Watch: Cook with Gulf News Food – Mumbai Biryani

Food is about taste, unique traditions, conversations and human connections. We are launching a food series that invites our readers to cook and learn from our guest chefs and cooks. Share your experiences at

Mumbai Biryani

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 2 hours

Serves: 4


1 kg meat

½ kg yoghurt

2 potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 tomatoes minced

6 onions, fried to make birista (reserve a quarter cup for the very end)

2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (a blend of equal portions of minced ginger and garlic)

2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp coriander-cumin (dhaniya and zeera) powder, equal quantity 

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp biryani khada (whole) masala powder (a blend of equal portions of true cardamom, black cardamom, star anise, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves)

1 kg basmati rice

A few strands of saffron soaked in a few tablespoons of warm milk

Oil or ghee (clarified butter), for garnish


  1. Mix ginger-garlic paste and yoghurt. Marinate the meat with this mix, along with the spice powders, and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  2. In a pan, add cooking oil and fry the potatoes. This gives a texture to the external surface, which helps in absorbing the flavouring better. Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, add chopped tomatoes and fry them for 2 minutes. Add the fried onions.
  4. Next, add the marinated meat and mix continually for 10 minutes.
  5. Now add this mixture into a pressure cooker and cook until the meat is tender (approximately 4 whistles). If you wish to not use the pressure cooking technique, you can cook it over a medium to low flame in a covered pot, for about an hour.
  6. In the meantime, boil rice with salt and some whole spices including an inch of cinnamon, 1 or 2 black cardamoms, 3 green cardamoms, 3 to 4 cloves, 1 or 2 bay leaves and star anise, until the al dente stage, drain using a colander or strainer.
  7. Add oil to grease a deep vessel. Layer the cooked meat at the bottom and then the rice.
  8. Drizzle one cup of oil or ghee (clarified butter) on top. Garnish with saffron soaked in a few tablespoons of milk and add two tablespoons of fried onions on top.
  9. Cover it with food-grade aluminium foil and shut the lid tightly.
  10. Cook over a very low flame for about 45 minutes. You will see steam being released and condensation on the lid, despite the foil covering.
  11. Serve biryani with yoghurt raita (cut onions, cucumber and tomato).

Recipe Courtesy: Rubina Sajan