Mughlai Dum Biryani

Mughlai Dum BiryaniIf you are a fan of Biryanis or good food for that matter, Mughali Dum Biryani is a jackpot for you.  In India there are regions known for there own preparations of Biryanis. From hyerabadi biryani, mumbai biryani to Ambur Biryani, each is unique in its own way. The thing that differentiates Mughlai Biryani from others is that, this one is mildly spiced compared to hyderabadi biryani but exotic fragrant. That i guess is the trademark of muglai preparations. It does not use a lot of spices or tomatoes instead spices to give it distinct aroma, that makes you hungry instantly. 

Mughlai BiryaniIf you have ever been to Lucknow, you would know the subtle differences in the way kebabs, curries and Biryanis are prepared there. The textures are softer, spices milder and so so fragrant. Though i love spices; i love this one better than others. My house smells like heaven of Indian spices when i make it and it tastes exactly like meat should taste. I may be biased as it comes from home but i can bet, this is the best Biryani and you will fall in love instantly. It smells and tastes royal, tender like cotton and makes you relish each bite of this exotic regal preparation. 
This Biryani does not need marination like others. Mutton is cooked slowly in yogurt, spices and ginger garlic paste infusing the aroma and taste in mutton.

Mughlai Biryani Prep
Perfectly cooked fragrant basmati rice is the secret of good Biryani. Boil the water with spices so it extracts all of the juices into the rice. And yes, mint leaves make it even more fresher and better. 

Mughlai Biryani rice

Use a lot of saffron, this adds beautiful colour and add to the fragrance of this splendid Biryani. Cooking it on dum infuses all the masala and fragrances into meat and rice and integrates these two ingredients into one.

Mughlai Biryani layerSome things that you may keep in mind while preparing Mughlai Dum Biryani would be:

  •  Tempted as you may be, but do not put ground masala like coriander powder, garam masala powder. I have added red chili powder though, you can skip that as well.
  • Use good quality long grain fragrant basmati rice.
  • In each Biryani post i say and i reiterate, be careful with rice; do not over cook it. 
  • Use good quality whole spices
  • Make sure mutton is tenderly cooked.

Mughlai Dum BiryaniI have used mutton here, you can very well use any other meat and check time it will take to cook. So here comes the recipe:

Mughlai Dum Biryani
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. 1 kg mutton
  2. 1 cup yogurt
  3. 3/4 cup ghee/Oil
  4. 2 large onions (1.5 cups)
  5. 5-6 garlic cloves
  6. 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  7. 8-10 green cardamoms (choti elaichi)
  8. 4 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
  9. 9-10 cloves (laung)
  10. 1 tsp black pepper corns (kali mirch)
  11. 1 tsp red chili powder
  12. 2 green chili
  13. handful of coriander leaves
  14. 1.5 cups of warm water
For Rice
  1. 1 Kg long grain Basmati rice
  2. 1 tbsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  3. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  4. 1 star anise
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1 inch cinnamon stick (daalchini)
  7. 1 tsp lemon juice
  8. 2 green chili
  9. Salt (1 tsp more than required)
For layering rice and meat
  1. 1/2 tsp saffron strands
  2. 1/2 cup milk
  3. pinch of saffron food colour
  4. 2 tbsp ghee
  5. handful of coriander leaves
  6. handful of mint leaves
  1. Wash and soak long grain basmati rice.
  2. Thinly slice onions, wash and drain all the water.
  3. In a pan or kadhai, add ghee and fry the onions till golden brown. Take out the onions and keep them aside. We will use them later.
  4. In the same pan, add mutton and mix yogurt, peeled garlic, green and black cardamoms, ginger garlic paste, cloves, red chili powder and 1.5 cups of warm water. Close the lid and let it simmer on medium heat.
  5. Keep checking and stirring from time to time. Add more water if required. When mutton is almost done add 3/4 brown onions, coriander leaves and green chili. Let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Mutton should be around 90% done. It should get done in 40-45 minutes.
  7. To cook rice, boil water in a pan and add caraway seeds, cumin seeds, bay leave, cinnamon stick and star anise.
  8. When water starts boiling add rice, lemon juice, salt and slit green chili. Let rice cook around 70%. Be very careful with rice; you do not want to over cook them.
  9. Now that rice is done, we start to layer rice and meat and put on dum.
  10. In a broad pan or kadhai, apply some ghee on bottom. Place 1/2 of the rice, add some coriander and mint leaves and cooked meat with the masala on top of it. Place the layer of rest of the rice on top of the meat. Sprinkle some coriander leaves, mint leaves and rest of the brown onions.
  11. Sprinkle the saffron soaked milk and saffron food colour. You can also add rose water if you like, i have not used it here.
  12. Add ghee/oil by the sides of the kadhai and on top of the rice.
  13. Close the lid and let it be on full flame for 3-4 minutes. When it starts to heat up, put the kadhai on top of a heavy pan ( i use tawa) and cook for 15-20 minutes on low flame.
  14. Let it cool down completely. Biryani is ready, serve with raita or salad.
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