Mona says

April 15, 2011

Biryani – the right way!

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 3:00 am

This is my fail-safe, easy and delish go-to recipe for biryani. It’s a mix of all the biryani recipes that have failed me over the years. Try it and you’ll never enjoy biryani anywhere else as much as you do in your own house. Tall claims, huh? No harm giving it a shot!


1 kg mutton

3 small-medium tomatoes

2-4 small onions

1 bunch coriander / cilantro

1 bunch mint

6-8 green chillies, more if you like your food spicy

4 cups rice

1/2 cup yogurt

1-2 lemons

2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp whole garam masala – cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, bay leaf etc.

1 tsp black cumin

2 tbsp vegetable oil / ghee

Handful for raisins and cashews

A pinch of yellow / red / orange food color

salt to taste


In your food processor grind together the tomatoes, two onions, coriander, mint and chillies. Add yogurt, salt, ginger and garlic paste,  lemon juice (save the skins), and garam masala powder. This is your marinade.

Wash your meat and ideally, you want to leave the mutton in this marinade for anywhere from an hour to overnight. The longer the better. But if you don’t have the time, no problem. Pour the marinade in the pressure cooker, add your meat to it, and cook. Do NOT add water. I cook mine on low heat for about 20 minutes.

Wash your rice, and leave to soak along with the whole garam masala, salt and lemon skins – the squeezed out bits – for at least 20 minutes.

While  the meat’s cooking and the rice is soaking, slice the remaining onions into fine, thin slices. Fry these with a handful of raisins and cashews until nice and crispy brown.

Once your meat is done, open the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high until most of the water has dried out. Add the two tablespoons of oil, black cumin and fry for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Cook your rice al dente. Drain and leave in colander.

Layer meat and rice – the most basic way to do this is rice, meat and rice but you can make as many layers as you like. I usually do four or five. Add the food color, and the fried onions, cashews and raisins at this point. You can garnish with mint and coriander leaves as well – I never do, though. Cover with aluminum foil, put the lid back on and cook on low heat for about 5-10 minutes.

Just before serving, take off the foil, mix well and spoon into serving dishes. Serve with raita and pappad.

Be prepared to become an overnight biryani-making sensation among family and friends. Unless you’re my friends, in which case, that spot’s already been taken 😀



  1. yummy yummy in my tummy, going to giv it a try inshAllah, what a creative and talented person u’ve become yaar.. lol, mashAllah, esp like the cake recipes

    Comment by UmmH — June 11, 2011 @ 12:21 am |Reply

  2. I will vouch for this recipe. 🙂

    Comment by Sue — September 13, 2011 @ 5:57 pm |Reply

  3. Thanks, this is a great recipe! I tried it once before and it turned out so great. Have come to have a look again since I am making biryani tomorrow again:D Mouth is already watering:P

    Comment by Sarah — March 24, 2012 @ 3:06 am |Reply

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