Ambur Biryani is a traditional Tamilnadu Arcot Muslim Style Biryani. It is popularly served at Star Biryani Hotel. Make this one-pot Star Hotel copycat Ambur Chicken Biryani at home using my easy recipe (gluten-free).
History Of Ambur Biryani
Ambur Biryani comes from Ambur, a small town in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, and was first cooked for the Nawabs of Arcot during the 18th century.
This traditional Tamilnadu Arcot Muslim Style Biryani was introduced to the Arcot royals through their connection with the Hyderabadi Nizams.
Hasin Baig, a cook at the royal palace of Arcot made Ambur biryani regularly for the royals. A few years later, his son Kurshid Baig started to sell this delicacy to the commoners. Soon, the Ambur Star Biryani hotels came up and now they have chains all over South India and other major cities of India and also in many countries abroad.
Ambur Biriyani is actually spelled as Ambur Briyani and they have not changed it yet.
About Ambur Chicken Biryani
Star Hotel Copycat Ambur Chicken Biryani is a mildly flavored one-pot rice dish where Seeraga Samba rice is cooked with bone-in chicken pieces, fresh herbs, and a few mild spices.
My recipe to make Ambur Star Chicken Biryani tastes exactly like the popular “Star Ambur Biryani” outlets that are very popular all over South India.
Traditionally, this biryani was slow-cooked on a wood fire using the dum technique, but my easy recipe shows you how to make it in a pot over the stovetop.
You can double or triple this Ambur chicken biryani recipe if making for a bigger crowd.
Rice – It uses a special variety of short grain rice, Seeraga Samba Rice (Jeeraga Samba Rice) which makes it different from other biryani recipes.
Seeraga Samba is a variety of rice that is primarily grown in India, especially in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
It is a small-grained, aromatic rice that is known for its unique flavor and fragrance. The name “Seeraga” is derived from the Tamil word “Seeragam,” which means “cumin seeds,” referring to the tiny size of the rice grains and their flavor profile similar to cumin.
Seeraga Samba is widely used in South Indian cuisine, particularly in dishes like biryani, pulao, and other rice-based dishes, as it imparts a delicate aroma and enhances the flavor of the dish. It is also popular for its unique texture and ability to separate grains when cooked.
You can replace Seeraga Samba Rice with any other non-sticky short-grain rice like Surti Kolam, Sona Masuri, etc to make Ambur biryani.
Chicken – Use skinless bone-in chicken pieces for the best flavor.
Red Chilli Paste – Prepared with dry red chilies, this ingredient makes a lot of difference in the taste of the Ambur star biryani and is also one of the key ingredients for the traditional taste. So do not miss this one!
I make my own Red Chili Paste at home but you can buy a bottle as well.
Whole Spices – You will need a few whole spices such as cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms, and bay leaves.
Fresh Herbs – Fresh herbs like cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) and mint leaves add a refreshing flavor.
Others – You will also need onions, vegetable oil, plain yogurt (dahi, curd), ginger garlic paste, fresh tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and water.
How To Make Ambur Chicken Biryani
Wash 2 cups of Seeraga Samba Rice with water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak it in 4-5 cups of water for 30 minutes.
Heat 5 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a heavy bottom large pot over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add a 1-inch piece of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves, 2-3 green cardamoms, and 2 bay leaves, and let them crackle for 5-6 seconds.
Add 1 cup of thinly sliced onions and fry until onions turn slightly brown, stirring frequently.
Add 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, and 1 tablespoon red chili paste, and fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Now add 1 cup thinly sliced tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add ¼ cup of whisked plain yogurt, and 1 teaspoon lime juice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon chopped mint and cook for a minute. Stir frequently while cooking.
Now add ½ kg of rinsed skinless bone-in chicken (cut into 1-½ inch pieces) and 2 teaspoon salt and toss it well with the masala. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add 3 cups of water and stir gently.
Drain the water from the rice and spread the rice over the masala very gently.
Reduce the heat to very low.
Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook the biryani for 30-35 minutes or until the rice is perfectly cooked and all the liquid is absorbed.
Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Fluff the Ambur biryani using a fork.
Pro Tips By Neha
If your heat doesn’t go very low, then keep a griddle over the flame and then keep the pot over it to cook the biryani perfectly.
Add more red chili paste if you like spicer Ambur biryani.
The water and rice measurement are very important. Use standard cup measures to measure the ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. This biryani is only made using seera samba rice.
2. There is no use of green chillies and ghee to make it.
3. This biryani is light on the stomach and is easily digestible, unlike the other ghee and masala-laden versions.
Yes, sure, you can, however, the cooking process will be slightly different as mutton needs much more time to cook than chicken. Check out this post to make Ambur Mutton Biryani.
This delicious Ambur Biryani is traditionally served with brinjal curry, onion or cucumber raita, and fried papad on the side.
Ambur Biryani can be stored in an air-tight container for 3-4 days, in the refrigerator.
Reheat it in a pan or microwave until nice and hot, while serving. Sprinkle a little water on top, if you feel the rice has become dry after refrigeration.
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Star Hotel Ambur Chicken Biryani Recipe
- 2 cups Seeraga Samba rice
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
- 3-4 cloves (laung)
- 2-3 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
- 2 whole bay leaves (tejpatta)
- 1 cup thinly sliced onions
- 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon red chili paste
- 1 cup thinly sliced tomatoes
- ¼ cup whisked plain yogurt (dahi, curd)
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- 1 pound skinless bone-in chicken (500 g, cut into 1-½ inch pieces)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups water
- Wash rice with water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak it in 4-5 cups of water for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom large pot over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, and bay leaves and let them crackle for 5-6 seconds.
- Add onions and fry until onions turn slightly brown, stirring frequently.
- Add ginger garlic paste, and chili paste, and fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Now add tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add yogurt, and lime juice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add cilantro and mint and cook for a minute. Stir frequently while cooking.
- Now add chicken and salt and toss it well with the masala. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water and stir gently.
- Drain the water from the rice and spread the rice over the masala very gently.
- Reduce the heat to very low.
- Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook the biryani for 30-35 minutes or until the rice is perfectly cooked and all the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the Ambur biryani using a fork.
- Serve hot.