Mutton Biryani in Awadhi style
Recipe type: lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
Mutton biryani in awadhi or lucknowi style- a rice and meat dish that is known for its heady aroma and fragrant spices.
  • Basmati Rice : 2 cup
  • Mutton: 500 gm
  • Onion : two large cut into thin slices
  • Ginger-garlic paste : 1 tbsp
  • Kashmiri / degi chili powder : ½ tsp +
  • Yogurt : 2 tbsp
  • Biryani masala - dry roast ¼ tsp each of shahjeera and saunf (fennel seeds) + one mace + one star anise + one inch cinnamon + 5 cloves + 4 green cardamom + 5-6 black peppercorn + 5-6 kebab chini (long tailed pepper) = grind it all together
  • Turmeric powder : ½ tsp
  • Cumin powder : 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar : 1½ tsp
  • Bay leaves : 4 small size
  • Big / black cardamom : 4
  • Saffron : a large pinch
  • Milk : ½ cup
  • Water : 2 cups
  • Ghee (solid state / not melted) : 3 tbsp
  • Keora water / rose water : ½ tsp ; 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder : a large pinch
  1. First soak the basmati rice after three-four wash. Soak it for 30 minutes.
Prepare the onions
  1. You can make ahead this. Thinly sliced a large onion. After cutting the onion, open the slices with your hand. This will ease the caramelization process.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a wide bottom pan. Add the onions, spread it out thinly. Add a pinch of salt and sugar in it to speed up the process.
  3. Stir in between and cook it in low flame. It will take around 15 -20 minute to get a nice caramelized color. Once done keep aside.
  4. While the onions are getting caramelized, prepare the biryani masala and the mutton.
Prepare the mutton
  1. Wash the mutton thoroughly and squeeze out extra water. Rub salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for 15 minute. After that drain the excess water if any.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, heat one tablespoon ghee, add more if you want. Add one thinly sliced onion and fry it till it gets brown color. Add the mutton pieces one by one.
  3. Fry the mutton on high heat till the rawness disappear. Switch off the heat.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the yogurt with ginger-garlic paste, red chilli powder, cumin powder, biryani masala.
  5. Add this to the mutton.
  6. Switch on the heat, and braise the mutton in high heat to medium heat till the fat separates.
  7. Add two cups of water. Cover and cook on low heat till ¾th cooked. Depending upon the quality of the meat, time taken will vary. It should be half cooked in 40 minute.
  8. You can use pressure cooker to speed up the process. I am from old school, so I cook it in dekchi.
Prepare the rice
  1. In a dekchi or big tumbler, bring ten cups of salted water to boil.
  2. Throw in the big / black cardamoms , one bay leaf and add the soaked basmati rice in the boiling water.
  3. Cook till half done. Grains will remain hard. It should take 5 minutes at max.
  4. Switch off the gas. Do not cover it.
  5. Drain the rice after 3-4 minute.
  6. Separate the rice into two part. And spread them thinly in a wide plate.
  7. Drizzle some melted ghee over it .
  8. Time the rice preparation perfectly with mutton. Because as soon as the rice is prepared, mutton should be ready too. So that, steam from the rice can be used up to cook the biryani. It will add the moisture to the biryani.
  9. Meanwhile soak the saffron in warm milk.
Assemble the biryani
  1. In your biryani pot / handi / pan (I use pan with close fitted lid that do not let the steam escapes from it) place the bay leaves at the bottom.
  2. Add half the rice. Sprinkle it with saffron-milk.
  3. Layer it up with mutton and potatoes with the pan juices. Do not stir.
  4. Cover it up with layer of remaining rice.
  5. Sprinkle nutmeg powder over the rice.
  6. Layer it up with half of the caramelized onions.
  7. Sprinkle keora water / rose water. You can also use dried rose petals instead of rose water. They gives more deeper flavour,
  8. Cover the lid. (lid should be heavy and should be able to trap the steam. Biryani will get cooked in its own steam).
  9. Cook on low heat for another 30 more minute or till done. Keep a close watch on the steam and drying out sign. Else your biryani may get burnt at the bottom.
  10. Serve warm. Garnish with remaining caramelized onions.
  11. This biryani should be moist and subtly spiced. Like Awadhi biryanis are known for.
Recipe by saffronstreaks at