Malabar Mutton Biryani is a special biryani from the former Malabar district, current northern districts of Kerala in South India. For those who are new to the term "biryani", it is a special rice dish made with exotic spices and meat or vegetables. This recipe is very similar to the "Kozhikodan Chicken Biryani" that I posted earlier. It was well-received and loved by many of my readers.
What makes this dish unique is the type of rice used in this dish which is the Kaima rice or Jeerakasala rice. It is a tiny variety of rice that has a fragrance so extraordinary that makes it very appetizing. If you are unable to find this variety of rice, you can use Basmati which is easily available. This dish predominantly uses green chilies and exotic garam masala spices for heat and spices. The unique combination of ginger garlic paste, yogurt, poppy seed marinated with mint and fennel seeds gives this biryani a very unique flavor. This is quite different from biryanis in other parts of India.
Malabar Mutton Biryani cooking process
The cooking process has three main steps, frying the garnishes, cooking the meat, and the rice. I prefer using an instant pot to fry the onions, cashews, raisins and cook the rice. To cook the mutton, I normally use the regular pressure cooker, but you can use an instant pot if that's easier. If using a regular pressure cooker, just saute the onions and add the marinated mutton, and pressure cook for about 5 to 6 whistles.
Make sure to add very little water while cooking the meat, as the cooking process itself releases water. You will need to cook longer on an open flame to make the gravy semi-thick for layering. Layer the rice first, next add the mutton gravy and garnish with chopped mint and coriander leaves, fried onions, cashew nuts, and raisins. The traditional process requires the layered biryani to be sealed airtight and cooked on dum or steamed over an iron pan on a low gas flame. I normally skip the "dum" process and it still tastes great. I just ensure it's mixed well when it is still warm.
What to serve along with the Malabar Mutton Biryani?
The Biryani is quite flavorful and rich and can be had by itself. If you like, you can serve yogurt salad, pappad or fritters, and fried fish or shrimp. I was able to find banana leaves and served the biryani in it. It brought back memories of relishing this delicious dish on festive occasions back home. Although the process seems quite tedious, it is totally worth it when having the first morsel. This is a great dish to attempt making and serving your guests and family.
If you love this recipe, do check out another version of Mutton Biryani posted earlier. Malabar Prawn Biryani recipe that is made with Prawn or Shrimp is also another great dish. Happy cooking, Enjoy!
A delicious biryani made with layered fragrant rice and mutton gravy , garnished with fried onions, cashew and raisins
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 inch ginger
- 12 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp poppy seeds ground to paste
- 15-20 green chillies or as tolerated
- 3 cups yogurt
- 2 cups coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1 cup mint finely chopped
- ½ cup curry leaves finely chopped
- 1 juice from lemon small size
- 1 tbsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp biryani masala
- 4 medium tomatoes chopped
- 2 pounds mutton cut into small pieces
- 4 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
- 1 tsp salt
- 4-5 medium onions cut into thin and long strips
- 10 -12 cashews
- 10 -12 raisins
- 1 cup mint and coriander leaves finely chopped
- 6 cups rice Kaima or Jeeraka sala
- 10 cups water approximately
- 4 - 5 tbsp clarified butter or ghee add more for rich taste
- 5-6 cloves
- 10-12 cardamom
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 2 bayleaves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg (jathika) powder
- 1 star anise
- 3 tsp salt or as desired
Wash and clean the meat with salt and water .
Marinate it with all the ingredients in the "For Marination" section for about 25-30 minutes.
In an instant pot switch on the saute mode.
Add ghee and wait till it turns hot.
Add onions and saute , you can add the salt to speed the browning of onions.
When brown and crisp , drain it out into a paper towel lined plate.
Next add cashews and raisins and brown them and drain it out .
Wash the rice well and soak it in water for about 10 -15 minutes.
Drain well and keep aside.
In the same oil and ghee used to fry the garnishes, add the dry spices in the section "For biryani rice".
Add the drained rice and saute for about 10 minutes .
Add water , salt and switch to Rice mode and cook till done .
Wait for natural pressure release and switch off the instant pot.
In a regular pressure cooker, heat up some oil and ghee.
Sautee chopped onions and add marinated mutton and fry well.
