Monday, October 1, 2012

Mutton Biryani...Kolkata style

Biryani, what can I say about this dish? It is already been talked about so much. Biryani has its own long journey from Middle East to India. There are many different variants of Biryanis cooked throughout this world. Only in India, there is almost 15 or 16 different style of making Biryani.
The biryani I made is the Kolkata (Calcutta) style.  This particular type has evolved from Awadhi/Lucknowi style. When the last Nawab (king) of Awadh, Wajid Ali shah was exiled to Kolkata, along came his personal chef, so did the Biryani.
Being a Bong, I love the Kolkata style Biryani. To celebrate the biggest festival of Bengal, the Durga Puja what else could be more suitable than biryani. Seeking blessings from the deity, pandal hopping, new dresses and some yummy food that makes us true Bong. Try this recipe for your friends and family and enjoy the festivity.
I combined several different recipes to make this Mutton Biryani. A special thanks to my mom and my friends from Dubai Pinki and Satyaki.

Things needed to make Mutton Biryani:

For the rice:
  • Basmati rice: 800gm/ 4cups
  • Bay leaves:2-3Cinnamon sticks(1inch): 3Shah jeera/black cumin: 1tsp
  • Mace/javitri: 1 floret
  • Nutmeg/jaiphal: 1/4
  • Star anise: 1
  • Black peppercorn: 6-7
  • Salt: 2tsp

For the Biryani masala:
  • Cinnamon (1inch stick): 3
  • Cardamom: 5-6
  • Cloves: 7-8
  • Shah jeera/black cumin: 1tsp
  • Black cardamom: 2
  • Mace (javitri): 1floret
  • Nutmeg (jaiphal): 1/4
  • Black peppercorn: 7-8
  • Star anise: 2
  • Fennel: 1 tsp

To marinate the goat meat:

  • Goat meat: 1kg(2.2lb)
  • Grated papaya: 3tbsp
  • Greek Yogurt/Hung curd: 4tbsp
  • Ginger paste: 1tbsp
  • Garlic paste: 1tbsp
  • Salt: 1tsp
  • Biryani masala: 1tbsp
  • Red chili powder: 1tbsp
Other Ingredients:
  • Onion(thinly sliced): 2cups
  • Potato(baby potatoes): 4-5
  • Hard boiled eggs: 3-4
  • Rose water: 2tsp
  • Kewra essence: 6-7drops
  • Milk: 1/4cup
  • Saffron strands: 1/2tsp
  • Oil
  • Ghee/Clarified butte

Steps of making Biryani:

To make the Biryani masala:

1. Dry roast all the spices separately on a pan. Let them cool down and make a powder. I always make a little more needed for the Biryani, the rest I store in an air tight container for future use. You can use this masala to make other biryanis, like chicken or egg or vegetable biryanis. Even you can add it to any meat preparations.

To prepare the meat:

1. Use large pieces of goat meat without fat. I used the front leg part or the agli raan to make this Biryani. Clean and wash the goat meat, pat dry with a kitchen towel.

2. Grate green papaya. You can also use meat tenderizers. Marinate the meat with the grated papaya for 30min.

3. In a bowl mix Greek yogurt (or hung curd), ginger paste, garlic paste, salt and biryani masala(1tbsp). Marinate the mutton pieces in this for 3-4hrs, you can also marinate it overnight.

Making fried onions or Barista:

1. Slice the onions very thin. Separate the slices.

2. In a pan or kadai add oil (2inch deep) and fry the onion slices till nicely brown. Take care not to burn them. Fry in small batches. Do not put all the slices at a time, that will lead to lumpy messy onions. Make sure all the onion slices frying are dipped in oil, if needed add more oil. Keep stirring continuously but gently for an even brown color.

3. Take the fried onions out with a slotted spoon or ladle. Keep them on a paper-towel lined plate. This crispy brown fried onion slices are called Barista. Keep half of the fried onions for later use and use half to cook the meat. Do not discard the oil, use it to cook the meat.

Cooking the meat:

1. In the same pan where onions were fried take half of the fried onions and add the marinated meat and cook till almost done. The oil would be separated from the spices and there should not be any watery gravy to the meat.

Preparing the filler(potato and egg):

1. Boil 3-4eggs till hard. Cool down and shell the eggs. Fry the egg till golden and keep them aside.

2. For the potatoes, either use 4-5 small baby potatoes or cut a large potato into quarters. Peel the potatoes and wash well. Fry the potatoes till golden brown. I boiled the potatoes first then fried them.

