• Preeth C.Vijay

Lucknowi/Awadhi Mutton Biryani

Biryani is an iconic dish here in India, and there are many variations across all regions. Awadhi Mutton Biryani originated from Awadhi cuisine, which is the native to the city of Lucknow. What makes Awadhi biryani special is its slow cooking method, and it takes almost an hour and a half to complete the process. The marinated meat is cooked separately until tender and then layered with par cooked rice continued with the process of dum cooking.

This Biryani is infact rich, mildly spiced, extemely flavourful and juicy. Though the meat can be pressure cooked and then layered with rice, the traditional method calls for a slow cooking process and i would suggest the same as that helps in emanating all the meat flavours, the spices gets seeped in, leaving the meat succulent for the biryani.

The main ingredient is the Biryani masala, which should be made fresh. Do not go for store brought one, the ratio of spices for Awadhi Biryani Masala is different and freshly made spice mix tends to be more aromatic. Saffron, Keora Water and Rose essence makes biryani more flavorful, so please go for it if you want to taste an authentic Awadhi Biryani.


For Cooking Rice

Basmati rice 500 gms

Water 3 litres

Cinnamon 2 sticks

Black Cardamom 1

Green Cardamoms 3

Cloves 5

Black Pepper Corns 4

Ginger Garlic & Green chilli Paste 1/2 teaspoon

Salt as needed

For Biryani Spice Mix Preparation

Black pepper 1/2 teaspoon

Fennel Seeds 1 tablespoon

Cinnamon Stick 1

Cloves 4

Green Cardamoms 3

Nutmeg 1/2 (chopped)

Cumin Seeds 1/2 tablespoon

Shahi Jeera 1/2 tablespoon

Mace (Javitri) 1

Bay Leaf 1

Red Chilli Powder 1 tablespoon

Ginger Garlic & Green Chillies 1 tablespoon

Curd 2 teaspoon

For Marinating Meat

Mutton 500 gms

Ground Biryani spice mix

Thick Curd 1 cup

Salt as needed

For the Biryani gravy

Onions 3 thinly sliced

Oil 5 tablespoon

Ghee 1 tablespoon

Marinated Meat

Water 3 cups

Milk 1/2 cup

Fresh Cream 2 tablespoon

Saffron strands one pinch

Rose Water 1 teaspoon

Keora Water 1 teaspoon

Cooked Rice

Ghee 1 teaspoon

Yellow Food colour a pinch

How to Start

Lets start with grinding the biryani spice mix. Blend all the whole spices given under "For Biryani spice mix" into a fine powder. Now add 2 teaspoon curd, 1 tablespoon ginger garlic green chilli paste, 1 tablespoon red chilli powder and blend it again into fine smooth mixture.

Now add this ground mixture on to the mutton. Add 1 cup curd, salt as needed and marinate it for atleast 6 hours in refrigerator.

After six hours take out the meat. Wash and soak the basmati rice for 20 minutes.

In a thick bottomed vessel, add oil and ghee. Once the oil and ghee gets heated,add onions and fry until they turn translucent. Add the marinated meat mixture and fry well for 3 to 4 minutes. Cover it with a lid and allow the meat to cook on its own juice for atleast 20 minutes, keeping it in medium flame. Check at regular intervals and give it a mix.

In another heavy bottomed vessel, add 3 litres of water and add the whole spices, ginger garlic green chilli paste. Let it come to boil.

Once the water starts boiling, add the soaked rice and cook on high flame for not more than 6 minutes. We do not want the rice to be fully cooked. After 6 minutes, drain it in a colander and add a teaspoon of ghee. Set aside.

Now check the mutton pieces. Add 2 to 3 cups of water, mix well and allow the mutton to cook on a medium flame for another 30 minutes, until the mutton turns tender, water dried out a little and oil oozes out making it look like a thick gravy.

Once the mutton gets tender, add 1/2 cup of milk, 2 tablespoon of fresh cream, saffron, rose water and keora water. Let it boil again for 3 minutes.

Simmer the flame now. Add the cooked rice on to the mutton mixture and spread it even. Now add a teaspoon of ghee over it and drizzle yellow food colour mixed with a teaspoon of water. Close it with a tight lid.

Heat a dosa tawa on high heat. When it gets smoking hot, simmer the flame completely and place the biryani vessel on top of the tawa. Place a weight over the lid, so that no steam escapes. Let it get cooked for another 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, switch off the flame and open the lid. Gently fluff the rice and mix it so that the masala coats well over the rice.

Awadhi mutton biryani is ready to serve with onion raita or any salan.

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