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Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani

Mutton cooked in a spicy onion-tomato, mint-coriander, garam masala gravy is added to ghee flavoured jeerakasala/samba rice and cooked to finish. Originally served with brinjal bartha but we just need some cold yoghurt and some pappads to relish this rice and meat dish. 
Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani
As we grew up in Coimbatore, this is the rice and meat dish of our home that mummy makes on every Eid and now any random weekend too. This pandemic has got us to make special foods on weekdays 😂 This is my mom's way of making Tamil Nadu style mutton biryani which she adapted from her bestie (Farhath Akka) who are Tamil/Urdu speaking Muslims. So I suppose this biryani can also be tagged as the Bhai Veetu Biryani (Muslim house biryani). So let me state the fact this is not authentic recipe. I am not bold enough to call this THE Tamil Nadu biryani because the state has regional biryanis that are different but similar in some notes - like Dindigul biryani, Ambur biryani, Coimbatore Biryani etc. 

I have watched mom make this biryani on a huge scale to distribute to neighbours and friends on Eid day. She used the outdoor setting with firewood to make the rice and the meat or chicken used to get cooked in her kitchen stove. Going back and forth with ingredients and turning the biryani with a long ladle was my memories of her being the supermom! My task was to pick mint leaves and chop onions and later make the raitha. I never really learnt what masalas went in or how to prepare it etc. 🤐

My recipe is for beginners. 

Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani

My first attempt to make Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani was for F in my Yanbu kitchen to introduce him what I grew up eating. The biryani came out all mushy but he loved the flavours. I made again scaling down mom's recipe but I could never figure out how much water to add. So I tried the tedious method of removing the meat and measuring the gravy and then adding to adjust the quantity to cook the rice. It was not feasible if we have to cook for a crowd and I didn't want to add more dishes in the sink. So 2020's best part is I took up a few cooking projects that have always failed me - this Tamil style biryani and pancakes!

I have been making this Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani since July 2020 and have tried capturing step by step pics along with making notes for my own benefit. This is not exactly how my mom makes but I decided to document here as this is a dish very close to my heart and now his too! I have tried my best to share the detailed recipe so you don't make the same mistakes and get it perfect in your first two trials. 

Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani

This is not malabar erachi choru. I find the difference in the colour, flavour, spice and taste. 

How to make South Indian mutton Biryani?

In simple words, this recipe involves two major steps. First, prepare the gravy and then cook the rice with the gravy. That's it. Sounds like Yakhni pulao or erachi chor? Yes, but even more flavourful! 

Mom adds the gravy to half cooked rice but that always left me in a pool so I add the gravy to the rice and then add water to make up for the liquid. Some recipes I found starts the gravy with whole spices, and asks you to add the rice into the gravy and finish off. But I like my mom's method of starting the rice in ghee and spices and frying the rice for a minute that gives me control or may be it is a comfort zone thing. I am keen to try the one pot method next time, InshaAllah. 

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy?

Mummy does not make any special garam masala mix though she mentioned that Farhath akka does. She figured the spices and added along with our homemade garam masala which is fennel seeds rich. So make a batch of this garam masala before attempting my recipe. You won't regret as you can use it for so many other recipes on my blog or any malabari recipe! 

Heat ghee and oil in a pressure cooker and add the thinly sliced onion along with a small piece of kalpasi if you have it (she never used but you know my love for it). Saute this on medium flame until it starts browning. Mom makes a paste of ginger-garlic chillies but I just add finely chopped green chillies and homemade ginger garlic paste. My mil always adds the tomatoes after the meat when she prepares meat dish so I tried that method too but I don't see any difference as it all gets cooked in pressure cooker anyways. Then add and saute the ginger garlic green chillies, tomatoes, mint and coriander leaves, washed and drained mutton pieces, salt and all of the spice powders. I like to cook this until the meat starts to release moisture. Stir in the whisked yoghurt and water.  Pressure cook on a medium flame for 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through. You may cook this in a pot but will take more time. 

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the biryani mutton gravy

How to cook the rice for biryani?

Use jeeraka samba or jeerakasala rice if possible but you may use basmati too. The characteristic of this biryani rice is not similar to usual basmati biryani where the grains are separated. This biryani the grains are clustered and smooth but not wet and mushy. Wash and drain the rice - does not require to be soaked. 

