The Difference Between Malabar Biryani and Hyderabadi Biryani
The difference between malabar vs hyderabadi biryani


Though preparing the world-famous biryani requires considerable time and practice, it is definitely worth the effort. Layered with lamb/chicken/fish/beef or vegetables in a rich sauce, long-grained rice (like basmati) seasoned with saffron and other fragrant spices,  biryani is cooked over a low flame with a dough-sealed lid. This savoury dish is more popular in South-Asian countries and other parts of the world like Iran, Thailand, and Malaysia.

There is significant debate over how this cuisine originated. Still, most people think it originated as a simple rice and meat dish in Persia before making its way to India. After Biryani entered India, the dish got a whole lot of variations, especially in places with a heavy culinary influence from Muslim foods. This included places like Hyderabad and cities on the southern coast like Malabar in Kerala. 

This dish’s primary ingredients include rice, meat, marinade, and spices. While basmati rice is definitely prevalent, southern regions also have alternative grains like seeraga samba and jeerakasala. The type of protein will depend on the region from which the biryani is made; coastal places, for instance, will include fish and shrimp, while inland regions may include chicken, goat, mutton, and beef.

Read until the end of the blog to know more about the types of biryani and the differences between Malabar and Hyderabadi Biryani.

Types of Biryani you can find in India

Biryani’s numerous variations are defined by where the dish is prepared. While some differences are subtle, others can be identified by the addition or replacement of certain ingredients.

Here are some of the most common types of biryani you can find in India:

  • Lucknowi Biryani: The Lucknowi Biryani, also known as the ‘Awadhi biryani,’ stands out due to its cooking style, known as dum pukht. This is a terrific option for those who want their biryani less spicy and easier on their tummy.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani: Along with the rice, this biryani includes goat meat that has been marinated, cooked, and spiced with saffron and fresh coriander. This is usually served with Mirch ka salon and raita.
  • Malabar Biryani: This biryani dish is prepared with the jeerakasala/khyma rice instead of Basmati and is considered the easiest Biryani recipe ever! Fun fact: this biryani is served with coconut chutney!
  • Ambur Biryani: This Biryani stands out from the crowd because of the rice used – seeraga samba rice – which gives the dish a very earthy flavour. The rice and meat are cooked separately and combined with curd, mint leaves, and other spices.
  • Calcutta Biryani: The main ingredients in this biryani are potatoes and eggs; meat is used only occasionally. The marinade contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and other spices, making it much milder in terms of spice.
  • Dindigul Biryani: This type of biryani uses black pepper and south Indian garam masala to amp up the flavour. Before cooking, the meat is marinated in curd and lemon, adding a fresh, tangy flavour to the biryani.
  • Sindhi Biryani: This biryani originated in present-day Pakistan and is more common there. The flavour is piquant and aromatic due to the generous use of chopped chillies, roasted spices, mint and coriander leaves, onions, nuts, dried fruits, and sour yoghurt. 

All about Malabar Biryani

Hailing from the scenic coastal town of Malabar in Kerala, the Thalaserry (also called Malabar Biryani) Biryani is a recent favourite among Biryani lovers of the country. If you ever plan a trip to Malabar, make sure you don’t end the trip without tasting a plateful of mouthwatering biryani that is offered all the way from Kozhikode to Kasargod. Given that Kerala’s northern region is referred to as the “Spice Coast of Malabar,” it only makes sense to assume that this area may have given birth to the Malabar Biryani.

And when it comes to the Malabar/Thalassery Biryani, its soul lies in the rich and robust masalas. The dish includes chicken, small-grained rice known as jeerakasala, and ghee. The rice and chicken are cooked separately and then layered on top of each other, closed with a dough-sealed lid with hot charcoals placed above it. The Malabar biryani is served best with coconut and coriander chutney, raita, and date pickle.

And at the time of serving, the rice and meat are mixed, topped with fried onions, fennel seeds, cashews, and coriander, and served in the same pot it was cooked in. The majority of Indian spices are used in the preparation, with only a small amount of chilli.

Due to its flavorful sweetness and soft flesh, Malabar Biriyani stands apart from the crowd with its universal appeal. Adding to this, Malabar Biriyani is also the most preferred dish for any festivities and is the ideal comfort food for a hungry soul.

All about Hyderabadi Biryani

Believed to have come straight from Persia, Biryani has been on the palette of Hyderabadi cuisine for over 400 years now.  Hyderabadi Biryani, also known as Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, is one of the most popular Biryanis in India due to its exotic flavours and spices. It originated in the kitchens of the Nizams of Hyderabad and is a fusion of both Hyderabadi and Mughlai cuisines.

It’s typically prepared using the layering method, where semi-cooked basmati rice (drizzled with Kesar water) and raw meat/vegetables (mutton or chicken) are layered one on top of the other and cooked in a dough-sealed closed pot on low heat until the meat and rice are slow-cooked, and the flavours from the meat have absorbed into the rice. Garnished with fresh coriander and mint leaves, this is usually served with Mirch ka salon and raita.

The rich flavours of the Hyderabadi biryani come from a generous amount of whole spices like cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon. And best of all, the decadent aroma of the biryani that makes everyone drool over it is created with the addition of kewda, rose water, and subtle notes of saffron in the dish. 

