Jan 20, 2013

Malabar Mutton Biryani

Malabar Mutton Biryani - A less spicy biryani, popular in Malabar regions of Kerala. No added red chilli powder, coriander powder, tomatoes and curd.

Serves: 3 - 4 


For mutton (lamb):

500 g mutton, cut into medium pieces

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon vinegar

Wash and clean mutton pieces. Drain out water thoroughly. In a wide bowl, marinate mutton  pieces with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, vinegar and salt. Cover and keep aside for half an hour.

For rice:

3 tablespoon ghee

1 onion, finely sliced

2 tablespoons cashew nut (splits)

2 tablespoons raisins

3 cloves

1 bay leaf

2 small cinnamon sticks

3 cardamom

2 cups (400 ml) jeerakasala rice / Zeera Zamba (1 ½ cup hot water required for 1 cup jeerakasala rice) Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity.  Please  use same measuring cup to measure rice and water.

3 cups hot water

½ teaspoon salt


Wash and clean rice. Drain out water. Do not soak rice in water.

In a non stick pan, heat ghee on a medium heat. Add finely sliced onions and fry till golden color and crisp on a medium to low heat. Carefully remove from ghee and keep in a separate container.

Add cashew nut splits and fry until golden color on a medium to low heat. Remove and keep aside.

Add raisins and fry until golden color on a medium to low heat. Remove and keep aside.

Add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Fry for 2 – 3 minutes until fragrant.

Add drained rice and fry for 3 – 4 minutes until water dries up.

Add 3 cups of hot water and salt to taste. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a medium heat for 15 – 17 minutes or until done / water dries up / rice cooked well.

 For mutton masala:

2 tablespoon ghee / oil

3 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 cardamom

4 onion, finely sliced

5 green chillies, crushed (do not make a paste)

12 garlic cloves, chopped and crushed (do not make a paste)

1 teaspoon finely  chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Marinated  mutton pieces

½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 tablespoon lemon juice


In a non stick pan or a karahi, heat ghee on a medium heat.Add cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and fry on a low heat until fragrant. Add sliced onions and fry until golden color.

Add crushed green chillies, garlic and ginger and stir well for 5 – 6 minutes.

Add turmeric powder and mix well. Fry on a low heat for 2 minutes.

Add marinated  mutton pieces and adjust salt to taste. Do not add water when cooking. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a medium to low heat for 40 - 50 minutes until done / mutton well cooked  / gravy thickens (you may get ½ cup gravy). Finally mix with lemon juice.

Final dum preparation:

Maida dough for sealing (depends upon the size of the vessel)

2 tablespoon chopped mint and coriander leaves

Shallow fried onions, cashew nut splits and raisins

12 small pineapple slices

Extra 1 tablespoon ghee

Wet towel (or clean and wet Kerala thorth)


In a heavy - bottomed vessel or biryani pot, spread a layer of mutton masala (including gravy) and half portion of cooked rice. Make 2 layers with cooked rice and mutton masala. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon ghee, pineapple slices, chopped mint and coriander leaves, shallow fried onions,raisins and cashew nuts.

Gently put a wet towel over it.

Cover with a tight lid. Seal with maida dough on the edges of the lid. Heat a heavy - bottomed iron kadai. Keep biryani pot over it. Cook on a low heat for 35 - 40 minutes. You can find a color change on the maida seal. Open the seal carefully. Decorate with chopped coriander and mint leaves. Serve hot with Raita and pickle / pappadam / boiled egg.

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