Mutton Biryani: Aromatic Rice And Meat Soaked in Spices

Just like how dal-chawal is the ultimate comfort food on days when nothing feels better, a plate of biryani does the exact same thing for meat lovers. Imbibed in the strong aroma and flavours of the whole spices in which the rice is slow-cooked, every fragment of rice leaves the mouth full of enticing smells. Along comes the layer of slow-cooked mutton in Indian spices letting the meat retain the essence of spices and further infusing it with the rice. The old Delhi-style Mutton Biryani is a prime example of whole spices slow-cooked with mutton and rice to form into the delicious Mutton Biryani.

If there is someone who is to be credited with the geniuses of Mutton Biryani it is to be given to the Mughals. Sure, their invasion caused a lot of suffering but they brought with them culinary gems. Among the many food recipes, the most loved even today is Biryani.

According to various historians, biryani is said to have originated in Persia and from there brought to India by the Mughals. Over time, the Biryani underwent variations and developments in the Mughal royal kitchen. Another legend has it that Biryani was an invention to help the royal soldiers regain their health. Another story goes that it was the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur, who brought biryani with him when he arrived in India in 1398. Here’s the recipe for Mutton Biryani.


For the meat

  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 3 sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 kg mutton
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 5 slit green chillies
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Water
  • Salt

For the rice preparation

  • 2-3 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 3 onions (sliced)
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups basmati rice (soaked in water)
  • Salt (as required)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Fresh cream

For garnishing

  • Fried onions
  • Mint leaves
  • Coriander leaves


  • On medium heat, place a pan and pour ghee. 
  • To this ad bay leaf, black cardamom, and cinnamon stick. 
  • Let the spices splutter.
  • Now, add onions and fry until they are golden in colour or become caramelized. 
  • Add ginger garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell vanishes.
  • Now, add yoghurt and keep stirring so that the curd doesn’t split. 
  • Let it cook for two-three minutes on low flame. 
  • When the oil starts to separate, add red chilli powder and mutton. Keep sitting the mutton for six minutes on high flame till it turns brown. 
  • Now add a little water and salt and mix it well. 
  • Cover the mutton and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • On medium heat, place a pan and two tablespoons of ghee. 
  • To this, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise, black cardamom, and a few black peppercorns. 
  • Let this splutter and then add onions and cook until golden brown in colour.
  • To this add six cups of water and the pre-soaked rice to the water. 
  • Add some salt, and lemon juice and stir gently. 
  • Cover and cook on low flame for about 15 minutes.
  • Check on the mutton and garam masala, green chilies, and a few mint leaves. Give it a good stir.
  • Now, place the layer of rice over the mutton, and garnish with ghee, cream, fried onions, and mint leaves. 
  • Cover it and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve.