Biryanis are special. And whenever you are making a biryani at home, the entire process is almost a festivity in itself. Also, for the perfect, most aromatic and sumptuous Biryani, it is necessary that you have the best quality ingredients. One of these is the Biryani Masala Powder, the recipe of which I have shared in this post of mine. It is always better to use a homemade masala mix versus a readymade one, to experience the real essence of a robust biryani at home. This is an easy recipe that also doubles up as a great spice powder for your various pulaos too.
About Biryani Masala Powder
Indian cuisine is also famous for making use of a variety of masala or spice blends, some of which are used pan-India and some unique blends that are a pride of Indian regional cuisine.
Biryani Masala Powder is one such spice blend which is an essential one to make a perfect aromatic and delish biryani.
While there is no dearth of readymade masala powders in the market, what I personally feel is that using a homemade spice mix is always advantageous over using the store-bought ones.
You also have a surety of the purity of homemade masala mixes since you take care of the hygiene while preparing them at home. There are many more reasons that can be added to this list.
Thus, with this recipe of Biryani Masala Powder, I’m sure your biryanis will turn out even more flavorful and delightful. Like I said in the beginning, this masala recipe serves a dual purpose, as you can add it to both biryani as well as pulao recipes.
My Biryani Masala recipe gives you such a fragrant and flavorful blend. It is spiced, with a little bit of heat coming from the red chillies, but not overly hot or spicy and has a lovely aroma from the various spices that have been added.
I have used dry red chillies that are not spicy. If using a hotter variety of red chillies, then add 1 to 2 red chillies only. If you want a nice orange colored biryani masala, use 3 Kashmiri red chillies.
The difference this Biryani Masala makes to both biryanis and pulaos can be felt by the aroma and taste. I often made pulaos without adding any pulao masala to it. But I am hooked onto this particular masala mix. And now, I add it to all the pulaos I make.
You don’t need whole spices while making a Pulao Recipe. Just add this Pulao Masala and you are done. However, you can also add whole spices, if you want.
As for a biryani recipe, I just add one tej patta and this Biryani Masala Powder in the gravy. You can add whole spices in the biryani gravy too.
Biryani Masala Know-How
Although, it is no rocket science to prepare this Biryani Masala Powder or Pulao Masala at home, here are some things that you should be doing before beginning with the process:
- To begin with, take all the spices separately in a bowl or plate. Then, check if they have stones, chaffs or husks.
- Make sure there is no hidden mold, fungi or worms on the spices. If yes, then discard these spices. You have to use fresh and the best quality spices for this Biryani Masala Powder. Also, make sure they are in their shelf-life.
- While using cinnamon, use the true cinnamon a.k.a Ceylon cinnamon and the not cassia variety. To know how to find the difference, you can search more on google.
- You can either sun-dry or roast the spices in a pan or oven.
- I usually make this Biryani Masala Powder during summers. So, sun-dried the whole spices for 2 to 4 days. If its cloudy or rainy, then roast each spice till fragrant. Cool and then grind.
This recipe of Biryani Masala Powder gives a small batch of the spice mix, about 75 grams. It is better to make fragrant masalas like these in small batches.
How to Use
Biryani for 4 to 5 servings – 2 teaspoons of Biryani Masala Powder
Pulao for 3 to 4 servings – 1 teaspoon Biryani Masala Powder
How to make Biryani Masala
1. Firstly, take each spice in a plate or bowl and check for stone, husks or any hidden insects. If the spices have mold or there are insects or worms in them, then discard the spices and do not use them.
Below is an infographic representation of the spices required for making this Biryani Masala Powder.
2. Add the whole spices on a plate or tray. Keep in the sun for 2 to 3 days.
3. While sun drying, cover with a fine sieved lid, a muslin or loosely woven cotton napkin, so that dust does not fall on the spices.
During day time, I would keep the spices out. During night, I would keep the plate inside with a loose lid covering it.
4. The picture below is of spices after being sun dried for 4 days. After getting sun dried, there is no trace of any moisture on the spices and they also become slightly crisp.
If you do not get sunlight, then roast the spices one by one in a small pan, till they become aromatic. Keep in mind not to roast the nutmeg.
5. Before you grind the whole spices, take the nutmeg in a mortar-pestle and crush it coarsely. Keep aside.
Make Biryani Masala
6. Add all the whole spices in the dry grinder jar or spice grinder. Break the cinnamon and then add.
You can also use a coffee grinder. Add according to the capacity of the jar.
This is a small batch, so you can grind all the spices at once in your mixer-grinder.
7. Then, add the coarsely crushed nutmeg.
8. Grind to a smooth and fine powder. Tiny grits of spices are alright in the masala.
9. If you want, you can sieve the Biryani Masala Powder and grind the tiny bits left on the sieve.
Let the Biryani Masala Powder cool down. You can spread it on a plate or allow it to cool in the grinder jar itself. Then, spoon the powder in a clean glass jar.
