Biryani is a rice based dish we make for any festive occasions. Today my husband wanted something different to celebrate the New Year. So I decided to make Mutton or Lamb Biryani along with Achari Aloo. I say the biryani is different because in our household, we stay away from red meat as much as possible – beef, pork and lamb. We stick with chicken and fish typically. I also decided to make it Dum style where the meat is cooked along with the rice and not separately.
For this recipe, we got lamb chops for the meat. I didn’t know lamb chops were expensive, about four pieces (1 lb) came to $16! and they weren’t that large pieces. Also, I was not able to get typical green used in biryani – cilantro and mint. So I decided to leave them out. I also regulated the spice level because my children are not used to eating spicy foods (spicy by Indian standards). If you are going to try this, you can always add more chilly or peppers to make it more spicy (or to the level you can handle).
I have included step by step pictures for better description.
3 cups of Basmati rice
2 tbsp of Shai cumin (also known as black cumin seeds)
1 tbsp of spices such as coriander seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaf
Fried Onions (I used a large onion and sliced it thin and fried it)
2 tbsp of oil
Chopped Cilantro and Mint leaves
5 hard-boiled eggs
1 lb of lamb loin chops (cut to smaller pieces)
1 Tbsp of red chili powder (you can add more and/or also add chopped green chillies)
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of Garam Masala powder
1/2 cup of yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Mint and Cilantro leaves chopped (handful each. I didn’t have these on me, so I didn’t add them)
Ginger Garlic paste in vinegar
3 tbsp of vinegar
1. First step in making mutton biryani is to prep the mutton and marinate it for at least 30 minutes. On most of the mutton biryani recipes available online, they call for meat tenderizer or any natural meat tenderizers such as raw papaya pulverized. I didn’t know this and since I didn’t have any meat tenderizers on hand, I decided to improvise with vinegar. I used red vinegar and added all other ingredients under for marinating and mixed them well.
2. Let your meat marinate for at least 30 minutes or so.
3. In the meantime, wash the basmati rice till the water runs clear. In a large vessel, boil the rice along with cumin seeds and other spices and salt till the rice is almost 70% cooked. Take care not to cook the rice all the way. That is key else the biryani would end up as one big mushy mess. Keeping the rice around half-cooked now would ensure that the rice is not sticking together when you put together the biryani.
4. Drain and keep aside the rice to cool.
5. In a heavy bottomed pan, pour 2 tbsp of oil, add the marinated meat along with gravy and let it cook at medium high for 2-3 minutes undisturbed.
6. Turn the heat to low, spread a layer of fried onion and then spread a layer of rice.
7. Cut slits (about three) on each egg using a knife. Cut in such a way that the slits are only on the egg whites. Place the eggs on the rice, add more fried onions. You can also add the chopped cilantro and mint leaves at this stage.
8. Keep layering the rest of the rice, fried onions and chopped leaves. Seal the pan with a tight-fitting lid and turn the flame to medium for about 5 minutes.
9. Since we are making a Dum biryani style, I heat up a pan on other stove top on medium high and move this pan on top of the pan. Then turn the flame to low and leave the biryani to cook for about 40 minutes or so.
10. After 40 minutes, turn off the stove and leave the pan untouched for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently mix the biryani so that the bottom juicy meat mixture gets combined with the rice. You can garnish with nuts and raisins sautéed in ghee or oil and with more chopped cilantro leaves. You can serve this with some raita or yogurt and some Achari Aloo