Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dum Mutton Biryani

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. Wow! 4 years of married bliss. Since we had no plans to go out (hubby was working the entire day) - I wanted to make it special. Well, we decided to make this biryani - something that I had cooked for him the very first time ever...... when we were the bestest of friends. We had store bought pastries for dessert.


For Marinade and cooking the meat
2 pounds mutton (goat meat/lamb meat)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
9 flakes garlic
7 to 8 green chilis - you can add more to make it spicy
1 inch ginger piece
1 onion - thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt

For Curry
5 medium onions - thinly sliced
2 tomatoes - pureed
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
2 tablespoons dhania jeera powder
1 tablespoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 cup oil
salt to taste

For Rice
2 cups basmati rice
a pinch of saffron strands (roughly around 10 to 11 strands)
2 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter
8 to 9 cloves
6 green cardamoms
2 inch cinnamon stick
2 bay laves
1 star anise
2 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
salt to taste

For garnish (optional - but, looks good)
thinly sliced onion - fried till brown
mint leaves - fried
cashews - fried
raisins - fried


Cooking the meat
Clean the mutton pieces well. Grind to a paste the cilantro, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Add the ground masala to the yogurt and with salt and mix well. Add the mutton pieces to this mixture and let it sit for about 2 hours. The more you leave to marinate the better. I left it in the refrigerator overnight.
In a pressure cooker add the oil. When it gets hot, add the 1 sliced onion and fry till golden brown. To this add the marinated meat and mix well. Do not add any water. Cook it on pressure till about 4 whistles. Let the meat sit in there.

Cooking the curry
In a Karahi add the half cup oil. Then add the sliced onions and fry till they are golden brown. To this add the pureed tomato and the ginger garlic paste. fry this mixture well, till it leaves the sides of the pan. Add the dhania jeera powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and tandoori masala and mix well. Do not add water - we need this gravy to be thick. To this add the mutton pieces from the cooker. Add all the juices too - you may see some water here as cooked meat oozes some water. Mix everything well, add salt to taste and bring this mixture to a boil. Then cover it and let it simmer on medium low heat for about 15 minutes.

Cooking the rice
Wash the basmati rice well and then soak it in water for about an hour. For 2 cups of rice - add about 5 cups of water. Add salt to taste and let it cook. Keep checking as this should be about 3/4th cooked and not cooked through. When its 3/4th cooked - drain out the extra water. Take about 4 tablesppons of rice in a plate and add the saffron strands to it. Mix the rice around so that it gets the color from the saffron. Be careful to do this gently as we do not want the rice to break. Add this saffron rice back to the entire rice bowl and mix it around gently.
In a small karahi add the ghee. When it gets hot, get it off the heat and add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, bay leaf, star anise and let it simmer in the ghee.

Making layers & cooking on dum (in its own steam)
In a flat bottom utensil star making layers. First add some curry and make a think layer on the bottom - then add the rice on top of it - to this add some of the ghee and the whole spice mix - add the curry with some pieces on top- make sure to cover all the rice - then add a layer of rice, followed by the ghee and spice mix and followed by the meat curry. Make about 2 to 3 such layers and remember the last/top layer should be rice. Cover it with a lid and seal the lid with some wheat flour dough - this is done so that no steam escapes and the whole biryani is cooked in its own steam. Keep a tava/flat griddle on the stove and on top of it this utensil with the layers and let it cook on a medium/low flame for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Serving & Garnishing
When you are ready to serve, open the lid and mix the layers very gently. Top it with the fired onions, mint leaves, cashews and raisins and serve with raita. You can make some extra curry and serve it on the side with the biryani too.

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