Add about quarter cup of water and cook for about 4 to 5 whistles.
Once the steam is released add the chopped coriander and mint leaves and cook on open flame till the gravy is semi thick.
In a large casserole , layer rice .
Add some mutton gravy .
Add the garnishes and again layer with rice and gravy . Keep repeating.
Finally add the garnishes along with chopped coriander and mint leaves.
Interesting malabar mutton briyani recipe! I love the taste of spices. I just wonder if I could use this recipe for fish instead of mutton.
The distinct spices are what make this dish unique. I have tried it with chicken. If you prefer to use fish, I would recommend you try the Malabar Prawn (shrimp) Biryani which I have linked in this post. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Woah! Sounds absolutely delicious and flavorful Nisha ! Can't wait to try it😋😋
Thank you so much Smitha for the wonderful ratings and comment! Hope you enjoy making and having it as well.
This looks like a fabulous dish! Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you so much Diane, appreciate it!
Oh nice and yummy. It reminds me of a Nigerian dish called Ofada Rice. It's extra spicy and served on leaves. The taste is so amazing.
Thank you so much! Wonderful to know about Ofada Rice. The rice dishes served on banana leaves usually have a great taste and are supposed to have health benefits as well.
You're always introducing me to new recipes! Yum
Thank you Christy, glad you like them!
Since living in Pakistan biryani has become one of my favourite dishes!
Wonderful to hear that , most folks love a good biryani .Thank you for stopping by!
It sounds so yummy. As a rice lover I'll try it, love meals with rice. Thanks 🙂
This truly a wonderful dish for rice lovers and tastes awesome! Thank you so much.
Nisha, Indeed a unique aroma from the kaima rice and other ingredients will give us a delightful meal !
Absolutely right Suni kaima rice is aromatic and flavorful , a must try for any biryani lover. Thank you for stopping by!
I love biryani, it is always delicious and very filling. thanks for recipe
Yes rightly said very filling and tastes awesome indeed. Thank you so much!
I was introduced to Biryani a number of years ago and I've enjoyed several versions of it over the years but I never actually made it at home. I'll have to try the vegetarian version of this one of these days.
Glad to hear you love biryanis .Home made versions are truly delicious and gives a lot of satisfaction. Thank you for the comments.
This dish looks really very yummy. I love biryanis. I would love to try it sometime soon
Thank you so much, appreciate your comments. I am sure you will love this one.
I had no idea there are different biryani available and this one definitely worth the try. Fried fish sounds a great pair to this. Your post definitely made me hungry. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
Thank you so much Clarice for the kind comments , appreciate it! I agree fried fish is a great combination , hope you are able to try this recipe soon.
Malabar Mutton Biryani looks amazing! I am pinning this recipe to make for my family. Thank you!
Thank you so much!
I love biryani but have never made it. I can't remember ever seeing mutton in our stores so hoping to try this with chicken instead.
Chicken is a good option for this biryani as well. Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by!
Nart at Cooking with Nart
Looks really good! I'm a big fan of biryani here...in fact and rice with meat dishes. This is definitely up my alley!
Wonderful to hear that Nart, Enjoy! Thank you for the comments.
I don't eat mutton, what other protein could be substituted?
Chicken is a great substitute for this biryani. Enjoy!
In Hawaii I can often find small lamb chops from Australia that would be perfect for this biryani. It never would have occurred to me to add mint to the gravy!
Lamb would be perfect too Beth, mint really enhances the taste, hope you like it as well! Thanks for the comments!
I've tried other biryani dishes before but not this one. Always fun to try something new. Love the spices!
Hope you get to try this version sometime. Enjoy!
It's difficult to find mutton where I live but this biryani looks fantastic. I love the idea of making it with chicken or fish. And your prawn biryani sounds delicious too!
Thank you so much Jacque, they are all great biryanis each with a unique taste. we love the prawn biryani as well !
Where I am living, it's hard to find mutton but your recipe is YUM! Thanks for sharing it.
Thank you so much Shikha, appreciate your comments!
I have always loved Malabar biryani. It's mild but full of flavor. This mutton biryani looks delicious.
Thank you so much Lathiya! Yes, it is mild but with awesome flavors.