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Friday, February 6, 2015

Mutton Biryani | Step by step recipe of Mutton Biryani | How to make Mutton Biryani

Let me share some historic background of biryani which will justify as to why the recipe is so lengthy. This dish originated in Persia and that's how it gets its name from a Persian word 'birian' which means 'fried before cooking'. It might have entered India through Afghanistan, or may be via Arabs through Arabian Sea. Let's not forget the contribution by the Mughal empire which shows in Awadhi cuisine.

The whole process of biryani involves preparation of the gravy and rice separately, combining together with few other aromatics and cooking in a process called "dum cooking". It's basically a one pot dish which requires no other side dish. But for me a biryani is incomplete without a Raita. Just follow all the steps and you will not be disappointed with end results.


  • For a good biryani the gravy should be a bit more pungent and spicy than the usual mutton gravy.
  • The rice has to be basmati rice with extra long grain. Overcooked rice can ruin the whole thing.
  • While assembling the biryani take a large vessel so that whole thing is loosely packed. This allows the steam to circulate evenly.
Serves 4 to 5
Preparation time: 1 hr. 30 min.

To simplify the biryani recipe, I have divided the procedure into three parts.

Step 1: Biryani Masala

Step 2: Gravy / Curry

Step 3: Rice preparation and Dum Cooking

Step 1:

Ingredients for Biryani Masala:
  • 3" stick of cinnamon, 4 cardamom, 6-7 cloves
  • 1 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds (badi saunf)
  • 8 almonds chopped
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 3 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 7 cloves garlic chopped
  • 8 green chillies ( or according to preference)
  • 1 small onion chopped. 
  • 1 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
  1. Dry roast whole spices ( black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds) almonds and poppy seeds till they start giving a pleasant aroma. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in same pan and fry ginger, garlic, green chilies and onion.
  3. In a grinder combine all of the above ingredients and grind to a smooth paste. If needed add very little water. 
  4. This is the biryani masala paste. ( You can always prepare this masala and store it in the freezer.)

Step 2:

Ingredients for the Gravy:
  • 1 kilo Mutton
  • 3 big size onion sliced (3 cups)
  • 2 big size ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 4 green chilies slitted
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • Oil for cooking ( 1/2 cup)
  • Salt to taste
  • Biryani masala paste
Method for Gravy:
  1. Wash mutton pieces and marinade with yogurt, ginger & garlic paste and salt as required for about 1 hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and fry onion till light golden. 
  3. Add whole green chilies, tomatoes, turmeric and coriander powder and fry till tomatoes are cooked and oil starts separating. (The raw smell of spices should turn aromatic).
  4. Now add the marinated mutton pieces and cook on high flame for about 2 minutes stirring constantly. Finally add biryani masala paste along with half cup of water and salt.
  5. Stir well, close the lid and cook till mutton is just done. (Do not over cook the mutton).
  6. Once the mutton is cooked add lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves and cook for another minute. Now the gravy is ready but keep it warm.




Step 3:

Ingredients for cooked rice
  • 5 cups Basmati Rice (tea cup) washed & soaked for 20 minutes
  • 2 " piece of Cinnamon stick
  • 4 pods of green cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dry lemon (optional)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Salt as required
  • 3 tbsp of oil
  1. Heat a big size cooking pot and boil water in it. Water should be filled up to 3/4 of its capacity.
  2. Once the water starts boiling, add all whole spices along with salt, vinegar and oil.
  3. Now slowly add the soaked rice and cook till it is 80% done.
  4. Sieve the rice in large colander and keep the rice warm. 

Rice preparation and Dum procedure

Step 4:

Dum cooking

Keep the following things ready before starting the dum procedure:
  • Hot mutton gravy
  • Cooked rice (warm)
  • 1 cup fried onion (Birishta)
  • 1/2 cup fried nuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk with a pinch of yellow food colour and 1 tsp rose water.
  • 4 tbsp of ghee or butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves + few mint leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp of shahi jeera (optional). 
  1. Keep an old pan on heat for preheating. ( to keep the biryani pot on it for dum cooking)
  2. Take a large non stick pan and add the mutton gravy as first layer. ( preserve some gravy if you find it in excess)
  3. Now spread half of the cooked rice evenly and loosely over the gravy without pressing it. 
  4. Sprinkle the coloured milk (2 to 3 tsp), fried onion, garam masala powder, shahi jeera and chopped herbs.
  5. Spread rest of the rice and repeat the step 4.
  6. Finally pour melted ghee or butter and make big deep dents into the rice so that the steam can come to the surface.
  7. Cover the pot with an aluminium foil and place the lid in a way that no steam escapes.
  8. Place the biryani pot on the preheated hot pan and cook on low flame for about 15 minutes.
  9. When you see that the foil is up with lot of steam, switch off the flame and keep the biryani covered for another 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes open the lid and serve the biryani hot with Raita


  1. Looks yummy....this is in my to-do list. Will let you know how this turns out

  2. Assalamualaikum, tried this biryaani with chicken and came out very good, masha Allah. Have tried many othrr dishes from your page too, jazakallah khair for sharing. :-)

  3. tried this biryani and everyone loved it

  4. tried your biryani recipe and it was good

  5. I love your recipes and you have a fantastic blog very professional. Cannot get enough of your recipes. Thanks for sharing
    I just want to add the history of biryani from Wikipedia lol

    Thank you again

  6. Tried this tastes delicious.not tasted such yummy biryani earlier

  7. very nice blog..thanks for sharing..Mutton Biriyani is my all tym favorite..thanks for the recipe..i am gonna try it..

  8. How long do we roast the dry ingredients...mine always gets burnt.

    1. Not much actually....just till the spice get warm as it becomes easier to grind. You have to giv it full attention and it will be for just 1 min of roasting.

  9. Im no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent You certainly understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that.
    step and repeat backdrop

  10. Hi.. could you please specify the amount of rice in 250 ml cup?