My mother’s friend Sweet Pasha serves a fabulous biryani! This recipe has been handed down from her royal background and has been perfected in her kitchen by her cooks Shakira and Govindamma.
This recipe makes a huge amount of biryani – enough to feed an army! Please do turn your calorie counters off because there is a lot of oil used – but its all well worth it to achieve the authentic taste of this Royal Hyderabadi dish.
You can half or third this recipe, when you make it at home. I love eating this with any kind of raita – try my recipe for a spinach raita.
SHAKIRA AND GOVINDAMMA’S MUTTON BIRYANI
3 kg mutton
2 kg long grained basmati rice (soaked for one hour in water)
1 ½ cups ground garlic
1 ½ cups ground ginger
2 bunches mint leaves
2 bunches cilantro leaves, chopped
¼ kg long green chilies
12 ripe small plum tomatoes, chopped
14 small red onions, sliced
1 cup yogurt
8 tsp. red chili powder (or to taste)
2 tsp. coriander powder (dhaniya)
½ tsp. turmeric powder (haldi)
5-6 green cardamom seeds (elaichi)
1-2 sticks of cinnamon (dalchini)
5-6 cloves (laung)
5-6 bay leaves (tej pattas)
5 small limes, squeezed
1 cup milk
1 tsp. saffron
1/2 cup of oil
Preparing the mutton:
- Wash and clean out mutton.
- Place the mutton in a pressure cooker.
- Pressure cook for one whistle till the mutton is cooked.
- Strain the mutton stock from the pot and set mutton aside.
- Heat oil in a large pot.
- Add the whole spices – cardamom seeds, cloves, and cinnamon.
- Sauté for a minute till spices sizzle and pop.
- Add the sliced onions and fry till onions turn brown (20–25 minutes).
- Add garlic and ginger and stir for five minutes.
- Add red chili powder, haldi, dhaniya powder and stir.
- Add green chilies.
- Add kosher salt to taste.
- Add 1 cup yogurt and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add chopped tomato and mix well.
- Add chopped mint and cilantro leaves.
- Cover and cook.
- Add a little mutton stock to thicken up the gravy.
- Add the bay leaves and mix and cook covered on medium heat.
- Cook for 25 minutes or so till all the spices are well combined.
- Add the mutton with little stock to the gravy and mix well.
- Cook for about 10 minutes till well combined (do not cook for too long or else the mutton will turn black).
- Take off fire and set aside.
- Boil a large pot with water.
- Add a few bay leaves and salt.
- Add the presoaked rice to the boiling water.
- Cook the rice till it is ¾ cooked (should not be completely cooked).
- Drain the water out and set aside the rice.
1 tsp kesar (saffron)
1 cup milk
- Add the saffron to the milk and set aside for 15- 20 minutes.
Putting the biryani together:
- Preheat oven at 250°F.
- In a large bottomed pot, ladle out some of the mutton gravy as a base at the bottom.
- Then put a layer of the semi cooked basmati rice.
- Then put a layer of the mutton gravy.
- Add another layer of the rice.
- Repeat this one more time ending in rice.
- Take the saffron milk topping and sprinkle it on top of the rice.
- Put a few spoons of ghee and the lime juice all around the rice.
- Cover the pot tightly and put it in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes to finish cooking.
Serving the biryani:
- When you remove the pot from the oven, open the lid and immediately turn the biryani with a large spoon.
- This is a very important step.
- Taking a large ladle start from the outer sides of the pot and mix in a rotating motion moving inwards.
- Do this 2-3 three times and serve biryani hot with a raita.