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Mutton Biriyani / Malabar Mutton Biriyani Recipe

mutton biriyani

Mutton biriyani recipe; Malabar mutton biriyani is the most popular Muslim biriyani in Kerala. This mutton biriyani is made with instant biriyani masala. Living in Calicut has introduced me to Malabar food through friends, neighbors etc. I also got introduced to Ummi Abdulla's cookery book awhile ago through my daughter's friend, Amra's mother.

Whenever I have a mood for Malabar cooking; I will ring up her and it is she who always helps me out, Malabar chicken samosa and cauliflower fries are examples. For this mutton biriyani, I followed her recipe and also referred Ummi Abdulla's cookery book "Malabar Pachakam".

The main one thing which makes a Malabar biriyani stands out is the rice which is used; unlike in other biriyani where basmati rice is used, in Malaber biriyani its kaima rice which is used. Now the difference between Kozhikodan biriyani and Thalassery biriyani is mainly in the layering of the dum; Kozhikodans like to layer the meat with just rice over it, but the rice itself is layered with cashewnuts, raisins, ghee, fried onions, saffron, coriander and mint leaves etc....maybe two or three layers....but the base is only the meat. While serving they put the meat in a plate and cover with rice.

Thalassery biriyani is wherein the meat and rice is layered alternatively ...until rice comes on top...while serving they mix the biriyani in the dum pot and serve mixed up biriyani....also, they use more tomatoes in their biriyani.....of-course these are my observations from information collected from friends from Thalassery and Kozhikode.

malabar mutton biriyani

This mutton biriyani is made with curd and hence tomatoes are not added; if you prefer to add tomatoes, you can add 2 but reduce curd by half; though I would suggest you try this version. I had researched quite a lot in coming up with this recipe.

Biriyani masala is made instant and that make this biriyani more flavorsome. It might look a bit difficult, but just follow my steps and I promise making biriyani will be easy-peasy for you.

Fish lovers, try Malabar fish biriyani.

Step by Step Pictures:
Serves: 4
The spices to make the biriyani masala. Lightly roast and grind it. Keep this aside. Keep aside 2 or 3 pinch of the masala powder to sprinkle over rice.

Marinate mutton with curd and salt. Wash and clean kaima rice and put in a strainer.
In the same grinder: grind ginger, garlic and green chilies...keep aside.

Heat a pressure cooker with oil or ghee, add in 2 sliced onions and allow it to lightly brown and then add in the grinded ginger-garlic mix. Mix well.
Add in Kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder, and the grinded bririyani masala and mix.

Add in the marinated mutton and khuskus paste along with 1/3 cup of water. Mix well and close and pressure cook for 15 to 20 min (simmer after the first whistle).

While the mutton is cooking in the cooker, lets make the rice. In another burner keep 4 cups of water with salt to boil.
Heat another deep bottomed pan with 2 tbsp of ghee, and add in one sliced onion and remove it when it is fried.
Then add in cashewnuts and remove when fried.

Add in rasins (rasins swell and fry up fast; so be a bit fast in removing them from oil) fry, and remove them.
Add in cloves, cardamon and cinnamon to the remaining ghee.

 Add in the strained rice and fry in low -medium flame for 2 minutes. Then add in the hot boiling water and when it starts to boil, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes. In between open and stir from the bottom, so that it does not stick.

Once the rice is done, squeeze in half a lemon and mix well. 
Heat another pan, I used my iron skillet and add in the cooked mutton...if there is lots of water evaporate on high flame....there should only be a little gravy.

Top it with half of the cooked rice. Sprinkle a fat pinch of the biriyani masala powder and drizzle a tsp of ghee.  Drizzle half of the saffron milk, fried onions, cashewnuts, raisins, coriander and mint leaves.
Then repeat the same with the rest of the cooked rice. Cover with a tight lid and simmer for 10-15 mins. You can also seal with dough made with flour.

Allow it to sit for 5 minutes and then open and serve with raita or papad.

