So long since I shared a recipe here. Truth be told, I began to ask myself some very fundamental questions – who needs one more food blog? No one. Do people even read recipes these days leave alone the story that comes with it? Nah.
Hasini taught my mother to search for recipes on youtube and together they tried recipes off the youtube channel. So there you have it makkale. My own daughter and my mother do not look up my blog. Their ragi idlis turned out like ninja blades you can throw to injure people. Not that I’d be as mean as to make fun of their attempt. Of course not.
Anyways I had this whole – why to do? Does it matter? kind of existential-mid-life crisis about the blog just like with many other things these days. And Self-doubt. The hallmark of any good writer. And hair-fall. And infinite work. And Writing took a backseat. Isn’t that always the case with women. You give from your own share of ice cream as long as you don’t have to go and make ice cream or quell fights or persuade people. Giving up your share is the easiest. Lazy and pacifist that I am, I am usually ready to give up ice cream and soda and soup if I can just sit un-disturbed.
So I didn’t write most of this year. But recently when I read someone’s blog post from long ago, the original text kind with a few pictures, I was drawn in by the blogger’s story, her world, her life. I remembered why I started blogging originally. I’ve always wondered whether my Maths teacher wore the same kondai (bun) at home and if she smiled and if she made rasam everyday, if the pretty north-eastern girl giving me a pedicure fought with her room-mates over what to eat for dinner and how that the loud aunty on the treadmill next to me and who was always on the phone had so many friends. Before you wrongly report me for stalking, I meant that people’s stories are like a window into their different worlds, fascinating and original. It is this that brings me to write and read. I still believe in it. So I decided that I ought to write if for the one person far away somewhere who wants to read a good story.
Now that I’ve given you my long explanation that no one asked for I am ready to get to the actual recipe I am about to share today. Ironically the source for this Muslim style mutton biryani is a youtube video (Latheef bhai) that Aarthi, my dear friend shared with me along with a ton of dos and donts. Encouraged by her top rating for this recipe, I did just as she instructed which was to shut up and follow the recipe in the video and not do any bloody value addition. I did as told. I am happy to report that this recipe is an absolute keeper. The biryani is so wonderfully scented with such minimal ingredients and beautifully balanced. I love the minimalism of this recipe. There are no fancy ingredients and nothing excessive. This recipe is all about balance and harmony. For that delectable biryani taste, you need a certain amount of oil and ghee and no two ways about it. You got to have as much meat (or a little more even) as rice for enough flavour. You need to be patient and let the onions brown. You’ve got to watch the rice and drain it in time. Since this is so minimalist, don’t skip any of the ingredients or steps.
I made this biryani at the beginning of the lockdown when we were all hoarding potato chips and meat in fear of going hungry and we overdid the whole ‘stay at home and eat home-cooked food’ mantra and piled on so much weight that our stretchy pants and panties (really, panties!) became tight. We went out and got ourselves a biryani degchi/dabara and started at 2 pm. I wanted to make no mistake, so I went about slowly taking stepwise pictures along the way. We ate finally at 4:30 or 5. But was it worth it or what. We had about 2 kilos of biryani. Even by our biryani guzzling standards, we had too much. We shared the biryani with friends and family who were close by. This is the recipe I will be using again and again, every time I make at scale in a degchi.
Muslim style mutton biryani
- 1 kilo Mutton cleaned
- 1 kilo Basmati rice washed and soaked for 30 mins
- 150 ml Oil
- 50 ml Ghee
- 1 tbsp Cinnamon
- 6-8 Cardamom
- 10 Cloves
- 400 gm Onions (~4 large) sliced
- 3/4 cup Ginger garlic paste
- 100 ml curd
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 tbsp rock salt
- 6 green chillies kept whole
- 2 lemons juiced
- 300 gm Tomatoes (~4) sliced
- 2 cups Coriander leaves + Mint leaves
- 1 litre Water
- Rinse basmati rice well and soak in water for 30 minutes.
- Clean, wash and drain mutton and set aside.
- Heat a large aluminium degchi. Add oil and ghee to the degchi. Once the oil turns hot, add in the whole spices – cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and let them turn fragrant.
- Add the sliced onions and saute from time to time. Wait until the onions turn a golden around the edges – 6-8 minutes.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Add curd, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and half of the rock salt and mix well.
- Add the sliced tomatoes and whole green chillies, the pudina leaves and coriander leaves (reserving a handful for the rice) and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add half the lemon juice and reserve the rest to use while cooking the rice. Add the cleaned mutton pieces and mix well.
- Bring 1 litre of water to a rolling boil in a pot. Pour the boiling water into thedegchi with the mutton masala. Mix well. Cover and cook for 40 minutes – 1 houror till the mutton is cooked through.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the remaining salt, lemon juice and mint and coriander leaves. Drain the water from the rice and tip into the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes only. The rice will be a bit long but not fully cooked through. Drain the water or scoop the rice from the pot using a saucepan and pouring into a colander. Once all the rice is collected in the colander, empty the rice into the degchi with the mutton masala. Cover with a lid.
- Place a large pot of hot water on top of the lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and cook for 1minute. Switch off and let the entire set-up stand for 15 minutes. After 15minutes, remove the lid. Biryani is ready to serve. Enjoy!