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.