Growing up in Lucknow, the land of kebabs and biryanis, was one delightful and tasteful experience. Here houses overflow with aroma of spices and striking flavors, grand moms and moms still treasure the secret of their recipes as ancestral wealth, kebab parathas are just another snack, ID and Bakrid is most delicious here than any place else, each street has a delicacy of its own and moreover people themselves are delicate like ‘Gaulati Kebabas’ and sweeter than ‘Sheermal’. Paradise of food lovers and Meeca of Mughlai delicacies. Ahh this got me nostalgic. The good old lucknow!!
Well coming back to the point, so I was trying to say, being in lucknow I got a chance to taste the finest of the Biryanis and kebabs. I saw how peoples are so proud of their recipes and cook with exact precision. I have yearned to master the recipe of perfect Biryani since then.
I could understand over the time, as delicious this ‘slice of heaven’ dish is, needs a long preparation and is a tedious process. Then one fine evening I was invited over lunch by a very dear friend of mine and there I got introduced to not exactly mutton biryani but an equally gorgeous and delicious dish ‘Mutton Pulao’. My friend’s mom, one graceful charming lady and one of the finest cooks ever, she adds some magic to the simplest of the preparations that leaves you with the exceptional taste forever. So, she very naively explained to me how she simplified biryani and came up with ‘Mutton Pulao’, which she can cook on quick demand, for brats of hers and their friends like me, anytime with almost no effort. God Bless her, I proudly can serve my guests any time with this amazing dish. But I would definitely admit, even after series of iterations, I was never even close to my sweetheart cook.
Since then, I have loved cooking this dish as much as and my friends loved hogging it. Not even once, the dish went without the compliments and over time has made many fans.
The gist is, if you proudly want to serve delightful mutton dish to your guests or simply want to treat yourself with mouthwatering dinner without going through the tedious and long process of cooking a Biryani, this is your dish.
So boys and girls get ready for savoring the compliments. Let’s get started.
‘Mutton Pulao’ is cooked in two stages; 1. Boiling the meat with spices 2. Cooking rice with meat
For Boiling Meat
Mutton – ½ Kg (Preferably dast (shoulder cut pieces)
Onion – 100 gms
Garlic – 50 gms ( Half of the onions)
Ginger – 30 gms ( Almost half of the garlic)
Green Chilly – 2,3 Make it as spicy as you like!
Salt – 1 tbsp
Dhanyia (Coriander) powder – 2 tsp
Red Chilly powder – 1 tsp ( Again as spicy as you like)
Garam Masala powder -11/2 tsp
Bay Leaves – 2,3
Black pepper corn (Khadi kali mirch) – 2 spoonful (almost 30)
Cloves (laung) – 4
Green Cardamom (Choti elaichi) – 4
Black Cardamom (Badi elaichi) – 3 mid sized
Cinnamon Stick (Daalchini) – 2 sticks
Mace (Javitri) – 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg (Jaifal) – One tiny bit
Bay Flower – 1
Cumin Seeds(Jeera)- 1 Table spoon
Green Coriander leaves – 3-4 stands
For Cooking Rice
Basmati Rice – ½ Kg (Soak in water 15 mins prior to cooking)
Onion – 1 Small
Garlic – 5-6 I never hesitate in using garlic, this is garlic kitchen after all
Ginger – ½ tsp
Green Chilly – 2
Dhanyia (Coriander) Powder – 1 tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp or as much you like
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper corn (Khadi kali mirch) – 1 spoonful (8-10)
Cloves (laung) – 4
Green Cardamom (Choti elaichi) – 2
Black Cardamom (Badi elaichi) – 1mid sized
Cinnamon Stick (Daalchini) – 1/2 sticks
Mace (Javitri) – Half of what you used for meat
Nutmeg(Jaifal) – Half of what you used for meat
Bay Flower – 1
Bay leaves – 2
Green Coriander leaves – Handful
Vegetable Oil – 2 Table spoon
Ghee – 1 Table spoon
If you are short of any of these species and are trying to omit from the recipe, let me help you what you can manage without and for what you ought to run to the grocery.
Masala-All the masalas are must have. If you are not the fan of spicy food you can reduce garam masala to almost ½ table spoon, but then what biryani is if not spicy!! You decide.
Raw Spices –Again, you reduce the quantity of pepper corn to half but not at all less than that. I guess you don’t have to trouble yourself for Bay Flower if you don’t have. Just to let you know it has a very beautiful sweet spicy aroma, which definitely adds to the burst of flavors of this dish.
Please, by no means, compromise on cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. The tiny miny nutmeg is one of my favorite spices. I love how this spice along with others fills my kitchen with most delicious aromas and you need just a bit of this powerful wonder. This is point when your guests are dragged to kitchen asking, “What’s cooking?”.
Ok now let’s do some cooking here.
Boiling the Meat
Chose dast (shoulder cut) pieces for this dish as they are rich in fat and enhance the taste. Now clean the meat thoroughly. Put it in pressure cooker. Add water to cover the surface of mutton in cooker. Put the cooker on heat. Coarsely chop onions, crush the garlic & ginger, split green chillies into half and add to the meat. Add salt, coriander powder, chilly powder, garam masala powder , bay leaves and cumin seeds and let it simmer. Add 3-4 strands of green coriander, you need not to remove the stems because this is what contains a lot of flavor.
While the meat is on heating up, we will make the ‘packet of spices’. Take a cotton cloth, put all the spices into this cloth. Tie this up carefully and this packet goes to mutton in pressure cook.
Let spices blend the flavours with mutton, mutton to excrete the juices and you can have a breather.
Let it be on medium flame for 10 minutes. When you see the oil from mutton coming up on surface and it smells pretty good, close the lid of the pressure cooker and give it 8-10 whistles or until you think, meat is cooked. Just remember you will again be cooking meat with rice for little sometime so right now you can leave that window.
Now strain the meat, pick out the mutton pieces and let the water go in a separate vessel. Here you have a wonderful mutton stock. Use it in soup or the mutton gravy, you are cooking alongside, in that case, do give a try to this Mutton gravy recipe here …….
So here we have mutton cooked mutton. We just have to cook it with rice.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan, add ghee to it. When ghee is warm add cumin seeds, pepper corn, green and black cardamom, cinnamon stick, mace, crushed nutmeg and bay leaves. Just when it turns brown add finely chopped onions and ginger, crushed garlic and green chillies. In a bowl add corriandor powder, chilly powder, garam masala, salt with some water. When onion is golden brown, add this masala water in the pan and let it cook. You know the masala is cooked when oil starts bubbling out of the masala. Add the cooked mutton in this mixture. Let it get mixed for 2 minutes.
Wash the soaked basmati rice and add in the pan. Let the rice get mixed with mutton and masala for a minute. Add water just enough to cook and half of your coriander leaves, save half for garnishing the final dish. Close the lid and let it cook over low heat.
You can also use pressure cooked instead of pan. ‘Mutton Pulao’ will be ready in two whistles.
Garnish with coriander leaves, serve hot with curd or your favorite raita, onions and a slice of lemon. To make my favorite version of curd to go with mutton pulao:
– Cut, not so thin , onion rings in a plate. Cover it nicely with curd. Sprinkle salt and red chilly powder
Try this simplest salad with mutton pulao. This works wonderful, trust me.