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Tamil egg biryani

I consider biryanis as the king of all rice dishes from around the world. Layers of rice with a "korma" folded in, these dishes pack flavour. In addition, these dishes are masterfully made with the art of "dum" or closed pot cooking.

This is a biryani from the state of Tamil Nadu. The biryani is mild and loaded with eggs as a protein source instead of the usual meats (mutton, chicken or seafood). The delicate tomato-based sauce that smothers the eggs flavours the rice mildly. This biryani can serve as both a main course or as a side and paired with bolder curries.

This is a specialized cookbook that brings to my library, and dining table, a variety of flavours, styles and diverse sets of dishes. The book also is wonderful at detailing the process of cooking a true biryani, versus the pulao and kichiri. I do enjoy this book for the diversity of flavours, from the super spicy South Indian biryanis to the regal Lucknowi and Hyderabadi biryanis to the mild and delicate North Indian biryanis. This is one of those cookbooks that anyone interested in the art of biryani should own. You will see me cook from here again.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1 1/2 cups long-grain basmati rice

1 bay leaf

2-3 green cardamom pods

2 whole cloves

1-inch cinnamon stick

Water, as needed

1 tablespoon oil

6-7 hard-boiled eggs, 4-5 halved longitudinally and the rest sliced horizontally

A couple of pinched os garam masala

7 medium tomatoes, diced

2 cups water

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons ginger paste

8-10 garlic cloves

6-10 green chillies, or to taste

2 tablespoons oil

2 onions, finely diced

2 tablespoon ghee

1/4 cup water

Cook the rice with the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a pot. Fluff and set aside when done.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the halved eggs till browned. Add the garam masala and remove from the heat. Toss well to coat with the garam masala.

Bring the tomatoes, water and salt to a boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Cool and blitz till smooth in a small blender. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies and purèe till smooth. Set aside.

Heat the oil and add the onions. Fry on medium heat till the onions are golden. Add the tomato paste and cook for 15 minutes till the sauce thickens and the old begins to pool on the surface. You are looking for a thick-ish pasta-like sauce. Taste for salt.

Layer 1/2 of the rice in an oven-safe pot. Layer with the tomato sauce. Add the fried masala eggs with the yolk side down, and bury them into the sauce. Top with the remaining rice and the sliced eggs. Set aside till needed. The dish can be prepped to this stage a day ahead.

heat the oven to 375° F.

Add the water and dab the ghee on top. Bake for 30 minutes till the centre of the biryani is steaming. Serve immediately.

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