Hyderabadi Mutton Dum Biryani

Biryani, which is the marriage of meat and rice with an incredible mix of exotic spices, is such a divine combination! I am sure there isn’t anyone out there who can say no to a piping hot serving of this wonderful dish, bursting with so many flavours.

The word “biryani” is derived from the Persian language. One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).

There are so many different varieties of biryani in India. I have tasted both the Hyderabadi one and the Kolkata biryani.

I first tasted Biryani in Bangalore thanks to my then boss who was an avid Mutton Biryani fan which meant that whenever there was an office lunch, Biryani was sure to be on the menu.

Back then I used to hear about this famous Hyderabadi Biryani that was commonly prepared in Hyderabad especially during the Eid festival and together with Haleem, they were a must-have for anyone visiting Hyderabad. Years later, little did I know that one day I would be preparing this delicacy myself like a pro.

In North India, Biryani is traditionally associated with the Mughlai cuisine of Delhi and the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow; in South India, it is traditionally associated with the Hyderabadi cuisine.

There are two basic methods of cooking Biryani:

  • Pakki – The meat is pre-cooked before layering with the rice and cooking on dum.
  • Kacchi – The meat is cooked together with the rice directly on dum.

The Pakki version is easier to prepare and that is the version I usually use. The Kacchi method takes practice.

This is the first time I used the dum technique to prepare this biryani as prior to this I have prepared using the pressure cooker method which is kind of a cheat method which I learnt from a roommate while in Mumbai. I am quite proud of myself as my attempt was not only a success, but my husband couldn’t stop raving about it and that is very rare. He decided he prefers mine over the one from his favourite Biryani joint. 🙂

So, allow me to guide you on how to prepare this heavenly delicacy and awaken your senses with this flavorful dish. You can pair it with a simple raita – a yoghurt based Indian dip – or you can prepare the commonly served side gravy, or a Mirchi ka Salan. I just had Raita with mine. 🙂


Hyderabadi Mutton Dum Biryani

1 cup = 250 ml

Source: Yummy Tummy


For Cooking the Rice:
  • Salt
  • Basmati Rice- 2 cups_DSC1310
For Cooking the Mutton/Lamb:
  • Mutton / Lamb – 500g with Bone
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
For preparing the Biryani Masala:
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 Piece
  • Mace-2 piece
  • Coriander Seeds-1 tbsp
  • Star Anise-1
  • Cloves-3
  • Cumin Seeds-1 tsp
For the Biryani gravy/base:
  • Oil- 1/4 cup
  • Ghee – 1.5 tbsp
  • Onion -2 large sliced thinly
  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tbsp
  • Biryani Leaf/Bay leaf – 1
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 slit
  • Tomatoes – 3 large chopped finely
  • Curd – 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
For the Biryani topping or top layer:
  • Onions – 1 large Finely Sliced and Deep Fried
  • Cashews- 1/4 cup fried
  • Sultanas / Kishmish – 1/4 cup fried
  • Coriander Leaves / Cilantro – 1/2 cup finely chopped
  • Mint Leaves – 1/2 cup finely chopped
  • Saffron – a pinch soaked in 1/4 cup of warm milk
  • Ghee – 1 tbspingredients1ingredients2
  1. Prepare the Biryani Masala powder: Skip this step if you are using the ready-made one like me. Else, dry roast all the ingredients given in the list for Biryani masala on a low flame  till they get toasted and release their aroma. Let it cool a bit, and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. Cook the Mutton:  Place the washed and drained mutton pieces in a pressure cooker. Add salt and turmeric powder to it. Cover it and cook for 6 whistles and simmer the flame for 15 mins. Switch off the flame and let the steam escape all by itself. Open the pressure cooker and set aside the well-cooked mutton.cooking mutton
  3. Cook the rice: Soak the rice for 30 mins. Drain it and set aside. Fill 1/2-3/4th of a pot with water. Add a good amount of salt to it. Let this come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add the soaked rice and cook till it is 3/4th cooked. The rice should be cooked, but should have a little bite in the center. It will take around 5-7 mins. Keep a close eye on this._DSC1315
  4. Prepare the toppings: Heat some oil in a pan. Fry some cashews and sultanas till it is golden. Set aside. Deep fry some onions till it is golden. Remove and set aside. Soak Saffron in warm milk and set aside. Chop your herbs and set aside. I learnt a great tip from a fellow foodie. She suggested microwaving the sliced onions, 10 minutes on each side before frying them to significantly shorten the cooking time.toppings
  5. Prepare the Biryani base/gravy: Add ghee to the remaining oil in the kadhai where the onions were fried.  Add the sliced onions and fry till light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a couple of mins. Add the spice powders and the biryani leaf and mix well. Next, add the green chilli peppers and mix. Add the tomatoes and mix well with the masala. Cover and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy. Now, add the curd and stir well.gravy1 Add about 2 tbsps of the Biryani masala powder and salt and mix well.  Add the cooked mutton pieces along with the stock or yakhni and mix well. Cook on high heat till the gravy thickens.gravy2
  6. Assemble the biryani: You can use a handi or a dekchi or any heavy bottomed pan for cooking on dum. I used my large-sized pressure cooker.  Remove one-half of the biryani sauce/gravy from the pot and spread the remaining half, evenly, on this pot. Next, add half the rice over this gravy layer, evenly. Over this layer, add one-half of the toppings – the herbs, fried nuts and raisins, fried onion slices.layering1 Add half of the soaked saffron milk. Now repeat the gravy layer, followed by the rice and toppings again, in the same order. Top with a dollop of ghee, about 1 tbsp.layering2 Now, cover the top of the vessel with either aluminium foil or a muslin cloth and over that place a tight fitting lid. Place over very low heat for about 15-20 minutes. You can initially set a high flame to build up the steam and then lower it to a minimum after that. Additionally, you can place your dum vessel over a skillet or tawa to avoid the biryani getting burnt. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let it stand for another 15 minutes so that flavours can be absorbed. When you are ready to serve, slide over the bottom layer of the meat gravy over the rice slightly to lightly mix in the biryani and distribute the spiced gravy. Seve with raita or gravy.biryaniisready

Hope you enjoyed this recipe and plan to make this amazing dish very soon. I am sure you will want to make this more often. 🙂 See you till next time. Press the Like and share buttons to share this recipe with your friends. Do leave your comments in the comments section below.

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