Note: You may cook the gravy, add the rice and water and cook to finish all in one pot itself. I have not tried this method yet. 

Heat ghee in a nonstick pot if you are a beginner or stainless steel pot. Fry the whole spices until fragrant and add a few fresh mint leaves too. Then fry the rice until dried up and then add the hot gravy and hot water along with salt and lime juice. Cook on high flame until the grains surface up and no visible liquid floating. Reduce the flame to lowest, slide a heat diffuser pan underneath. Use a flat head spatula to dig and bring the bottom portion rice to the top so they all cook evenly and we get a chance to adjust the liquid. Cover tightly and cook for 30 minutes but make sure to dig and flip the rice one more time. You may add a splash of water if you see the grains are raw (white dots) and continue to steam cook. It is always better to add less water and keep adding more when required than you add more and end up with mushy biryani. 

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani

How to prepare the rice for this biryani
Non-stick pot version

I missed taking the final picture. The image is 10 minutes before the rice was done. Serve hot with cold yoghurt raitha and some pappads. Originally my mom's friend serves this with kathrikai curry I think kina eggplant bartha but mom skips that as we love spicy biryani with cold yoghurt or kachumber and some pappadams. 

Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani

Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani Recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the Gravy:
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 small piece black stone flower (kalpasi) (optional)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 8 to 10 green chillies
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 500gms mutton (bone or boneless) washed and drained completely
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder (you can reduce this to 2 tsp)
  • 2 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (use my Malabar garam masala)
  • 3 tablespoons curd, whisked
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • Salt to taste
For the Rice:
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Jeerakasala/Kaima rice, washed and drained (use jeeraka samba if you have that but adjust water accordingly)
  • all of the prepared mutton gravy 
  • additional hot water to cook the rice* 
  • Juice of half a lime
  • salt to taste
* The amount of water here will depend on how much broth you have in your gravy. If you are beginner, it is better to measure the liquid of the gravy and then add the additional water to make up. For example, 1 and 1/2 cup rice needs 3 cups liquid to cook, so measure the gravy without meat and then add more water to make up 3 cups. But do you really want to go that way? 

METHOD

Prepare the gravy:
  1. Heat ghee and oil in a pressure cooker.
  2. Add a piece of kalpasi (optional)
  3. Saute the onions until starting to brown.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, mint and coriander leaves and saute for a minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes, drained meat, salt and all the spice powders and cook until moisture starts to release.  
  6. Stir in whisked curd and water. 
  7. Pressure cook for 20 minutes on medium flame or until the meat is cooked. 
Prepare the biryani rice:
  1. Take a deep pot (nonstick is better) that can hold the biryani and heat ghee on medium flame.
  2. Fry the whole spices until fragrant.
  3. Add and saute the chopped onions and mint leaves.
  4. Add the drained rice and toast them by stirring for a minute.
  5. Dump the prepared gravy and carefully fold it into the rice.
  6. Add enough very hot water to the rice so that there is at least an inch of water above the rice. (In all my attempts, I have added a total of 2¾ cups of water approximately for 1½ cup rice - first 2½ and then 1/4 cup water. But please adjust as per the liquid in your gravy)
  7. Taste and adjust the salt and add lime juice as per taste. 
  8. Bring this to a full boil and cook until you can see grains surface on top and liquid is absorbed.
  9. Reduce the flame to lowest, slide a flat pan or heat diffuser underneath.
  10. Use a flat spatula and carefully dig and bring the bottom rice to top. If you see the grains are too raw and dry, then add a splash of water, cover with foil or cloth and then the tight lid. 
  11. Let the rice steam cook for 30 mins total but make sure to flip the rice in between at least once. Keep covered for the last 10 minutes or so and then switch off. 
  12. Open and carefully scoop and transfer to serving plate and serve warm with yoghurt, salad and pappadums.
Note: You may cook the gravy, add the rice and water and cook to finish all in one pot itself. I have not tried this method yet. 

Mummy's Tamilnadu Style Mutton Biryani

TRIED THIS RECIPE?

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then please do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then please do share the recipe with your friends and family on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please do follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!

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