Mutton Methi Biryani (Muslim Style)
Prep time: 30mins | Cook time: 30mins+15mins (dum cooking) | Serves 6
For the rice
- 600 gms (3cups) basmati rice * see note #1
- 1/2 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 cloves
- 2 cardamoms
- 1 inch stick cinnamon or cassia bark
- 3 tbsp ghee
- juice of 1 large lime
- 5-1/2 cups of liquid (includes plain water+mutton gravy/stock+lime juice)
For the mutton curry
- 1-1/2 kg Mutton on the bone
- 5 long green chillies left whole (adjust to taste)
- 250ml oil
- 4 cloves
- 2 inch stick cinnamon or cassia bark
- 2-3 cardamoms
- ¼ kg / 4 onions sliced fine
- ¼ kg / 4 tomatoes chopped
- 50gm ginger paste
- 50gm garlic paste
- 2 small bunches of mint leaves (approx 3/4th tightly packed cup)
- 3 small bunches of coriander leaves (approx 1 tightly packed cup)
- 1 fistful fenugreek (methi) leaves (approx 1/2 tightly packed cup)
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- juice of 1 lime
- 3 tbsp curd (or 2 tbsp sour curd)
- 1 stock cube (Maggi) – optional – for additional flavour
Optional (items for garnishing)
- 2 medium sized onions finely sliced for browning (barian)
- 15-20 cashewnut halves
- 1/4 cup raisins
- ghee or oil as required
1. Wash and cut the mutton into big pieces (slightly bigger chunks than your regular curry cuts). Wash the rice in plenty of water 2-3 times or till the water runs clear. Soak for 15-20mins.
2. In a large pressure cooker (at least 7.5 litres) heat the oil and toss in the whole green chillies (do not slit or cut) and fry for half a minute. Cover the pan just so they don’t pop/splash hot oil on your face. Add the cloves, cardamoms and cassia bark and fry for a few seconds till you get a nice aroma.
3. Add the sliced onions and fry till they turn golden. Toss in the ginger and garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste and fry till they turn mushy and the oil starts leaving from the sides.
4. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and mix well. Add the mint, coriander and fenugreek leaves and the mutton and mix well. Bring the mixture to a mild boil and then check salt to taste, lime juice and curd. Add just about 1/2 cup of water.
5. Cover the lid, place the weight and cook on a full flame till the first whistle goes off. Depending on the quality (tenderness) of the meat used you may need to cook it anywhere between 10-15mins. I cook mutton for about 12minutes. Turn off the flame and let the pressure cooker cools down to room temperature and the weights loosens up. Open, stir (check if meat is cooked – if not, back it goes on the flame!) and keep aside.
6. In a large pan, heat some ghee and fry the star anise, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cassia bark for a few seconds. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the pan and fry on a medium flame till the rice begins to feel heavy.
7. In another pan bring the 5-1/2 cups of liquid to a rolling boil and pour this into the pan with the rice. Stir, adjust salt to taste and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the mouth of the pan with aluminium foil and a well fitting lid so that no steam escapes. Reduce the flame to very very low (sim) and cook for approx 8-10 minutes (cooking time will depend on the brand/quality of rice used). Turn off the flame and allow the rice to sit for 4-5 minutes. Open the pan and gently fluff up the grains with a fork. see note#2
8. In a serving dish layer the rice and meat in alternate layers until both are used up. Sprinkle the garnishing if desired and serve hot with raita
To make the garnishing
Heat oil/ghee in a large kadhai/wok and fry the raisins till then swell up (don’t wait for them to burn), remove and fry the cashewnuts till golden, remove and then fry the onions till golden brown, drain the excess oil/ghee and transfer onto an absorbent kitchen tissue till they turn crisp. Sprinkle during garnishing or layering
1. In South India a small grain variety of rice is used to prepare biryanis that takes longer to cook and hence can even be added to the mutton gravy and cooked on a slow fire till done. The moisture in the mutton gravy suffices and no additional water is required. If you are comfortable with this method you may go ahead with the same.
2. If you want to use the ‘dum’ technique, then you will need to use lesser water to cook the rice (perhaps cook it in water and not use the mutton gravy) – so that it remains 90% cooked. Then layer it in a large pan along with the meat and place it on dum (with pan tightly covered) for about 20-25 minutes.