Family traditions are treasures. And, whenever a tradition involves Biryani, we ain't looking back. Rooting for my Ammi's Mutton Biryani Recipe for Eid-ul-Adha. Without fail, regardless of how tired my mother was, She would never miss cooking Mutton Biryani for Eid. I have taken over that tradition as a part of our Eid celebration.
This Recipe was featured on Food52 Instagram.
Let's start with a brief intro about Eid-ul-Adha then we will jump into the star of our post "Mutton Biryani". So, If you ever somehow interacted with a Muslim in your bright life, you might have somewhat of an idea about our "Eid" celebration. If you haven't had a chance to interact with a Muslim or never made a Muslim friend then let's begin our friendship from here.
Muslims all over the world celebrate two "Eids" as a part of religious holidays in a year. Eid-al-Fitr celebration comes after fasting from dawn to sunset for a month. Then just a few months after Eid-al-Fitr, Muslims all around the world celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. Muslims around the world sacrifice an animal after the performance of the "Hajj" pilgrimage ends.
My Family's Mutton Biryani Tradition
Growing up in India, every year my parents sacrificed a goat for our Eid-ul-Adha celebration. This was the only time of the year when my family would eat the most meat. We would get the goats slaughtered by a local butcher on the day of Eid-ul-Adha.
My mother would spend most of her morning and afternoon making meat packages for our friends and neighbors. I was always assigned meat distributor duty for our neighborhood lol. Every year, as much as I was excited to go door to door to share the meat packages with our friends and neighbors, I was more looking forward to my Ammi's Mutton Biryani and Mutton Korma(Mutton Curry).
Without fail, no matter how tired Ammi got, she would prepare Mutton Biryani and Mutton Korma with Indian flatbread(Roti) for the entire family. And, our neighbors would join in as well for the Eid feast.
What is Biryani?
Biryani is basically a magical combination of some generously spiced Meat and Rice. I always keep Biryani-Masala(spice blend) and other fresh ingredients stocked up for any day Biryani cravings. Let's talk about the main ingredients of Mutton Biryani recipe. There is absolutely no substitution for these ingredients. Sorry, but not really.
Ingredients for Mutton Biryani
- Biryani Masala: I have used boxed Bombay Biryani Masala for this recipe. I like to alternate between my homemade Biryani Masala and boxed masala depending on my productivity in the kitchen :). Grab my Biryani Masala recipe made with fresh spice goodness for the delicious Biryani and Meat Curries. My homemade Biryani Masala recipe contains instructions to create your own Bombay Biryani Masala Blend as well :).
- Mutton: Mutton usually refers to goat Meat in South Asian countries. Goat meat is easily available at any local Halal Meat Market. I have also seen halal cubed goat meat at our local Costco. If you aren't big on having goat meat, you can certainly go for cubed lamb meat or beef.
- Basmati Rice: I highly recommend using aged long grain basmati rice for biryani. Growing up, I have witnessed my family and relatives hire wedding chefs to prepare biryani for many wonderful family occasions. The chefs always recommended aged long grain basmati rice for authentic biryani. Aged long-grain rice fluffs up beautifully with each separate grain. Sella basmati rice is great for beginner cooks.
- Yogurt: I only recommend using creamy Indian yogurt or plain whole milk yogurt for the Biryani. It has a perfect creamy consistency with the right amount of water for the meat curry. No Greek Yogurt substitute for Biryani. Sorry!
- Fried Onions: fried onions are a crucial part of the biryani recipe. Biryani is not biryani without fried onions. Thinly slice 1 to 2 large yellow onions and fry them in ⅓ to ½ cup oil until golden brown. I like to fry onions in large batches and store them for Biryani meal prep. I don't recommend using store-bought coated fried onions. There are a handful of brands on Amazon for non-coated fried onions for South Asian cooking.
Mutton Biryani Cooking Instructions
I like to cook mutton, or lamb for biryani in a pressure cooker or an Instant pot.
- For Pressure Cooker- Cook meat on medium-high heat for two whistles then reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.
