Ambur Chicken Biriyani

Ambur is a small town in Vellore district in Tamil Nadu. It is famous for its super yummy biriyanis and if you happen to take a ride through the town, you’d probably notice there are more biriyani shops there than there are tea stalls!! The Ambur biriyani makes its place into the top 10 must try biriyanis. It is spicy, dum cooked and nevertheless delicious. Unlike most traditional biriyanis, the Ambur biriyani uses oil instead of ghee. The rice is jeera samba unlike most of its counterparts that use basmati. Another factor that makes it distinct from the others is its subte flavour. And the reason for this is the fact that the spices are used in modest quantities and the pungeance is moderated by adding curd. Usually paired with a brinjal curry, Ambur biriyani is a must try for all biriyani lovers.



  • Chicken cleaned and washed
  • Oil – 4-5 teaspoons
  • Whole spices
  • Onions – 5
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Red chilly paste -2 teaspoons
  • Red chilly powder – 3 teaspoons
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • garam masala – 3 teaspoons
  • Ginger garlic paste – 3 teaspoons
  • Fresh coriander – a handful
  • Fresh mint leaves – a handful
  • Jeera samba rice – 2 1/2 cups washed and soaked
  • Curd – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a big vessel  and add the whole spices
  2. Toss in a handful of onions and ginger garlic paste and saute well for a few mins.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and cook slightly
  4. Add the onions, tomatoes, coriander and mint leaves and saute well for 10-12 mins.
  5. Add the salt, red chilly paste, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and stir until the raw smell goes.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons of curd and mix well.
  7. Add the washed rice and mix well ensure the masala coats the rice really well.
  8. Add double the amount of boiled water (here 5 cups), check for seasoning and cover and cook for about 15-20 mins on low flame. You should ideally seal and dum cook this, but I cooked it on normal stove top with a tight lid.
  9. Serve with brinjal curry or pickle.


  1. Some people half cook the rice and chicken separately and then cook both on dum. While this is necessary for mutton, you can avoid that step for chicken. 
  2. Ambur biriyani is usually very spicy, I tweaked the spiciness by adding 2 teaspoons of chilly paste and 2 teaspoons of chilly powder, but if you prefer it spicy, you can use  3-4 teaspoons of chilly paste and avoid the powder. 

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