This recipe will help you make the most AMAZING Mutton Biryani. With this recipe, nail that 3-ingredient marinade for the mutton, learn how to make the mutton masala for biryani, and how to get the biryani layers right! With this easy mutton biryani recipe handy, it’s a biryani feast any day of the year!
Everyone has that one friend who invites you for the yearly Ramzan feast. And you willingly starve yourself all morning just so you can stuff your face with heaps and heaps of mutton biryani… We live to eat!
Mutton biryani made in Muslim households has a signature taste which is hard to replicate. The rice is fragrant and aromatic, while the meat is so tender and flavorful. The masala is just enough to tantalise your taste buds, but not overpowering or super spicy either.
And when paired with Raita and Mirchi Ka Salan, you're in food heaven!
We did multiple trials of this recipe until we felt we were close to the flavours we wanted!
Making biryani from scratch at home can be daunting because of the many technicalities involved. However, a while back we had decided to brave it with our Chicken Biryani recipe. And you guys absolutely LOVED it. You raved about the spot-on flavours, and how easy it all was with the process divided into easy steps.
Steps in Making Mutton Biryani
I’ve broken down the steps involved in making mutton biryani, so that you have all the elements ready before you begin layering away.
- Start by marinating the mutton. For this recipe, 20-30 minutes is sufficient
- Wash and soak the basmati rice while the mutton masala cooks
- Make mutton masala in the pressure cooker - it's the easiest and fastest way to cook really tender mutton or goat meat
- Cook the basmati rice till its par boiled
- Layer the mutton masala and rice, and cook on a low flame till the mutton is fork tender and the rice is perfectly cooked
- Garnish and serve
Best Rice for Mutton Biryani
There are so many varieties of rice used in biryani and it can be a little confusing. I always insist on using aged basmati rice for a mutton biryani like this one. Look for basmati rice and not 'long grain rice' which doesn't have any aroma. Basmati is fragrant and gives off a deep, rich aroma to the biryani unlike other varieties of rice. In this biryani recipe, the rice is first par-cooked before layering and steaming it with mutton masala to let the flavours come together.
Here are the steps to prepare the rice before layering the biryani:
- Wash the basmati rice at least thrice to get rid of starch and any impurities
- Soak the rice in water for at least half an hour so that it cooks faster
- Rice for biryani should always be par-cooked to 70% doneness. The rest of the cooking happens in the pot with layers of mutton and rice so that the rice can take on the aroma and flavours. If you cook the rice fully beforehand the end result will be mushy and over cooked rice
- Make the rice after making the mutton masala because it should be hot when it's layered with the mutton masala.
Check out my detailed post on How To Cook Basmati Rice
Best Cut Of Mutton For Biryani
For mutton biryani, I've used the shoulder cut. Shoulder meat has some fat, and remains tender through the cooking process. The meat is cut into 1.5-2 inch pieces. It's important to get bone-in pieces as they remain juicier, and the marrow in the bones is delicious. You can use either goat or lamb meat for this recipe.
This is a really simple 3 ingredient marinade. It's made with yoghurt, turmeric powder, and salt. This marinade acts more as a tenderizer of the mutton pieces than as a flavouring agent. Make sure you pat dry the washed mutton pieces before putting them in the marinade! In this case we only marinate it for as long as it takes to cook the masala. So 20-30 minutes is sufficient.
Homemade Mutton Masala
This mutton masala packs tonnes of flavour because it's got everything from roasted spices to fried onions to oodles of ghee! What I love about this masala is that it's made with pantry staples, so I can literally make biryani any day I want without stressing out about ingredients.
How To Nail Those Biryani Layers
Layered biryani is typical of most Hyderabadi biryanis. Use a heavy bottomed pan for this so that the bottom and edges don’t burn.
Here’s the order in which to make the layers:
- Mutton masala (or Mutton Curry)
- Fried onions
- Mint and coriander leaves
- Par cooked and flavoured basmati rice
- Saffron milk mixture
Once the biryani is layered in this order, let it cook on low heat for another 20 minutes. This is where all the flavours come together and the rice gets fully cooked.
