The other day when I shared the Chicken Kabiraji recipe, I discussed about how some of the food of Bengal was influenced by the rulers during the pre-independence era. Kolkata style Mutton Biriyani is another recipe which was influenced by the Awadhs. The story goes that the last Nawab of the Awadh’s, Wajid Ali Shah was exiled in Kolkata by the British. When he came to Kolkata, with him he brought his personal chef and Kolkata was introduced to a new Awadhi style cuisine. The Biriyani cooked by the chef became popular but the locals could not afford meat so cooked the biriyani with potato and egg instead. Today meat is served along with egg and potato in Kolkata style Biriyani.
There are so many variations and recipes of Biriyani. The recipe changes with the geographical area and the availability of local ingredients. The Awadhi or the Lucknowi style biriyani is less spicy and is more fragrant with the use of exotic spices and aromatic and flavorful with the addition of ghee and kesar. The process of cooking the biriyani also differs. Some cook the meat and rice together in a dum whereas in Awadhi style the meat and rice is cooked partially and then put in Dum to finish off the cooking.
The most unique way of preparing Biriyani is the layering of meat and rice. The rice is partially or 75% cooked and the meat is cooked until just tender. The final process of cooking takes place while the biriyani is in dum. Dum is a process where the rice and meat is layered in a pan with other aromatic spices and essence, sealed with a tight fitting lid and slow cooked to infuse the rice with all the aromas from the spices and meat. Biriyani is a flavorful rice cooked with meat in layers with aromatic spices. The addition of potatoes and egg makes the biriyani unique in Kolkata.
In Kolkata, restaurants like Aminia, Arsalan, Shiraz to name a few are very famous for Biriyani. Preparing Biriyani at home is not that difficult but involves few steps. The process starts with making a biriyani masala. The masala can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container. I will be sharing a detailed post on homemade biriyani masala very soon. For today refer to the tips section for the process of making the masala. The list of ingredients may seem to be long but if you follow the steps you will definitely end up making a great homemade biriyani which will taste as flavorful and tasty as the restaurant.
Tips: For the Biryani masala, roast 4-5 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 teaspoon of shah jeera/caraway seeds, 2-3 sticks of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves, 2 small javetri/mace, 4-5 shah morich/white pepper and 1/2 jaifal/nutmeg in a dry pan until fragrant. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for later use. If you do not want to use yellow food color then you may cook ½ cup of rice in separate water with a pinch of turmeric. That will give a yellow color to the rice. Be very careful while cooking the rice. If the rice is overcooked then the rice will be soggy and sticky in the final stage of preparation.
Kolkata Style Mutton Biryani Recipe
By October 17, 2015Published:
- Yield: 4-5 Servings
- Prep: 45 mins
- Cook: 60 mins
- Ready In: 1 hr 45 mins
Biriyani is a flavorful rice cooked with meat in layers with aromatic spices. The addition of potatoes and egg makes the biriyani unique in Kolkata.
- 500 grams mutton or goat meat cut into big chunks
- 2 tablespoons garlic paste (for the marination)
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teapsoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon biriyani masala see Tips
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1/2 teapsoon kewra water
- 21/2 cups basmati rice (for preparing the rice)
- 1 teapsoon salt
- 1 tablespoon whole garamasala green cardamom,cloves,cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 medium bay leaves
- 2 medium onions thinly sliced
- 2 medium potatoes boiled and cut into halves
- 4 medium eggs hard boiled
- 2 teaspoons rose water (for the dum)
- 1 teapsoon kewra water
- 2-3 drops mitha atar
- 1/4 cup milk lukewarm
- 1 pinch strands of saffron
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon biriyani masala optional
- 2-3 drops yellow food color optional (see tips)
- First wash and pat dry the mutton pieces and marinade with ginger garlic paste,yogurt,salt,chili powder,biriyani masala, kewra and rose water. Mix well and keep aside for 4-5 hrs and preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to prepare biriyani , pressure cook the mutton pieces with very little water until two whistles at high and then 10 minutes at medium flame. Switch off the flame. Keep aside. Wash and soak the rice at least for 1 hour. Soak the saffron strand in the lukewarm milk for 15 minutes.
- In a kadai add oil and fry the boiled potatoes and eggs until light golden brown in color. Drain and keep aside. Next fry the sliced onions until golden brown in color. Drain and keep aside.
- In the same kadai add oil if needed and then add mutton pieces and the remaining marinade and cook at medium flame till the mutton is cooked through and the oil is separated from the masala. Add half of the fried onions and mix well. Keep aside and cool slightly.
- In a big pot heat water with 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. In a small muslin cloth place the whole garam masala and tie a knot to form a small bag. Drop the muslin bag with the spices, bay leaves and the soaked and drained rice and cook till 75%. Check a grain of rice. It should be done but have a bite to it.Drain in a colander or a strainer and spread on a plate to let it cool.
- Now to layer the biriyani, first take a handi or a big heavy bottomed pot and grease well with ghee. Add a layer of rice followed by some pieces of mutton. Add few drops of kewra water,rose water, mitha atar and saffron infused milk. Sprinkle some biriyani masala. Keep on repeating this process until you are done with all the rice and meat. Make sure that you start and end with the layer of rice. Add the fried potatoes and eggs in between the layers as well. If you are using food color then you may add few drops in each layer of rice. Add the remaining fried onions on the top layer. Now heat the remaining ghee and add to the sides of the handi. Now close the lid tightly and seal the edges if there is any openings. You may seal with an aluminum foil or dough of flour. Switch on the heat at medium low and let it cook for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and place a tawa under the handi for indirect heat and put in a dum for 25-30 minutes.
- After 25-30 minutes switch off the flame and give a standing time of 15 minutes. Open the lid carefully. With a fork gently fluff the rice to mix the layers.
- Serve in a plate with a piece or two of meat, potato and an egg. You may serve chicken chanp or raita on the side. Enjoy!