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Non-Vegetarian Dishes

Chicken Biriyani – A Wholesome Feast from Ustad Hotel

Ustad Hotel is a simple film. It is not a simplistic film.

Some movies entertain us. Others touch us. A few make us think. Ustad Hotel combines them in a two-hour feast. A fabulous background of the sun, sand and ocean, colourful visuals of Kerala parotha and Malabar Biriyani, the charm exuded by the actors,  foot – tapping rhythm of the local rock group’s number and the apt background music in tune with the ambience of Kozhikode make it an absolute watch.

The opening sequence begins with an engaging narration. The circumstances of Faisi’s birth and the environment that shaped him, is tight and entertaining. The hitchhiking sequence wherein the relationship between Faisi and Shahana changes slowly and surely into a warmer, closer one is exquisitely screened and the sparkling  vibes get to you as well.

Dulquar Salman ( Faisi ) has stepped out of the shadows of his father.  A natural actor, he has delivered a layered performance. Thilakan is fabulous and brings to life the role of the grandfather with effortless ease. Pearls of wisdom strewn throughout the movie are thought-provoking. A new lease of life is injected into him when he dares to hope that his grandson will continue the legacy of his heart and soul, Ustad hotel and the inimitable biriyani. The intent, and how events twist and turn is interesting.

Nithya Menon is bubbly and plays her part to perfection. Siddique steals the scenes when he appears. Much of the magic of the film has to be credited to the director Anwar Rasheed and the screenwriter, Anjali Menon.

Usthad Hotel entertains, with a message. In short, it pulls us out of our inertia, urges us to take the blindfold off our eyes and be aware of the world outside of the cocoons we have woven ourselves into. A universal message of brotherhood is sent straight into the hearts of viewers  to make a change for a better world. You leave the cinema hall feeling good and warm inside…

Chicken Biriyani


  • Jeera Rice / Basmati Rice – 1 kg
  • Chicken – 1 kg, cut into small pieces
  • Coconut – ½ grated
  • Oil – ¾ cup
  • Ghee – 3 tsp

To Grind: Masala – 1

  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

To Fry and Grind: Masala – 2

  • Ginger – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Green chillies – 3, chopped
  • Cloves – 8
  • Cinnamon – 3 pieces of 1″ each
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Garlic – 1 tbsp, chopped

To Wash Well and Chop Finely:

  • Fenugreek leaves – 1 bunch
  • Pudina leaves – 1 bunch
  • Coriander leaves – 1 bunch

To Garnish:

  • Onion – 1, cut into fine long slivers
  • Cashewnuts – 1 tbsp
  • Raisins – 2 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  • Wash chicken pieces well and keep to drain.
  • Add ½ a cup of water to grated coconut, and extract coconut milk.
  • Heat a big, thick bottomed vessel. Pour oil into it. When hot add chopped pudina, fenugreek, coriander leaves carefully.
  • When oil comes on top and an aroma arises, put the drained chicken pieces into the pan and stir well for about 5 minutes.     
  • Now add salt, Masala – 1 and Masala – 2  to the pan. Mix well. Lower heat and keep it simmering for about 8 minutes.
  • Next add ghee, stir in the drained rice on medium heat, and add 8 cups, inclusive of coconut milk and the rest water to the pan. Adjust heat accordingly.
  • When the mixture boils, lower heat, and keep it simmering. Close the pan. When all the liquid is absorbed,and the rice and the chicken are cooked, which takes about 30 minutes for me, stir it, off the stove and keep it closed to retain the warmth. 
  • For the garnish, fry onions, cashewnuts and raisins,and sprinkle over the dish.
  • Serve hot, delicious Chicken Biriyani with salad, pickle and pappad.

Quick Salad : A simple refreshing Onion Tomato Raitha  – Mix 1 onion finely chopped, one ripe tomato cut small,one finely chopped  hot green chili,  1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander, and fresh curd in a bowl.Add salt to taste.Toss them together thoroughly, cover and refridgerate. Serve chilled.

Fenugreek Leaves:  Fresh fenugreek leaves, also known as methi leaves /Uluva Ela / Venthiya keerai are rich in the minerals – iron, potassium and calcium, vitamins C & K .

Quick Tip: Sprinkling salt or sugar while frying onions helps to make the frying quicker.

About Paddy

When I married and came to Bangalore, it was a real ‘Pensioners’ Paradise.’ The climate was as today’s generation would say – ‘Awesome’. It was cool and pleasant throughout the year. My parents cautioned me to keep warm and have given me the loveliest Kashmir shawls, which I treasure to this day. Since I could not distinguish between rice and dal, cooking was an uphill task. I had a cook from Kerala, but the cold weather did not suit her and in a month’s time, she went back. Looking back, I have come a long way now… Cooking for me has metamorphosed from a daily routine of making edible and nutritious food for my family to an exciting journey of creativity by experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. To me, food is not only for nourishment and sustenance. Its taste and flavors take us back to our good times too. Food is nostalgia and comfort. It brings home our culture. Food is a treat and nourishment for the soul too. I dedicate this blog to my parents, who instilled in me a strong sense of ethics and discipline, and whose affection, love and support gives me strength in this journey of life. I feel the need of today’s generation, who come away from their homes and crave for home cooked food. To you too, I dedicate this blog, where I will share the recipes that I have learnt and grown to love over the years.


12 thoughts on “Chicken Biriyani – A Wholesome Feast from Ustad Hotel

  1. Great presentation & connectivity ! CHECHI!!!
    YES! I saw this movie too. Enjoyed watching it.
    The script has been so penned- and it’s direction so crisp, that the viewers
    Are treated to a wholesome meal.
    I was caught in a whirlpool of hilarious incidents
    (scenes outside the delivery room..ha ha haa !!, The Pennukaanal!!!!)
    Touched by the drama of human relations
    Romance, defiance, and finally a conclusive end.
    Dulquar Salman..with his honest performance…bought over the audience
    Nithya Menon…the sparkling vibrant beauty wooed the audience
    Siddique and Thilakan shone as always
    After the quick paced first part of the movie,
    I found the second part towards the last …not as slick as the first part
    The strong human elements, the message it subtlety pushes across,grasping humour all along
    And good music
    Makes USTAD HOTEL a winner !

    Posted by Sarala | July 22, 2012, 6:03 PM
  2. Looks delicious! Thanks for the complete set of instructions…

    Posted by Rhonda Sittig | July 23, 2012, 9:17 AM
  3. Chechi, I forgot the most comment on the most important part in the blog !
    Your presentation is simple and easy to follow
    The photograph of the ingredients makes it easy for us to understand,emulate and follow…
    The photographs also tells us the actual consistency of the chicken with the ground and sauted masala…
    the colour, and its appearance …When the rice is added.
    I loved it….
    CHE !!!!! I am so proud of you !!!

    Posted by Sarala | July 26, 2012, 11:36 AM
  4. Come visit my blog, I have nominated your’s for an award.

    Posted by khaula mazhar | July 28, 2012, 4:15 AM
  5. this is my fav:):)

    Posted by scribbleofhappygoluckygal | August 5, 2012, 2:37 PM
  6. m..yum yum 🙂

    Posted by ritz | June 14, 2013, 8:24 PM

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