Sunday, 17 August 2014

Kacchi Mutton Biryani-The Bengali Way

As a homemaker, when it comes to gift something special to your loved ones on their birthdays and special occasions, it is food through which you can show your love more appropriately rather than buying them a gift with their money. The dishes that you cook out of love and of their interest makes them even happier than buying an expensive gift from the store. Mutton was what my husband wished to eat for his birthday and I travelled by bus, then train, then walked to buy the best mutton in Singapore and again rushed back via the same route to be just in time to pick up my baby from school. The love and effort that went into the making of this biryani definitely showed in the end result. Husband was glad and conpletely enjoyed his birthday meal. My gift was well accepted and ackowledged!

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
6 cloves
2" piece cinnamon
2 black cardamoms
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 mace
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

Step 1
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. 

Step 2
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. 
Step 3
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. 
Now spead out about 1/3 of the rice in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/2 of the fried onions, 1/2 of the ghee, 1/2 of the kewra essence, and 1/2 of the raisins and prunes (if using). Now spread the mutton and the marinade over the rice and fill out any open gaps. Add the fired potato halves and slit green chillies if you like it spicy. Top it up with the remaining rice and spread evenly. Add the remaining ghee, kewra essence, raisins and prunes, and  fried onions. Sprinkle the saffron milk on the rice followed by 1 cup of milk. Roll the atta dough into an elongated rope and fix it along the rim of the vessel. Seal it with the lid tightly placed on top and ensuring there are no gaps in between for the steam to escape. 
Put the vessel on the hot tawa and reduce the gas to minimum and forget about it for the next 1-1.5 hours or until you start getting the biryani fragrance. Switch off the flame and let the vessel remain on the hot tawa for 1/2 hour. Remove the lid now, mix the biryani with a spoon and serve hot with your favorite raita and green chutney. 


  1. The striking difference here is "raw mutton" being put into the dum pot! I hv been using half cooked / pre cooked mutton instead. Similar to your half cooked rice. But the raw mutton pieces here need to be very tender in the 1st place! Cant wait to try this really! :) Nice of you to share! Wholesome thanks!

    1. Thank you for visiting my space Shantanu. You must remember two things before trying this. First , good quality fresh mutton will work wonders for this dish. Second, do not miss the raw papaya, it works as the tenderizer and softens the meat. Do share your feedback once you try it :)

  2. This is a fantastic recipe! You know what, I have been contemplating about making mutton biryani this was for a long time but was unsure. Now I have proof in your post that it will turn out great. Thanks for sharing, Priyanka!

    1. Go ahead Sangeeta! I am sure you will like it :) do share your feedback :)

  3. hi Priyanka! came across your biryani recipe on chef at large on fb. I reckon you stay in Singapore too. where do you get mutton from? I usually get it from a shop in tekka market but it always has a weird smell. my husband simply loves the biryani from Fakrudin. I'm thinking of trying your recipe this weekend :)

    1. Hi Sai Priya, I usually buy it from my nearest wet market where I buy it and make it the same day to get the best results. You can also try Usmaan mutton from tekka which is supposed to be the best one in Singapore but depending on how soon/late you are making, the taste and texture varies. Hope you find it useful.