Mutton Biryani ~ Weekend Cooking!

As I stepped into the room, I was hit by the aroma of the freshly roasted peanut. It is not something one can miss even if it was the middle of the day, forgot it being the night. What you smell is not related to what you feel, but when it was almost midnight, your senses are more acute, the smell was so distinct that you can feel it washing all over you. Maybe the fact that the house was silent and I was more tuned to the smell that was wandering around I just roasted a batch of groundnuts, to be handy for the chutneys down the week. Its been a while since I roasted any.

Kids had gone to bed by then, while hubby dear was watching the tele, he wanted me to watch that program about Uganda. Though the program was compelling, the roasting was even more! All I could remember while roasting was, all those days back, when I was doing it at Parents home! Groundnuts are a staple at home. And I don't think I have met anybody else who can roast so perfectly as Amma does. The voices from the memory haunts me, and I can hear Amma calling me to come to the kitchen. Though we practically grew up on them, our love never daunts. Even more for Dad, as they had lands where they grew groundnuts. Freshly roasted groundnuts right from the stove, is Dad's favorite. I almost curbed the urge to call them, to tell that I am roasted peanuts. I can imagine the look that hubby dear will have!

Anyway, this mutton biryani has nothing to do with peanuts. It being a Sunday, I wanted to make a biryani. I called up the Aunty who gave me the Mutton Paya recipe. She wasn't in town and was expected on the day. But I couldn't reach her on time for me to prepare the biryani. That's when I decided that I should take a chance and go on my instinct to prepare my own biryani. The entire recipe was just cooked on instinct, will surely prepare it many more times. The verdict for both the Mutton Biryani and Mutton pepper fry was excellent. So naturally will be making it few more times.

Ingredients Needed:

Mutton - 500 gms
Basmati Rice - 2 & 1/2 cups
Onion julienne - 1 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Javatri / Mace - 1
Bay Leaf - 1
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom - 2
Green Chillies - 2 long
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Mint leaves - handful
Coriander leaves - handful
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 4 - 6 tsp
Water - 2 cups

For the paste:

Shallot Onions - 50 gms
Onion - 1 small
Green chili - 1 long
Ginger - 2 "
Garlic - 6-7 flakes

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak basmati rice for 15 mins

Wash and drain the mutton.

Grind the ingredients together for the paste, keep it aside. Chop onions as julienne.

Heat a pressure cooker with oil and 3 tsp of ghee. First add all the spices, sauté for a min. Once the cumin starts spluttering, add the onion julienne along with slit green chillies. Sauté till the onions start browning. Add the ground paste. Fry till it's done and oil comes out.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and chili powder, turmeric pwd, and simmer till the tomatoes are soft. Next  add the salt, mint leaves, coriander leaves, Cover with the lid and cook till the tomatoes are soft. Then add the drained mutton. Cook in high while you are stirring it. Then add enough water to cover and pressure cook it for 5 whistles or till the meat is done.

Update: The amount of water added is just enough to cover the mutton. Infact you can pressure cook without adding as mutton will leave out water after pressure cook. If you are unsure, maybe you can add 1/4 cup of water.

Once the pressure is off, remove the lid, cook till the water content is reduced and the mutton is well coated with the masala. The consistency should be a like thick masala coated mutton pieces.

Then add the rice and sauté well. Then add 2 cups of water, remaining ghee, mix well and cover again and pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Note: I added water on instinct. Like for basmati rice to get cooked, yet be separate grains, with 1 cup water to 1 cup rice, you need to sauté it well and do a dum cooking. Only then it gets done correctly. Else it will turn out very soft.

I didn't measure the water for cooking the meat, then I reduced it to half. Finally added about 2 cups of water after adding the rice. I used the stock that was left out from the boiling the meat for the fry. I am not sure if there will be lot of change in the taste if you don't add it.

Other notes that I made note is, I use wash the pan after cooking the meat. When I directly added the rice and pressure cooked again, it was little browned on the bottom. Either this or I could have just cooked the rice in dum as the meat was well cooked.

Most important is, you should be liberal with oil/ghee. This is a special dish and should not be minced on the oil/ ghee. Next time will surely add more so that you really get the restaurant effect.!

I was very happy that my own creation resulted in a delicious tasting biryani and is surely something I am going to improvise on!

We are off for a weekend visit to my sil's place. Will update with their yummy treats soon!

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