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Recipe: Nadiya's Traditional Mutton Biryani

July 11, 2022 12:55 IST
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Traditional Mutton Biryani cooked with pungent spices lend special flavour to the dish.

You can enjoy Nadiya Sarguroh's take on Mutton Biryani with Raita or salad to balance all the masala and spice.


Photograph: Kind courtesy Nadiya Sarguroh

Mutton Biryani

Serves: 4


For the mutton marination

  • 1 kg mutton
  • 4 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 200 gm yogurt
  • 4 big tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 tbsp red chilly powder
  • 2 tbsp dhania or coriander powder
  • ½ tbsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • ½ tbsp jeera or cumin powder
  • ½ tbsp garam masala powder
  • 250 gm sliced onions, caramelised
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4-6 green chillies, slit into half
  • Salt to taste

For the biryani masala

  • 1 cup oil
  • 3-4 tej patta or bay leaves
  • 2 sticks dal cheeni or cinnamon
  • 5-6 green elaichi or cardamom
  • 1 badi elaichi or big black cardamom
  • 1 chakra phool or star anise
  • 4-5 potatoes, peeled, cut into halves and fried

For the biryani rice

  • 4-5 l hot water, preferably boiling
  • 1 kg long basmati rice, soaked in the hot water for 30 minutes, the grains should be completely submerged
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 5 green elaichi or cardamom
  • 5 laung or cloves
  • 2 dal cheeni or cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

For the assembly

  • 1½ cup onion, caramelised
  • 1 cup kesar or saffron infused water
  • ½ cup finely chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro


For the mutton marination

  • In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the marination.
    Mix well and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

For the biryani masala

  • Heat the 1 cup oil in a pressure cooker over medium heat.
    Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black cardamom, star anise.
    Let the spices toast for a few minutes to release their flavour.
    Add to the marinating mutton and mix well.
    Cover the pressure cooker and cook for several whistles until the mutton is tender.
    Reduce the heat, and let the pressure release. 
    Open the cooker and add the cut potatoes and mix.
    Let the potatoes cook over low heat until done.
    Take off heat and set aside.

For the biryani rice

  • Heat 4-5 litres of water in a large saucepan over high heat.
    Add the whole spices for the biryani rice and mix.
    Add the soaked rice and salt.
    Cook the rice until it is 90 per cent done.
    Take off heat, drain the excess water and set aside.

For the assembly

  • Heat oil and the masala from the marinated mutton in a large saucepan over low heat.
    Add a layer of rice, followed with a layer of mutton gravy.
    Keep alternating until all the mutton and rice is over.
    Garnish with caramelised onions, saffron-infused water over the biryani.
    Drizzle some oil and let the biryani simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
    Take off heat, garnish with coriander and serve hot with salad or Raita.

Having a meal with vegetarians or vegans? Whip up Manasi Sadarangani's Vegetable Pot Biryani or Bethica Das's Raw Jackfruit Dum Biryani.

For vegans, replace the ghee with oil and yoghurt with vegan yoghurt in these recipes and omit the paneer.

Omit onions and garlic and ginger to make the recipes suitable for Jains.

Nadiya Sarguroh lives in Mumbai and publishes the food blog HautePot.

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