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Mutton Biriyani / Malabar Mutton Biriyani Recipe

PREP TIME: 10 mins    |  COOK TIME: 30 mins    |  AUTHOR::
  mutton biriyani  


  • Mutton: 300 gms, chopped
  • Onions: 2, sliced
  • Green Chilies: 2-3
  • Ginger: 1 inch
  • Garlic: 1 pod
  • Kashmiri chili powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Oil or ghee: 2 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves: A handful, chopped
  • Mint Leaves: 1/2 handful, chopped
  • Curd: 4 tbsp
  • Biriyani masala: 3/4 of the powdered mix
  • Khuskhus: 1/2 tsp (grind it with little water)
  • Water to cook mutton: 1/3 cup or as needed.
  • Jathika/Nutmeg: 1/2
  • Jathipathri/Mace: 1/2
  • Shahjeera: 1/2 tsp
  • Perumjeerakam/saunf: 1/2 tsp
  • Cloves: 5
  • Patta/Cinnamon: 3/4 inch
  • Whole black pepper: 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamon: 4
  • Kaima Rice: 2 cups
  • Hot Water: 4 cups plus 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of half lime
  • Onion: 1, sliced
  • Cloves: 3
  • Cardamon: 3
  • Cinnamon: 1/4 inch
  • Ghee: 2tbsp
  • Cashewnuts: 2 tbsp
  • Rasins: 2 tbsp
  • Saffron: A fat pinch
  • Warm Milk: 2-3 tbsp
  • Coriander and mint leaves chopped
  • Ghee to drizzle: 2 tsp


  1. Marinate mutton with curd and salt. Keep this aside while we prepare the rest.
  2. Wash kaima rice and put it on a strainer.
  3. Lightly roast on a pan the ingredients under the biriyani masala and grind it and keep aside.
  4. In the same mixie grinder, grind ginger, galic, and green chilies and keep aside.
  5. Add a fat pinch of saffron in 3 tbsp warm milk and keep aside.
  6. Heat a pressure cooker with oil, add in two sliced onions and allow it turn lightly brown.
  7. Add in the grinded ginger-garlic mix and saute well.
  8. Add in the chili,turmeric, and coriander powders and 3/4 of the grinded biriyani masala and give a nice mix.
  9. Add in the chopped mint, coriander leaves and khuskhus grinded, and 1/3 cup water. Mix well and close cooker. Allow it to cook on low flame for 15-20 mins after the 1st whistle.
  10. While the meat is cooking lets make the rice. Keep 4 cups of water with 1 tsp salt to boil on another burner (to cook the rice).
  11. Heat another deep bottomed pan with 2 tbsp ghee.Add in the sliced onions and when it is fried remove it. Add in cashewnuts; fry and remove. Add in rasins, fry and remove.
  12. In the remaining ghee, add in cloves, cinnamon, and cardamon. Then add in the strained rice and mix in the hot ghee for 2 minutes, then pour in the hot salted water and mix the rice well, allow it to boil and then cover and simmer for 5 min. Once it is done, open and squeeze half a lime and mix well.
  13. While the rice is getting ready, lets make the dum.
  14. Heat another heavy bottomed pan, I used my iron skillet. Add in the cooked mutton gravy and sprinkle some coriander and mint leaves.
  15. Top it with half of the cooked rice. Sprinkle a bit of the biriyani masala powder, fried cahsewnuts, raisins, fried onions, chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves. Drizzle 1 tsp of ghee and half of the saffron milk.
  16. Add in the rest of the rice and repeat the toppings.
  17. Cover the pan with a tight lid or you can make a paste with flour and seal it.
  18. Allow it to simmer for 10-15 mins.
  19. Serve hot with papad and raita.


  • I made this in my Lodge Cast Iron skillet, you can make in any deep bottomed pan.
  • You can double the biriyani masala ingredients and sun dry and then grind and store in an airtight jar.
  • I forgot to mix saffron in milk at the begining, and hence you can see from the pic that the color of milk has not turned yellow.
  • Malabar biriyani is made with kaima rice; but you can also subtstitute with basmati rice.

©Copyright Reserved 2010-2014,


  1. looks so delicious Nisa, nice pics too

  2. My husband loves this biryani. He is vegetarian so what can I use for biryani that has a meaty flavour? this recipe looks so good!

  3. Wonderful and tasty dish. Catherine

  4. Is khuskhus paste essential? Any substitute for khuskhus?

  5. Moreover, is just one whistle and 20mins of cooking sipufficient for the mutton meat to be cooked well?

    1. One whistle and simmer the cooker for 20 mins (pls read my post) is enough to cook tender mutton. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Hi,please what is khuskhus .. thanks

    1. It is also known as poppy seeds, hope this helps :)


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