Recipe by: Priyanka Kapoor

Source: Family recipe

Serves: 4


  • 4 cup of basmati rice (soaked for 20 mins)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cup onions sliced thinly
  • 6 green chilies
  • 1 cup of tomatoes – finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves / pudina
  • 1/2 cup of coriander leaves
  • 8 Tbsp. Oil (do not reduce)
  • Saffron – 10 strands soaked in ½ cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Ghee (optional)

Dry spices (for seasoning)

  • 4 small bay leaves
  • 1 small nutmeg
  • 4 strands of mace
  • 1 1/2 tsp shahi jeera / black cumin
  • 12 green cardamoms
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 2 star anise
  • 10pepper corn
  • 4 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cloves


  • 2 kg of tender lamb mutton (cut to a size of your choice)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 tsp garam masala powder
  • 3 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cup fresh yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • Salt as per taste


  • Wash rice and soak for 20 minutes. Once done, drain water out & set aside
  • Wash mutton and drain water thoroughly and marinate with ingredients mentioned above. Set aside for as long as your can preferably 24 hours
  • Heat a wide pressure cooker or a wide non-stick pan with oil, add the dry spices, sauté on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes till they begin to sizzle. Be careful with the dry spices since they can burn easily
  • Add half of the onions, green chilies and fry on a low to medium flame for approx. 5 – 7 minutes till they turn brown almost about to caramelize. This is crucial to get a good aroma and taste. There must be enough oil to for the onions to fry.


  • Add tomatoes, sprinkle ½ tsp salt for the tomatoes to cook easily. Cook on a low to medium flame for 10 – 15 minutes till the tomatoes turn fully mushy. When they are fully cooked, they will release oil around the edges
  • Add half of the coriander and mint leaves, sauté for a min.
  • Add the marinated mutton pieces, mix well and sauté for 8-10 minutes on a high flame till they are well browned.
  • Cook covered on a low flame for 45 minutes to an hour or even more till the mutton turns soft and tender. The actual time will depend on the meat. If after cooking you find the meat still uncooked, you can cook it in a pressure cooker or continue for longer in the pan.
  • If in a hurry, just roast in a pan for 10 – 15 minutes until it’s brown and transfer to a pressure cooker for approx. 5 whistles on a medium flame.
  • You will be left with a thick gravy. How thick depends on your mutton. If you are left with lot of watery gravy, then evaporate it by cooking for some time till you get the desired consistency. Switch off the stove.
  • Add salt – 1 tsp per kg of meat but adjust as per your taste. The mutton and gravy should taste very salty to ensure it balances well once mixed with the rice.
  • Slice the remaining onions. In another pan, fry these on a medium flame in 2 Tbsp. oil till they are golden brown but not burnt. This should take 7 – 10 minutes. Set this aside
  • Boil the rice until 80% cooked. It should be slightly like pasta cooked al dente.
  • Once done, take a heavy bottom pot in which you intend to layer the biryani.
  • Bottom layer is all the oil & gravy from the mutton but not the meat itself. Next layer is the rice, followed by some fresh mint & coriander leaves, a few spoons of the saffron soaked milk, 1 tsp of lemon & if you’d like, drizzle a tsp of ghee.
  • Then add the mutton pieces and then the rice again. Repeat the above one more time
  • On the top layer, sprinkle the fried onions, saffron milk, remaining mint and coriander leaves
  • Cover the pot with a glass lid and seal with dough on the sides to ensure no escape of any steam. If no dough at hand, put some weight like a mortar on the lid to weigh it down.
  • Let the pot sit directly on a slow flame for 45 mins or you could put the pot on top of a pan filled with water on a medium flame.
  • You will see the rice cooking and becoming visibly longer and the mint & coriander turning blackish. Once cooked, serve with Raita

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