Preparing the rice:

1. Use only good quality long grain Basmati rice. Soak the rice for 20min in water. Wash well till the water runs clear. Drain all the water.

2. In a small piece of cloth take cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, black peppercorn, shah jeera, star anise and tie a knot to make a bag(potli).

3. In a deep pan take loads of water and put bay leaf, salt, the spice bag and let the water boil. As the water rolls boiling add the rice. Cook till its done 3/4th. Drain and spread the rice on a tray.

Preparing the saffron-milk:

1.Take 1/4cup warm milk in a cup and dissolve saffron strands in the milk. Cover and wait for 20min. Add rose water and kewra essence in the milk. Mix well and cover. Keep aside.

Layering the Biryani:

1. Take a large heavy bottom pan with tight fitting lid. Add 2tbsp ghee to the pan. Melt the ghee on low heat. Turn and rotate the pan carefully so the ghee can coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Switch off the heat.

3. Add a layer of cooked rice, then cooked meat pieces, potatoes, egg, sprinkle saffron water, sprinkle biryani masala, add fried onion slices and ghee. Again add a layer of rice, then meat...go on like this till you are done. Top and bottom layer will be of rice.

4. Put the lid on. Seal the pan with flour dough. I did not use flour dough, I covered the pan with aluminium foil, then put the lid. Keep the heat to lowest. And cook the Biryani in this 'Dum' process for 40min. Make sure your pan in heavy-bottomed or the rice will burn. Or you can place a flat tawa then keep the pan on that tawa. Some like to make a double boiler. For that, take a wide pan add boiling water to the wide pan and place your pan with Biryani on that wide pan.

After 40min switch off the heat and let the biryani stand for another 10min. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with raita and salad.

This post is going to the Puja special event of Kolkata Food Bloggers.

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  1. Hi Chitrangada,

    Loved the recipe. I make it almost the same way. You can say 90% similar. I add kababchini as a spice and don't add egg, instead I add alu. I started a food blog last week and added you blog in my reader list. All of your pictures look delicious. Hope to try some of them soon.

    Thanks and happy cooking.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes I also use allspices in my Biryani, but this time my pantry is out of stock...:(

  2. Hi Chitrangada,

    Khub bhalo recipe and soooooo well explained.. usually its gets very cluttered ayto kichu ak sange likhte giye but you did it wonderfully.. We at home are craving for a Kolkata style biriyani since long now.. Will try this one for sure and pretty soon.. But I have a question, in Kolkata style Biriyani we don't see fried onions or brista.. Is it like only its use to cook the meat? You had sprinkled it also.. Any specific reason?

    1. Thank you. I follow the way my mother cooks the Biryani, and I love the sweet taste of fried onions...And above all when you are cooking at home, its depends on how you and your family like to go ahead and do it your way..:)

  3. The recipe is so well explained and step by step photos are easy to understand..I can beg, borrow, steel to get this wonderful looking biryani...

    1. Thanks a feels great when such beautiful words come from someone like you, who herself is such a good cook and owns a wonderful blog..I'm honoured..

  4. Hi
    I tried this yesterday for brunch and it came out so delicious, thanks so much.Very beautiful recipe. Thanks so much

    Tk cre

  5. Hi,

    Wonderful explanation.
    One question - how long generally it takes for the rice to get cooked till 3/4th. I understand it will vary by type of rice.. but still an approximate idea would help...


  6. Hi,
    My family does not like the strong sml of mutton but we understand that certain goat meat is less stronger. Can u advise?

    1. Eunice, I personally found lamb has a very strong smell, where as goat meat has the least. You can also try beef, though it takes a little long to cook.

  7. thanks a lot for the explained step by step method.
    biryani is the perhaps most difficult dishes to be tried in home.
    however after reading your steps i am more confident now.hehe.

    thanks again.

    to eunice..a good mutton wont have any smell..what we call khasir mangso..a patha or chagol will be awfully smelly..yes

  8. this blogger very well known how to explain step by steps and what is need for a cooker ..very very helpful ..thanks so much ........Mr.Milon

  9. this blogger very well known how to explain and what is important for a cooker...very very helpful ..thank you so much ...Mrs.sheuly

  10. Hi...I have tried this recipe today....It looks so nice....thanks so much for your nice recipe...

  11. Hi Chitrangada

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe. As we stay outside India we crave for Kolkata style biriyani & I was looking for an appropriate recipe. I think I have found one. JUst one query if I use kebab chini how much shall I use?

    1. Thanks lot. Kebab chini has a very strong taste so use a few, you can skip this also if not available.