Moplah Biryani; Delicious Rice Dish From Malabar Region
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Moplah cuisine is a traditional cuisine from the Malabar region of Kerala in southern India. It is heavily influenced by Arab, Persian, and Portuguese culinary traditions, due to the region's history of trade and cultural exchange with these regions. The term 'Moplah' refers to the Muslim community in the Malabar region of Kerala. The Moplahs are said to have originally migrated to the Malabar coast from the Arabian Peninsula and other regions of the Middle East in the 7th century AD, during the early years of Islam. They established settlements in various parts of the region, and over time, developed a distinct culture and way of life.

The Moplah community played a key role in the region's trade and commerce, particularly in the spice trade. They were also known for their agricultural practices and were involved in cultivating crops like pepper, cardamom, and coconut. Moplahs have a rich literary and cultural heritage and have made significant contributions to Malayalam literature, music, and art. They have also been involved in social and political movements in Kerala. Despite facing various challenges and difficulties over the years, the Moplah community has managed to preserve its distinct identity and culture. Today, they are an integral part of Kerala's multicultural and multi-religious society. The Moplah cuisine is a reflection of the community's culinary practices and their unique blend of spices and cooking techniques. One of the defining features of Moplah cuisine is the use of coconut in various forms, such as grated coconut, coconut milk, and coconut oil. Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg are also commonly used, along with black pepper and dried red chillies.

Some of the popular dishes in Moplah cuisine include biryanis, curries, and snacks like pathiri (rice pancakes) and unnakai (sweet stuffed plantain). Moplah cuisine also features a range of seafood dishes, such as fish curries, prawn biryanis, and mussels fry. The influence of Arab and Persian cuisine can be seen in dishes like mutton stew, samosas, and falooda, while the Portuguese influence is evident in dishes like a beef roast and potato chops. Moplah cuisine is known for its rich flavours and unique blend of spices, which makes it a favourite among food enthusiasts. Despite being heavily influenced by foreign culinary traditions, Moplah cuisine has managed to retain its distinct identity and continues to be an important part of Kerala's culinary heritage.

Moplah biryani is a flavorful and aromatic biryani that is known for its unique taste and a special blend of spices. The dish is prepared by cooking long-grain basmati rice with marinated meat, spices, and caramelized onions, resulting in a dish that is rich in flavour and texture. The meat used in Moplah biryani is typically beef or chicken, which is marinated in a blend of spices, including ginger, garlic, green chillies, turmeric, coriander, and cumin. The meat is then slow-cooked to perfection, allowing the flavours to meld together and infuse the rice with a rich, savoury taste. One of the key ingredients in Moplah biryani is the use of fragrant spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves. These spices give the dish a distinct aroma and a complex flavour that is both savoury and slightly sweet.

moplah biryani/

Another unique aspect of Moplah biryani is the use of caramelized onions, which are added to the rice along with the meat. The onions are cooked until they are brown and slightly crispy, adding a depth of flavour and texture to the dish. Moplah biryani is also known for its garnishes, which typically include fried cashew nuts, raisins, and boiled eggs. These garnishes add a layer of texture and flavour to the dish, creating a balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Overall, Moplah biryani is a delicious and unique biryani that is beloved for its rich flavour and aromatic spices. It is a speciality of the Malabar region of Kerala and is a must-try dish for anyone interested in exploring the rich and diverse culinary traditions of India.


  • 1 kg mutton
  • 2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 green chillies, slit
  • 1 cup curd
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp biryani masala powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ghee or oil, as needed
  • Coriander leaves, chopped
  • Mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp saffron strands
  • 2 tbsp warm milk

For the Biryani Masala Powder:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1-star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds


  • Wash the mutton and marinate it with curd, lemon juice, 1 tbsp biryani masala powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, and salt. Keep it aside for at least 2 hours.
  • Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes.
  • Heat ghee or oil in a pan and fry the onions until they turn golden brown. Remove half of the onions and keep them aside for garnishing.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and green chillies to the remaining onions and fry until the raw smell goes away.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
  • Add the marinated mutton and cook on high heat until it changes colour.
  • Add enough water to cover the mutton and cook until it becomes tender. You can also use a pressure cooker for this step.
  • Once the mutton is cooked, remove it from the pan and keep it aside. Reserve the mutton gravy for later.
  • In a separate pan, add ghee or oil and fry the rice until it becomes slightly golden.
  • Add 4 cups of water to the rice and cook until it is almost done.
  • In a small bowl, mix the rose water, saffron strands, and warm milk. Keep it aside.
  • In a large heavy-bottomed pan, layer the cooked rice, cooked mutton, fried onions, coriander leaves, and mint leaves. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used up.
  • Pour the reserved mutton gravy over the layered biryani.
  • Finally, pour the saffron-milk mixture over the biryani and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the biryani is fully cooked and the rice is fluffy.
  • Serve hot with a raita, salad, or pickle.