10. Cover tightly and keep in a cool dry place. You can also keep the Biryani Masala Powder in the refrigerator or freezer.
This recipe yields about 75 grams of Biryani Masala Powder.
- Spices: Use fresh spices, and not old ones. To check more on these, read the know-how section above.
- Roasting or Sun-drying Spices? You may roast the spices in a pan/oven, till fragrant, if you don’t have enough sunlight. If you get ample of sunlight, then sun-dry the spices well. After properly sun drying, the whole spices should not have any trace of moisture in them. They should also become slightly crisp.
- Storing: Let the Biryani Masala cool completely and then only store it in an air-tight glass jar. You can store it in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months. You can use this Biryani Masala Powder not just in your biryanis, but also in pulaos.
- Red Chillies: Use dried red chillies that are not too spicy or pungent. If the chillies you have are of a spicier variety, add only 1 to 2 red chillies. To get an orange colored biryani masala, use 3 Kashmiri red chillies or 3 Byadagi chillies. Remember to remove the seeds and crowns before you sun dry or roast the chillies.
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Biryani Masala Recipe | Homemade Biryani Masala Powder
- 3 tablespoons coriander seeds (sabut dhania) – 16 grams
- 3 tablespoons caraway seeds (shahi jeera) – 19 grams
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera) – 8 grams
- 1 tablespoon mace strands (javitri) – 4 grams
- 15 green cardamoms (choti elaichi) or 3 grams green cardamoms
- 1 tablespoon cloves (lavang) – 4 grams
- 8 tej patta – small to medium sized, (Indian bay leaf)
- 4 dry red chilies (sookhi lal mirch) – 3 grams, crowns and seeds removed
- 3 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
- 5 cinnamon sticks (dalchini) – each of about 3 inches – 2 grams
- 1 nutmeg – small-sized, (jaiphal) – 5 grams
- ½ tablespoon black peppercorns (sabut kali mirch) – 3 grams
- First take each spice in a plate or bowl and check for stone, husks, or any hidden mold or insects.
- Discard the stones or husks. If the spices have mold or there are insects or worms in them, then discard the spices and do not use them.
- Add the whole spices in a plate or tray. Spread them evenly. Keep in the sun for 2 to 3 days.
- While sun drying, cover with a fine sieved lid or a muslin or loosely woven cotton napkin, so that dust does not fall on the spices. During day time, I would keep the spices out. During night, I would keep the plate inside with a loose lid covering it.
- After getting sun dried, there will be no trace of any moisture on the spices and they also become slightly crisp.
- Before you begin, grinding the whole spices, take the nutmeg in a mortar-pestle and crush it coarsely. Keep aside.
Making biryani masala
- Now add all the whole spices in the dry grinder jar or coffee grinder or spice grinder. Break the cinnamon sticks and then add.
- Add according to the capacity of the jar. This is a small batch, so you can grind all the spices at once in your mixer-grinder.
- Then add the coarsely crushed nutmeg powder.
- Grind to a fine and smooth powder. Tiny grits of the spices are fine in the masala.
- If you want, you can sieve the powder and grind the tiny bits left on the seive. Let the powder cool down. You can spread it in a plate or allow it to cool in the grinder jar itself. Let the biryani masala cool completely.
Storage and Serving Suggestions
- Spoon the homemade biryani masala powder in a clean glass jar.
- Seal tightly with lid and keep in a cool dry place.
- You can also keep the biryani masala powder in the fridge or freezer.
- This recipe yields about 75 grams of biryani masala powder.
- When making biryani for 4 to 5 servings, add 2 teaspoons of the Biryani Masala.
- For pulao made for 3 to 4 servings, add 1 teaspoon of this Biryani Masala Powder.
- Spices: Use fresh spices, and not old ones. Make sure the spices are of good quality. If possible, use organic spices.
- Roasting Spices: You can opt to roast the spices one by one in a small frying pan or skillet instead or sun-drying them. Roast them till they look crisp and are fragrant. After roasting place them in a plate or tray to cool completely. Then grind them to a fine powder. Remember not to roast nutmeg.
- Storing: Let the Biryani Masala cool completely and then only store it in an air-tight glass jar. You can store it in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months.
- Usage: You can use this Biryani Masala Powder not just in your biryanis, but also in pulaos.
- Red Chillies: Try to use dried red chillies that are not too spicy or pungent. If you have very spicy red chillies, add only 1 to 2 of it. To get an orange colored biryani masala, use 3 Kashmiri red chillies or 3 Byadagi chillies. Remember to remove the seeds and crowns before you sun dry or roast the chillies.
- Scaling: This recipe can be scaled to make a big batch. You can grind the spices in a local mill or a home mill.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Biryani Masala recipe from the archives, originally published in July 2016 has been updated and republished on January 2023.