 4
Cardamom pods - 4

  • Prep the Rice: Rinse and soak the rice for at least 30 minutes. Then boil the rice in 4~5 cups of water along with salt, 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves, 3 cardamom pods and 1" cinnamon stick. Cook until the rice is 70% cooked, about 8~10 minutes. Drain the water and set it aside to cool.
  • Make the Masala/ Spice Paste: Heat 2tsp il in a pan; add the ingredients under 'Masala' except for coconut. Cook until the spices are nicely toasted and smell fragrant. Cool slightly and grind into a smooth paste along with coconut and little water.
  • Make the Vegetable Curry: Heat 2tbsp oil and 1tbsp ghee; add bay leaf, cumin seeds and cook till seeds start to splutter. Add the onions and green chilies, cook till the onions are slightly browned around the edges.
  • Add the veggies and cook covered until the veggies are tender. To speed up the process, veggies can be microwaved until tender and then added to the onions.
  • Add turmeric and the ground masala paste, mix well and cook for 3~4 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree and cook for 4~5 minutes. Finally add salt and garam masala; mix well and turn off the heat.
  • Make the Biryani: In a heavy bottomed deep pan; add 1/3rd of the rice - followed by ½ of the curry; 2nd layer: 1/3rd of the rice and the remaining ½ of the curry; final layer: remaining rice - fried onion and chopped mint and cilantro. Cover tightly with the lid and cook for 10~15 minutes. 
  • Serve hot with any raita.

Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani

Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 39.



  1. Looks beautiful...the coconut addition is the major difference when compared to hyderabadi biryani, isn't it,

  2. Biryani, the word itself makes me hungry that too from Chettinad, cant resist to this beautiful and very tempting biryani..

  3. I have book marked the has lots of ingredients so will come back and read and make..right now it will just pass off:))..seems to be a interesting recipe.

  4. That is really spicy! That quantity of cinnamon, peppercorn and cloves for 2-3 serving! Wow! It sure is one of the spiciest cuisine.

  5. a very flavorful and aromatic Biriyani!! the coconut included in there would have been so yummm

  6. What a flavoursome briyani Pavani! the plate looks so yum..I am yet to make this cuisine style one, and I feel sad about will have to make it soon..:)

  7. Very flavorful and this is more or less similar to what my MIL makes.

  8. Flavorful and absolutely delicious looking biriyani....

  9. What a flavorful Biriyani that is! Love all the spices that are used.

  10. Biryani turned out perfect. I love biryani and it is worth the time and effort spent preparing it.

  11. My family loves biryani. I am bookmarking this one.

  12. Chettinad cuisine is known for its spiciness!This briyani looks so flavorful! Beautiful presentation Pavani :)

  13. omg thats an veru flavorful and scrumptious chettinadu style biryani :) looks fantastic and i wud love to finish a plate full :)

  14. wonderful choice.. love the flavourful biryani.. looks delicious

  15. Super delicious, something similar to hyderabadi dum, but with some different flavors!!!

  16. Biryani looks so flavorful ! Bookmarked....

  17. It must be a flavorful and yummy biryani.


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