For the Marinade
500 gms boneless mutton (you can use with bones too)
1/2 tbsp salt plus more to taste
1/2 cup fried onions (thinly slice the onions and let it dry on a paper towel for 1/2 hour. Fry till crisp and brown, but not burnt)
1 tbsp fresh ginger paste
1 tbsp fresh garlic paste
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp raw papaya paste (for tenderizing the meat)
To be ground for the spice mix
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
6 green cardamoms
2" piece cinnamon
2 black cardamoms
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 javitri or nutmeg
2 bay leaves
2-3 whole red chillies
For the Biryani Rice
2 1/2 cups long grain basmati
2 each of green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaf
4 cups of water
1/2 tbsp salt
For the assembly
2 medium potatoes cut into halves
1 medium potato sliced into medium thickness roundels for lining the bottom of the biryani pot
1/2 cup fried onions (prepared as per the procedure detailed above)
2 tbsp ghee , divided
1 tbsp kewra essence, divided
A big pinch of saffron soaked in cold milk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup aaloobukhara or dried pitted prunes (optional; I did not have it)
3/4 slit green chillies, if you like it
Oil for frying the potatoes
1/2 cup aata or wholewheat flour made into a dough for sealing the edges
The first step towards making this biryani starts one day ahead. Take the mutton pieces and wash properly. Rinse well and apply salt and keep aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, dry roast all the ingredients listed under powder and let it cool. Now grind to a not-so-fine yet not-so-coarse powder and keep it handy.
Wash and rinse the mutton again after 20 minutes and take it in a clean vessel with a lid. Drain out as much water as possible. To this add the yogurt, sugar, ghee, fried onions, papaya, salt to taste, ground spices and mix well. Add salt keeping in mind that this is how your biryani will taste along with the rice (which will also be cooked in salty water). Cover the vessel and keep aside the mutton for marination for atleast 4-5 hours or overnight. The more the better.
Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Boil water with salt and add the whole spices. Add the soaked and drained rice and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain the water. The rice should be just 30-40% cooked. Keep the rice in a colander until used.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the potato halves until golden on all sides. Remove from heat and drain excess oil on paper towels.
If you have marinated the mutton overnight, ensure that you bring it to room temperature before starting the procedure. The best way is to take it out of the refrigerator first thing in the morning and let it remain for 2-3 hours before cooking.
Now grease the bottom of your biryani pot. Ensure that it has a tight lid. Meanwhile, put a thick iron skillet/ tawa on the stove top and let it heat up. Arrange the sliced potatoes in a single layer with minimum gaps in between. You can use more sliced potatoes if you need.