Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mutton Biryani

Whenever I cook mutton dishes I am reminded of a friend and her family. It is always a joy going out to eat with them, go to their place or have them come over for a meal. Their love for food is infectious especially non-veg food. The husband, wife and child all enjoyed their food immensely, appreciating good food and fearless to call out something that is not cooked properly. If they enjoy a certin food they let it be known which in itself is a treat. The places we visited with them, even if it was a little hole in the wall, the commonality was they all had the best made food.

To enjoy good food you need company that enjoys food too, else it is an exercise in futility trying to satisfy all sides and the process itself turns arduous. As our luck would have it the family moved back home a few years ago. It is company like that you need when you visit a place like this one and the one and only time we visited was with them. There are not many people who can go through the process of eating three courses of non-veg, survive and have anything to do with meat for a couple of months in the least.

Just a sample of their love for food, On a trip to the local zoo, we had packed the usual tamarind rice, lemon rice and yogurt rice but when sat down to eat, out came the fried dried fish which was delicious. They were of the opinion a little something is required to elevate the meal. Her fried full fish are the most delicious and the biryanis simply the best.

I have tried to recreate her Mutton biryani and I think I have succeeded, not to recreate hers exactly, but in the process learn to make one tasty biryani. I usually precook the mutton pieces in a pressure cooker but if you have tender meat just saute them in the spices and then add the rice.

Mutton Biryani
1. 1 1/2 lbs mutton
2. 1 1/2 cups onions sliced + 1/2 cup chopped onions
3. 2 cups Basmati rice or Seeraga Samba Rice
4. 3 tbsp heaped ginger and garlic minced (10 garlic cloves + 2 inch piece of ginger) + 3 garlic cloves and 1 inch piece of ginger chopped roughly
5. 1 cup ( 2 tomatoes chopped)
6. 2 cups packed mint leaves
7. 1/2 cup of coriander leaves
8. 12 green chilies slit
9. 2 tbsp of yogurt
10. seasonings - cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and curry leaves
11. 1/2 tbsp pepper powder (optional)
12. 1 tbsp chili powder or meat masala powder (optional)
13. 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
14. salt to taste
15. 2 tsp of oil

Method - precooked mutton pieces and using pressure cooker
1. Take the washed mutton pieces in a pressure cooker, add turmeric powder, 1/2 cup chopped onions, the chopped ginger and garlic, 5 slit green chilies and pepper powder and enough water to cover the mutton and let it cook for 4-5 whistles, let cool and transfer.
Note: If you are using tender meat skip this step.

1.b Wash and soak the rice for half an hour, just before you start to saute the onions

2. In the pressure cooker add oil and when hot add all the seasonings and when they just start to turn color add the onions and saute till they start to turn brown
3. Add the minced ginger garlic and green chilies and saute continuously for 4-5 minutes. Take care not to let them brown or stick to the bottom
4. Add the chopped mint and coriander leaves and saute them till they are nicely wilted
5. Now using a slotted spoon transfer just the meat pieces to the onion mixture in the cooker and mix it in well. If you are adding chili powder or masala powder add it at this stage.
6.Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and let it cook for till the tomatoes are mushy and soft
7. Add the washed rice and saute for 2-3 minutes
8. Add the reserved water in the ratio required for the rice, I usually add 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of Basmati rice, seeraga samba rice requires 2 cups of water
9. Let the water come to a boil, check for salt and heat (add more chili powder/pepper powder if required)
10. Let the rice cook for 6-8 minutes in medium heat. Mix in the yogurt
11. Place the lid and cook in a slightly lower heat for not more than 8 minutes
12. Let the pressure cooker cool and then mix the rice gently

Method 2 - Sauteing the meat, precooked rice and stove top with dum
1. Skip step 1 of the previous method (just slice all of the onions and mince all of the ginger and garlic)
2. Follow steps 2-4 as above
3. Add the mutton pieces saute till they are completely cooked
4. Meantime set a pot of salted water to boil and let the rice be half cooked. Drain the water completely
5. Add the chili powder and pepper powders
6. Add the tomatoes and saute till they are mushy and soft
7. Now add in the rice and mix it in gently
8. Remove from the heat and finish in a preheated 350F oven for 8-10 minutes

Serve with onion raita


  1. I should try your Biryani dishes soon Indo. They look so delicious. There are so many good Biryani places here that we end up eating out when the craving hits. BTW there is a restaurant serving Chettinad Biryani in NJ, it is a very diff style and totally delish

    So sad that such friends went back to India, lure them back with this Biryani :-)

    I love people who think there is more to food than just a mean to survive

  2. I know what you mean about needing good company to enjoy good food. Luckily I have many :) And the biryani has set off some major cravings!

  3. I totally agree to enjoy good food you need people who really enjoy them too.
    I have a aunt ehre and he is a real foodie and it is always a pure pleasure to cook for her when we ask her as she just loves food and she enjoys eating them and so excited to know what are the ingriendets you put in the dishes etc....
    Biriyani looks so so good,we don't get mutton here whivh i thinkis real shame.

  4. Like Sandeepa, I have to start making your Biryanis too! they are so delectable.

    Totally agree with the idea that you need good company to enjoy good food.

  5. Mouthwatering briyani, looks very tempting..

  6. Biryani looks delicious, ISG! I have been craving one of your spicy biryanis... might have to improvise a little though, with no mutton around here :)

    Have a happy weekend!

    BTW your garden post a few previous is fantastic. Looks like you've got a bountiful harvest already!

  7. Sandeepa, people in NJ are lucky where varieties of Indian fare are concerned. You should Sandeepa, take out biryanis are great but for the oil and fat.

    Sig you are lucky.

    HC and Linda if you get lamb that should work too.

    Kay you should.

  8. I believe in the same theory and being born in such a family I always had great company while enjoying good food. love to cook biriyani but seldom get a chance as I dont eat meat and cooking single portion is noth worth the labour.
    your recipe looks lovely.

  9. Hey Indo.. I love biryanis and make them every now and then for guesty occasions. Leftovers are convenient for the lunchbox too.

    I have yet to make mutton at home. Which mutton have you used here (or generally prefer) Lamb/Goat/Beef? Am reluctant to get the frozen stuff at Indian stores.

  10. I so much agree.. good company who loves the food as much as you do makes all the difference in eating and sharing food together. mutton biryani looks delicious; i have been meaning to make chicken biryani for so long, now you re-kindled that desire again.

  11. We are lacking in friends that enjoy good and our kind of food :-( I ma having major biryani craving right now. DD1 is just by me and begging me to make mutton biryani. it will be soon, for I have mutton at home.

  12. Good Information. Thank you for sharing and I want to share information about Tandoori Chef which is An authentic North Indian, fine dining restaurant, Tandoori Chef offers Hackensack and the surrounding area a wonderful taste of Indian cuisine.


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