Mutton Dum Biryani

Perfecting the art of making Biryani is an achievement in itself. Birynani is slow cooked tenderized meat and rice with flavours of cardamom, saffron, clove, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, pepper corns and cumin. If ingredients make a dish then it won’t be an exaggeration to say that a well made Biryani is much more than the sum total of its parts. Dum cooking is cherry on top. Dum cooking comes from bawarchikhanas (kitchens) of Nawabs of Awadh. By this style, food is tightly sealed in heavy bottomed pan and cooked over low fire. The process of slow cooking gently persuades all the spices to release maximum flavour and sealing of the lid with dough achieves maturing. Cooking slowly in its juices, meat retains all its natural aroma and becomes imbued with the richness of flavours that distinguishes this Biryani from other meat preparations.

Dum Biryani Mutton3

In my Mutton Pulao post I mentioned, cooking biryani is a long and time consuming process. But truth be told after all the hard work the perfectly made biryani is sheer delight.
How I love flavours and spices that go into it!! and how much I love the most delicious aroma that this biryani fills my kitchen with!!! Makes me happy to the core. It’s festive season here, which means holidays..yayyy 🙂 So time is no problem for me, so why not take advantage of this and make this exquisite, flavorful, aromatic and most delicious dish which comes from the Kitchens of Nawabs!!!

Etymologically, Biryani has its roots in the Persian wordberyā(n)(بریان). The origins of this wonderful preparation are not exactly known but most probably it came to India from Persia via Afghanistan to North India with the Mughals. Possibly it came with Arab traders via Arabian sea to Calicut. Or may be it originated in India and went to the middle east with the Mughals. In India this dish flourished in various regions and now has more than twenty known variants. What we are making today is Mutton Dum Biryani. The process is time taking but it is worth the effort to make this culinary delight. The process is lengthy and tiresome and Biryani was mostly a feast preparation and cooked for a large number of people. As legend goes, Mumtaz Mahal(the beauty who sleeps in Taj Mahal) came up with this dish as a “complete meal” to feed the army. Nutrition wise it is indeed a wholesome meal with a good macro nutrient balance.

Total time : 2 & 1/2 hrs
Idle time : 1 & 1/2 hrs of marination time
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Serves : 4

Dum Biryani Mutton

Mutton – ½ kg
Basmati rice – 2 cups
Boiled Eggs – 2
Saffron – For colour

For marinating Mutton
Papaya Paste – 1 tablespoon
Curd – ½ cup
Coriander leaves – handful
Green chili – 2
Brown fried onions – 3 tablespoons
Salt – as per taste
Red chili powder – ½ teaspoon (adjust as per your taste )
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Black Cardamom – 2
Green Cardamom – 2-3
Clove – 4-5
Cinnamon stick – 1
Mace 1-2 strands (about 1/8 teaspoon of mace powder )
Nutmeg – 1 pinch
Black pepper corns – 15-20 crushed
Cumin Seeds – ½ teaspoon
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Bay leaves – 2

For Rice:

Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Black Cardamom – 1
Green Cardamom – 2-3
Clove – 2-3
Cinnamon stick – ½
Desi Ghee – 1 tablespoon
Roasted cumin powder – 1 tablespoon
Bay leaves – 2
Brown fried onions – 3 tablespoons


Pull up your sleeves, we are all set for most exquisite cuisine and art in itself ‘Dum Biryani’. For every meat lover, this is one dish to be mastered, without this your recipe portfolio will be incomplete.

So what are we waiting for, lets get started, this definitely gonna take time!!
So it starts from marinating mutton.
Add 1 tablespoon of tenderizing agent into mutton. I used raw papaya. Raw papaya is natural tenderizer and is used widely in meat and kebab preparation. I am sure you remember how papaya made the yummiest melt in mouth Galouti kebabs. Leave the mutton with tenderizing agent, whatever you are using for half an hour.
Now add chopped green chili, coriander leaves, fried brown onions, curd, all Khada garam masal ( Black & green cardamom, Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace & bay leaves), coriander powder, salt, red chili powder, garam masala powder and cumin seeds. Mix it very well. Let it marinate for another hour.

Dum Biryani Marination

When mutton is marinated, we can start preparing rice. Soak the rice for 40 minute. In a pan boil water and add Khada garam masala (Black & green cardamom, Cinnamon, cloves, & bay leaves). Add a spoonful of desi ghee and salt. You can use vegetable oil too but nothing works as desi ghee.
Rice has to be watched very carefully. We will have two batches of rice. First one which is 40% cooked. So when you think rice is 40% cooked, take out almost half of the rice. Let it cook till you feel rest of the rice is 50-60% cooked. Once it is done drain the rest of the rice.

Cooking rice

In a heavy bottom pan, add the marinated mutton. Sprinkle some roasted cumin powder on top of it. Add the layer of 40% cooked rice. Now over the rice again sprinkle some roasted cumin powder, fried brown onions, coriander leaves and spoonful of saffron water (You need to soak saffron in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes).
Add the rest of 60% rice on top of it, again sprinkle some roasted cumin powder ( I am talking about a pinch or two here not too overpowering). Add some garam masala powder and again remaining saffron water.

Layering dum biryani

Now is the time for dum. Kneed flour like you do for making chapatis and put it carefully around the pan. Cover the lid. When it starts to steam, put the flame on low. Dum locks all the flavors inside and biryani is cooked slowly enriched with mouthwatering aroma and flavor.
Cook biryani on slow flame for 40 minutes. Important thing is that it has to be cooked in heavy bottomed pan. If you don’t have heavy bottomed pan, Place the pan you are cooking biryani in over another flat pan. What I did here is, I put tawa on gas and over that I placed my biryani kadai.

Preparing Dum

After 10-15 minutes, even your neighbors will know what’s cooking with you!!!! Such beautiful aroma, it’ll will your entire home. Ahhhhh how happy this makes me!!!! I wish I could cook this biryani every day!
After around 40 minutes, biryani will be done. Turn off the flame and let it cool down for 5 minutes. Oven the lid, isn’t it just Wowwwww.

Time to serve! Cut the boiled eggs into half, you can fry too if you like. Garnish with fried onions serve with raita or simple plain curd.

My biryani vanished in minutes. What I loved most was the tender and juicy mutton. Mutton was cooked to perfection. I’ll say I am totally loving Dum cooking.
If you like the flavor of rose water or kewra water I you food, you can add that too on the top of the rice layer.
Nuts like cashew nuts and raisins are also used to make biryani rich, those can be fried and then added. As I am not a fan of nuts in my food, I have not added any here.

Dum Birynai Mutton final1

Dum Biryani Mutton final2


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