Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Malabar Mutton Biriyani

Biriyani.... The first thing to come into the minds of any one from Malabar during any special occasion. This is a blend of rice and either of fish/prawns/chicken/mutton. 

Ingredients – Rice:

Basmati Rice / Jeera Rice    --   ½ kg
Water                               --   1 ½ times that of rice. (Measure the rice in a glass and take the double amount of water. The measurement is important.)
Lemon                              --   1 medium
Cloves                              --   3 - 4
Cardamom                        --   1 - 2
Cinnamon                         --   1 medium piece
Bay leaves                        --   2 leaves
Ghee                                --   2 tbsp
Salt                                  --   1 tbsp (Check the taste though)

Ingredients – Marinade:

Tomato                                  --    1 – 2 medium sized
Turmeric powder                --    ¼ tsp
Chilly powder                       --    ½ tsp
Coriander powder               --    1 tsp
Garam Masala                     --    2 - 3 tsp
Curd                                       --    ½ cup
Coriander leaves                  --   A bunch (around 10 – 12 stem)
Mint leaves                           --   A bunch (around 10 – 12 stem)
Green chillies                       --    6 – 7 
Garlic                                    --    1 pod – medium sized
Ginger                                   --    2 inch piece
Cloves                                   --   6
Cardamom                           --   3 – 4 if green / 1 if black
Cinnamon                             --    1 inch piece
Aniseed                                 --   1
Nutmeg                                 --   ½
Mace                                     --   2 -3
Fennel seeds                        --   1 tsp
Cashews/KhusKhus           --    4 -5 / 1 tsp
Salt                                        --   to taste


Ingredients – Gravy:

Mutton                                 --   ½ kg
Finely Chopped Onions     --   1 – 2 medium sized
Oil                                         --   2 tbsp
Salt                                       --   to taste

Ingredients – Garnishing:

Finely Chopped Onions     --   ½ medium sized
Cashews                              --   a handful
Raisins                                 --   a handful (I don’t use this as )
Coriander leaves                --   a bunch
Garam Masala                   --   2 tsp

Preparation of Gravy:

Grind green chillies, garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, aniseed, cashews, fennel seeds, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon to a fine paste. I had to sacrifice nutmeg and mace this time.

Marinate the mutton with the ground paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder, garam masala, chopped tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves, curd and salt. Keep it aside for an hour.

Saute the chopped onions in oil until they are translucent. Add the marinated mutton and cook it on a low flame.  Since it takes a long time to cook mutton, you can also pressure cook it for around 1 -2 whistles. And then cook on a low flame until the mutton is well cooked and the gravy is of the required consistency.


Do not add water. Water will ooze out from the meat and the curd and onions. Keep the gravy aside.

Preparation of Rice:

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in cold water for 15 – 20 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp of ghee to a vessel and fry the finely chopped onion until its golden brown in colour and keep aside. Onions cook even after taking it out, so make sure that you do not burn them. Fry the cashews and keep aside.

Now fry cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom whole pepper and aniseed. Add more ghee if required. Once the raw smell goes off, add the drained rice and fry for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, keep the water on another stove and let it boil. Add the boiling water to the fried rice. Once the rice starts boiling, add the lemon juice from a lemon (strained juice -> this helps the rice to be non-sticky). Cook the rice with the vessel closed with a lid. Also stir in between to make sure that the rice does not stick on the bottom of the vessel. Once the rice is cooked (It would be only 90% cooked by the time the water evaporates. If not drain the rice while it is 90% cooked. This can vary on the quality/type of the rice.), empty this into another vessel, preferably other flat vessel/plates and let it cool.

Mix the biriyani:

Spread 1 tbsp of ghee in a big vessel (Oven safe, if baking in oven). Spread some rice in the vessel, garnish with the chopped coriander leaves, fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins. Also sprinkle some garam masala. Then spread a layer of mutton gravy.


Repeat this layering until you are done with a layer of rice and the garnishing at the top. Cover this tightly with a foil paper and keep in a pre-heated oven at 250 F for 10 minutes.

Mix the rice and the mutton pieces and serve hot with raitha, pappadam and chammanthi.

Recipe Courtesy: Amma


  1. Hi Nitha...njan ethu try tasted awesome.... thanks 4 this wonderful post...:)...keep posting...

  2. hi, pl confirm once again if it is 250F or 35oF, and should it be there 10 mins or more? pl confirm thnks

    1. It should be at 250F for 10-15 minutes or it can also be 200F for 20 minutes.