Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani

Servings : Serves 4-5

A meat biryani dish that is a speciality of Hyderabad. The meat is marinated and then layered with half-cooked rice in a tight pot and then cooked together, which makes this a little bit adventurous but an incredibly easy and delicious recipe nonetheless

Ingredients for Meat Marination

  • 1 kg lamb/mutton pieces, on the bone - marinate for an hour with 1 tsp meat tenderiser plus 1 tsp. each ginger & garlic pastes
  • 1-2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • small handful of chopped coriander
  • small handful of chopped mint
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 5 onions – sliced and fried (use half in marinating and half later during layering)
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • whole spices mace, bay leaf, black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup oil

Ingredients for Rice

  • 3 cups basmati rice, washed 2-3 times then soaked for half an hour
  • salt
  • saffron & food colouring - soak the saffron in about 1 tbsp of warm milk or water
  • oil
  • whole spices


Marinate the meat in all the marination ingredients overnight (remembering to reserve half of the fried onions for layering later). You can also reserve some chopped herbs (coriander and mint), some chopped chillies and lemon juice to be used during layering)

When ready to cook, remove the marinated meat from the fridge at least an hour before you begin to allow it to come to room temperature. In the meantime, prepare the rice.

Boil water with salt and oil and the whole spices, then add the soaked rice. When the rice is about 40% cooked (roughly 4 minutes), remove half of it, drain and set aside…then continue boiling the remaining rice until it is about halfway or 50% cooked (roughly a minute or 2 more). Drain and set aside.

In a thick bottomed vessel pour a bit of ghee or oil which will help prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and then spread the marinated meat. On top of this spread the 40% cooked rice followed by some of the remaining crushed fried onions, coriander leaves, mint leaves and lemon juice.

Spread the 50% done rice over this, then drizzle the soaked saffron and food colouring, plus a bit of ghee or oil. Seal the vessel with a damp cloth and a tight lid to keep the steam intact. First, cook on high flame for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the vessel to a hot tava (flat roti pan) to prevent the biryani from burning and continue cooking on medium heat until you notice steam trying to escape from the sides. At this point, lower the heat to minimum and cook for another 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, open the pan and gently fluff up the rice, mixing the meat with the rice. Serve with raita and green chutney. Enjoy! 🙂

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