The Hyderabadi Dum Biryani has two different cooking methods- the Kacchi Yakhni and the Pakki Yakhni

Kacchi Yakhni: In this cooking style, raw marinated meat (marinated overnight) is layered between rice and cooked on low flame. The meat is sandwiched between layers of rice in a Handi (big bowl) and slowly cooked in the dum style.

Pakki Yakhni: In this style of cooking, pre-cooked meat is layered with rice. The meat is marinated for a shorter period of time and is partially cooked before being placed in a Handi and sealed to release aroma and savoury sauces into the dish.

The Hyderabadi biryani is one of India’s most popular types of biryani, mainly due to its unique cooking style and the confluence of various rich flavours and spices from both the south and other foreign parts of the world.

What’s the difference between the two?

Now that you have quite a bit of idea about both the types of Biryani, let’s now point out the differences between them.

We will be differentiating between Malabar Biryani and Hyderabadi Biryani based on these following pointers:


  • Malabar Biryani- For many centuries, the Malabar Coast used to be the landing poit for many Arab traders. After a while, these traders married local women in the region, which led to new community of Muslims called the Mappilas. It is believed that the Malabar Biryani is the result of the mixing of these two cultures and ultimately, their cuisines. 
  • Hyderabadi Biryani- After the Mughals took control of Hyderabad in the 1630s, the city came under the control of Nizams. So, naturally, Hyderabadi cuisine is a fusion of Mughlai and local cooking styles. Following the decline of the Mughal Empire in the 1800s, Hyderabad became the epicenter of South Indian cuisine and thus, the birthplace of the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani.


  • Malabar Biryani- The rice and chicken are cooked separately and then layered on top of each other, closed with a dough-sealed lid. At the time of serving, the rice and meat are mixed, topped with garnishes like onions and cashews. 
  • Hyderabadi Biryani- This biryani can be cooked in two styles- kacchi (raw) and pakki (cooked). Both these styles refer to the choice of protein. You can either layer raw marinated meat with rice or semi-cooked meat with rice. Both of them have different flavours, aroma, and taste. 


  • Malabar Biryani- In this type of Biriyani, a special type of short-grained rice called the jeerakasala/khyma is used. This type of rice can only be originally found in the Malabar region and not anywhere else.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani- In Hyderabadi biryani, the classic long-grained and aromatic Basmati rice is used for the preparation. 


  • Malabar Biryani- When it comes to Malabar Biryani, the choice of meat can vary between chicken, mutton, or beef with chicken being the most common option.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani- In contrast to Malabar Biryani, biryani lovers from Hyderabad mostly prefer mutton over other meat options like chicken.


  • Malabar Biryani- The spices used in Malabar biryani include: bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, coriander powder, cumin powder, fennel seeds, turmeric and chilli powder.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani- The spices used in Hyderabadi biryani include: saffron, hung curd, rose water, ghee, kewda, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and garlic paste, and other common biryani spices. 


  • Malabar Biryani- The Malabar biryani is served best with coconut and coriander chutney, raita, and date pickle.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani- This biryani is often served with dahi chutney (equivalent to raita) and mirchi ka salan (peanut-based curried chilli peppers).

Enjoy the authentic taste of Biryani!

Did you know that the woodfire way of cooking biryani is considered the best biryani down south? In almost all Tamil Muslim weddings, the biryani dish is the most popular dish on the table with people attending the wedding just so they can have a taste of this heavenly rice dish. And the best part? The chefs at Sulthan’s Biryani follow the same cooking method! So now, you don’t necessarily need to attend a wedding to taste the authentic biryani.

From Lucknowi and Kolkata-styled biryani, we can satisfy all of your biryani cravings with our original recipes and conventional cooking techniques. 


Wrapping up, both Malabar Biryani and Hyderabadi Biryani have their own peculiar taste, spices, flavours, cooking methods, and even the type of rice used. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose your favourite biryani based on your taste preferences. If you like a mild and flavourful biryani, you can go for the Malabar biryani. Or if you want your biryani to be spicy and masala-rich, the Hyderabadi biryani is your best option!

And to have a taste of the authentic biryani full of flavour and aroma, come visit the nearest Sulthan’s Biryani!


1. Is Malabar and Thalassery biriyani same?

Thalassery biryani is well known for its distinctive flavour and aroma and comes from the Malabar area of Kerala. So yes, they both are the same.

2. What is the best biryani in Kerala?

There are many types of biryani in Kerala based on each region. But out of them all, the Malabar biryani is considered the best among everything.

3. What makes Hyderabadi biryani different?

The authentic Hyderabadi biryani is methodically made in which raw meat and raw rice are cooked together in an earthen pot with spices and a tiny bit of water.

4. Which is the most famous city of biryani in India?

A staple of Hyderabadi cuisine, Hyderabad biryani is so well-known that it is often synonymous with the city of Hyderabad.

5. Does Malabar biryani have a hint of sweetness?

Yes, Malabar biryani can have a tad bit of sweetness due to the cashews, raisins, and rose water.