Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
600 gms mutton, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp raw papaya paste
11/2 tbsp garlic paste
3 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp biryani masala (can be store bought)
Salt to taste
8 green cardamoms
1-inch piece of cinnamon or Cassia bark (broken)
¾ cup yoghurt
1 tsp caraway seed (shahi jeera) powder
4 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
4 green chillies, slit
20 to 25 fresh mint leaves, for garnish
½ cup of fried onions or Birista for garnish
2 to 3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp ghee
1-inch ginger, julienned
½ tbsp screw pine essence or kewra
½ tbsp rose water
Whole-wheat flour dough for sealing
For the rice
1 ½ cups Basmati rice soaked and drained
2 black cardamoms or Badi Elaichi
6 green cardamoms
1-inch piece of cinnamon or Cassia bark
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
2 tbsp saffron milk (1/2 tsp of saffron strands soaked in warm milk)
1. Wash and drain the mutton pieces well. Using high quality meat and tender cuts will lead to a more flavourful biryani.
2. Add raw papaya paste, garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, biryani masala powder, salt, cloves, green cardamoms and cinnamon to it and mix well.
3. Add yoghurt, caraway seed powder, coriander leaves, green chillies, 10 to 15 mint leaves, ¼ cup crushed fried onions, oil, and mix well to the meat mix. Finally add lemon juice, combine well and set aside in the refrigerator, to marinate, for 1 to 2 hours.
4. Spread two tablespoons of ghee in a deep, wide-bottomed vessel or handi, add the marinated mutton and spread evenly. A copper vessel or handi is traditionally used to make this type of biryani.
5. Wash and soak long-grain basmati rice for 20 minutes.
6. To cook the rice, boil water in a deep vessel. Add green cardamoms, cinnamon, black cardamoms, cloves, bay leaf, salt and rice and mix. This will infuse the flavour of the spices into the water.
7. Using a strainer, strain the spices out of the water and add the rice.
8. Cook until the rice is partially cooked – around 70 per cent cooked. Then drain.
9. Spread half of the rice over the mutton layer in the handi. Cover and set aside.
10. Put a muslin cloth in a bowl and put the remaining rice in it. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the saffron milk on it, squeeze excess water and then spread the rice in the handi.
11. Add remaining saffron milk on top, julienne cut ginger, remaining coriander leaves, remaining mint leaves, remaining fried onions, screw pine essence, rose water and remaining ghee.
12. Roll out the dough – flour kneaded with water and a bit of oil, roll out into about 2 or 3 mm thickness. Cover the handi with this sheet of dough; gently roll down the edges to seal it. This is cooking on dum – as the meat and rice will cook in its steam.
13. Place the handi on a hot tawa or cast iron pan and cook for 40 minutes.
14. Slowly cut the dough, to open up the sealed pot. Be careful as escaping steam can scald.
15. Garnish with more fried onions and mint leaves, if you like, and serve hot with raita of your choice.
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