Pro Tip: It’s important to let the biryani ‘rest’ after cooking. Resting the biryani actually elevates the flavour, and gives the mutton and rice time to settle as I like to say!
Garnish the biryani with fried onions!
Serve hot mutton biryani with:
Guys, get ready for some serious food coma after a biryani feast at home! Do leave your questions and comments below!
More Meat Lovers’ Recipes
- Chicken Biryani
- Lamb Kofta Curry
- Chicken Korma
- Goan Prawn Curry
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Street Style Chicken Shawarma
Watch the Video
- 1 kg Mutton shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces (use either goat or lamb meat)
- ½ Cup Curd
- ¼ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Ghee
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- ½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 Cloves
- ½ Inch Cinnamon
- 2 Cardamom Pods
- 3 Onions thickly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 3 Tomatoes cut into big chunks, 1 inch
- 1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
- ½ Cup Milk
- ¼ Cup Water
- 700 grams Basmati Rice washed and soaked
- 8 Cups Water
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 Cloves
- ½ Inch Cinnamon
- 2 Cardamom Pods
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Ghee
- 2 Tablespoons hot Milk
- 10-12 Strands Saffron
- ½ Cup Fried Onions we used store bought
- ½ Cup Mint Leaves roughly chopped
- ½ Cup Coriander Leaves roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons warm Ghee
- Wash and clean the mutton and then pat dry with paper towels. Combine the curd, turmeric, salt and mutton. Mix well. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes to 2 hours.
- Add ghee and oil to a large pressure cooker and allow it to heat up on a medium flame. Add cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon. Fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add sliced onions and fry for 2 minutes or until the onions are slightly browning. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and cook until they become a little softer, about 2 minutes. Add the marinated mutton and cook on high for 4-5 minutes till the mutton starts browning. Add chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Fry and stir to combine.
- Add the milk and water, stir and ensure that they are well mixed. Tightly seal the lid and pressure cook on medium for 25-30 minutes. The mutton, once cooked, must be fork tender, but should not fall apart.
- Wash the basmati rice at least three times to get rid of all the extra starch. Soak the rice for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
- Add water, spices, salt and ghee to a very large heavy bottomed pot on high heat. Ensure the pot is large enough or the rice will stick to the bottom and burn.
- Bring the water to a roaring boil. Once the water starts boiling, add the rice and cook the rice on high heat for 7 minutes. Ensure the rice is only par boiled to 70% doneness, as it will continue to cook more along with the mutton. Drain and use for layering.
- Crush saffron and place in a small bowl. To this, add hot milk and set aside to infuse.
- Add mutton masala to a heavy bottomed pot on low heat. Sprinkle the fried onions over it. Then sprinkle and spread out the mint and coriander leaves.
- Now add the steaming hot basmati rice and spread it out using the back of a big spoon. Ensure it is evenly spread out.
- Using a spoon, drizzle the saffron milk mixture on the rice. Next, drizzle some ghee. Cover the lid and let this cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Turn off the flame and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Uncover the lid and serve while hot. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Ensure each serving gets a good portion of every layer. Serve hot along with some raita and mirchi ka salan!
- The best cut of meat to use in this recipe is shoulder. You can use either goat or lamb.
- Brown Onions can be slightly time consuming and tricky to make, and you can substitute them here with store bought fried onions. Just make sure that the onions are not batter fried. If you are in India, you can buy them online here, and if you live outside India, you can buy them here. They are also available at leading supermarkets, Asian and Indian stores.
- While buying basmati rice, make sure you buy rice that’s labelled basmati and not just long grain rice. Basmati Rice is fragrant and has slightly thinner grains than long grain rice. Real basmati rice is what gives biryani its distinct flavor and taste.
- In the last step of layering and cooking the biryani, all the ingredients are par cooked. Cooking the biryani on a low flame for 20 minutes, steams and cooks everything to doneness. If you don’t have a heavy bottomed pot, and are using a regular pot, you can place it on a tava (or flat griddle) and then place it on the stove on a medium flame to avoid burning the chicken. The tava or griddle creates a degree of separation between the flame and the pot and provides the perfect heat source.