Chettinad Vegetable Biryani, popularly known as Chettinad Veg Biryani or Kaikari Biryani, is from the region of Chettinad, Tamil Nadu. This biryani is one of the delicious biryanis and uses Chettinad special spices and rice.
Learn how to make Chettinad Vegetable Biryani with this detailed recipe and step-by-step pictures. I have made this recipe many times over the years, it has been a hit with my family and they say it is the Best Chettinad Biryani recipe I have made.
This Chettinad Veg Biryani is a spicy one-pot Biryani, made in a pressure cooker. The unique taste comes from using Seeraga Samba Rice. Though this is a Kaikari Biryani, even my kids love it. I can say this is the best south Indian vegetable biryani in a pressure cooker you can make.
For the Indian Cooking Challenge this month, we travel a little down from last month, to the famous Chettinad of Tamil Nadu. Chettinad Cuisine is very famous all over the world. We have enjoyed some of the most popular recipes from this region.
I got the suggestion for this month's challenge from PJ. She suggested this Biryani from a Chettinad specialized site. I have adapted from this source with my own interpretation. Over the years, we have made this so many times, and each time
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Whole Spices used in making Chettinad Veg Biryani
Ingredients that Make this Biryani unique and Special
Certainly, the main ingredient that is unique is the Marathi Moggu or Marati Mogga. Karnataka's special Bisi Bele Bath uses this Indian spice extensively. This spice may not be easily available in all Indian stores. Many shopkeepers will give you a long spice you find next to the marati mogga in the picture.
Marati Mogga is not the same as the long spice used in making biryanis. The long spice looks pungent and we will not be able to grind it.
Finally, during my research on Marati Mogga many years ago, I came to know it is called Kapok Buds or Indian Capers. The Italian Cuisine uses the unripe flower buds by pickling them in brine.
These Mogga are dried ripe fruit. First of all, I am not a botanist, so I cannot verify this information. However, this spice is still a mystery to many. Some ask you to substitute the Maratha Moggu with more cloves, trust me, it will never work.
Black Stone Flower / Dagad Phool / Pathar Phool / Kalpasi
Going by different names like Dagad Phool, Kalpasi, Patthar Ke Phool, this is one of the most unusual spices in the Indian repertoire. It is a dried flower and a dominant spice in all Chettinad preparations. Black Stone Flower or Dagad Phool is a soft brown and black coloured lichen. This spice gives the signature black color to various masalas like Goda Masala / Kala Masala. (Source - web)
Seeraga Samba / Jeera Samba Rice
Another important ingredient that makes this Veg Biryani different is the use of Seeraga Samba Rice. It is a fragrant, aromatic short grain rice grown in Tamil Nadu.
Jeera Samba rice vs Silky Ponni Rice
Step by Step Pictures for making Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
Chettinad Vegetable Biryani / Kaikari Biryani
For the Rice
- 3 cups Jeera Samba Rice
- 2 cups Mixed Vegetables
- 3/4 cup Shallots (small onions)
- 2 medium Tomatoes finely chopped
- 4 Green Chillies
- 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Mint Leaves / Pudina, handful
- Coriander Leaves handful
- 20 Cashew Nuts
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- Salt to taste
- 4.5 cups Water
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1" Cinnamon (2 pieces)
- 4 Cardamom
- 6 Cloves
- 1 Marati Moggu
- 1 Star Anise / Annachi poo
- Black Stone Flower little
- 1 Mace / Javitri
- 1/4 cup Cooking Oil
How to make Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
- Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins.
- Wash and dice the vegetables like potato, carrot into medium cubes, cauliflower into medium florets, slice green beans into 1" lengthwise and some green peas.
- Peel and chop the shallots. Chop the tomatoes. Fry the cashew nuts in ghee until golden brown. Clean and chop both pudina and coriander leaves. Break the green chilies into half.
- Heat cooking oil in a pressure cooker, add the whole spices tempering to the hot oil and saute for 1 minute.
- Next, add the shallots, green chillies to the pan, saute until onion turns pale. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell leaves. Add the mixed vegetables to the pan and fry for 3 minutes. Add chopped pudina and coriander leaves (reserve some to garnish) to the pan and saute for 1 minute.
- At this stage, add chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder to the vegetables and mix well until tomatoes are tender. Add water to the pan, slightly cover with lid and bring vegetable mixture to boil.
- When the water reaches rolling boil stage, add drained rice along with required salt to the pan. Stir well to combine everything and cover with lid, Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
- Once the pressure falls, remove the lid, garnish with fired cashews, coriander leaves.
- Serve with onion raitha.
- Jeera Samba is the special rice used in such biryanis, to get the aromatic and typical taste. If this is not available , you can use short grain basmati rice.
- Marathi Moggu can be replaced by adding a couple of more cloves, however, the taste may not be the same.
- The original recipe listed Annachi poo and Star Anise separately, while it's one and the same. So I add Black stone flower and Mace.
- The final biryani was very aromatic and tasty.
- The method to mimic dum style can be achieved if you cook with just the lid covered without putting the pressure cooker on the whistle, and by cooking in low flame for 10 mins, by which time about 1/2 of the water is absorbed and you get separated rice grains completely cooked in the vegetable broth.
Nannari is an herbal drink, famous in Andhra. Later I came to know it is popular in other Southern states as well. I got to taste this drink first during our trip to Hubby Dear's native place. It was so good to enjoy this in the scorching heat!