- InstantPot Cooking- Pressure cook meat on high pressure setting for 25 minutes. Release the steam.
- Regular Pot or Dutch Oven- Goat or Lamb meat can take up to an hour. For tender meat in a regular thick bottom Pot or Dutch oven cook at low-medium heat for 50 minutes to an hour. Check the water consistency in between cooking time and do not remove lid consistently.
- Frying the Potato Halves- Wash and peel the Potatoes. Cut them into halves or whatever size you prefer. Dry them completely with a paper towel and fry them until golden and crispy. For quicker frying, you may boil the potatoes until half way cooked then shallow fry them. I absolutely love potatoes in my Biryani. If you would rather not combine two carbs, you may skip adding the potatoes. You do you.
Boxed Biryani Masala Tip
- I like to use Bombay Biryani Masala boxed spices whenever I am out of my homemade Biryani Masala blend. Check the instruction on the blog on how to use biryani masala.
- If you are using boxed biryani masala, adjust the quantity according to your spice tolerance.
- Much boxed biryani masala is too spicy for a non-desi taste palate. Start with 2 tablespoons first then add a teaspoon at a time while the curry is cooking.
What to Serve Biryani with
I like to serve biryani with onion raita and chutney raita. They go great with all the rice dishes.
More Indian Recipes
For Mutton Curry
- 3 pounds mutton with bones , small cubes
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes , finely chopped
- ¼ cup oil or ghee
- 3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste , or grated ginger and garlic
- 1 package Bombay biryani masala (2 tablespoons for less spicy) , or homemade Bombay Biryani Masala
- ⅔ cup plain yogurt , preferably Indian yogurt
- ½ cup fried onion (see the blog for frying instruction) , or packaged non-coated fried onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 6-8 fried potato halves , optional
- ½ teaspoon garam masala , optional
- 2 cups Basmati rice, preferably aged Basmati , soaked in water for 15 minutes
- 8-10 cups water
- 1 small lemon juiced
- ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds (black cumin seeds) , optional
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 green cardamom pods , optional
- 2 cloves , optional
- 1 green chili , optional
- ⅛ teaspoon food coloring , optional
- 8-10 threads Saffron , soaked in ¼ cup warm water
Cook Mutton Curry
- Thoroughly wash and clean mutton. In a large bowl, combine mutton, ginger-garlic paste, and biryani masala. Mix it well and set it aside.
- Heat oil in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker on medium heat. Add marinated mutton and fry the meat and spices until fragrant. Cover and pressure cook on a high heat setting for 25 minutes in an Instant Pot.
- For Pressure Cooker Cooking: cook on high heat until 2 whistles then turn the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes in a pressure cooker
- Release the pressure of Instant Pot once the curry is cooked.
- Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes soften. Add mutton curry and cook until curry thickens up.
- Turn the heat off and add yogurt, fried onions, mint, cilantro, and garam masala. Mix gently and add potatoes to the curry.
Cook Basmati Rice
- Bring 8-10 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add washed Basmati rice, whole spices, green chili, salt, and lemon juice.
- Cook rice on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until al-dente. Strain the rice in a large colander and drain all the water. Set the rice aside.
Layer Curry & Rice
- Top the Curry in a Dutch oven with parboiled rice. Swirl food coloring and soaked saffron on top of the rice. Garnish the top with optional fried onions, and lemon slices. Cover the pot with aluminum foil then cover with a lid.
- Heat a large Cast Iron Skillet or Tava on medium heat. Place the Pot on Tava or Skillet to diffuse the heat. Turn the heat down to low. Steam(Dum) on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the biryani rest for 8-10 minutes.
- To Bake in the oven (Dum), layer Curry and Rice in an oven safe Pot like a Dutch oven or disposable Aluminum tray. Cover the pot and Bake the Biryani at 365 F for 25 minutes.
- To serve, gently slide the spatula on one side of the pot and gently bring the rice and vegetables to the top. Remove the Biryani gently on a platter. Serve hot with whipped plain yogurt or raita.