Mutton Biryani (Kolkata Style)

10:20 AM

Everyone is aware of the food crazy Bengalis but what lesser people know is their consciousness of quality when it comes to their favourite dishes. They are simply crazy about certain restaurants that cater to their tastebuds. They almost worship these places that has been enjoying the iconic status for quite sometime. They love and believe in the quality of these places so much that, if faced with a challenge where their life would be at stake, they can vouch on the name and reputation of these restaurants. I wont be surprised if someone takes oath like “I so and so hereby promise on the name of Shiraz’s Biryani that….” Unbelievable but ask any probashi Bangali (who lives outside Bengal) what he is planning to do on his next visit to homeland, with twinkling eyes they would name all the famous eateries they are going to visit to eat their favourite food. The specialties of these restaurants are so exclusive that some only specializes in one product. For example take Golbari, which is a small shop in the by lanes of North Kolkata. Go there on any day in the evening time and you would be greeted with a huge serpentine queue. Believe me or not they gather there only for one product, Kasha Mangsho (Dry Spicy Meat). Similarly, Paradise’s Sherbet, Bedwin’s Egg Roll, Shiraz’s Rezala and many others today enjoy the cult status.

Royal India (now called Royal India Hotel Pvt. Ltd.) at Chitpur is one such restaurant. This is a very old shop, which started in 1905, and they specialize in Lucknowi style cooking. Still after 106 years of its inceptions their Biryani and chanp(spare ribs) are so good that they are considered as one of the best three Mughlai restaurants in Kolkata. Now they also have branches all over India.

Last year when my MIL was visiting she carried some Bengali magazines. On a lazy weekend when I was flipping through the pages I discovered some Mughlai recipes shared by this hotel. I knew it was like a secret recipe being published so without wasting any time I copied it. The process of the Biryani was quite tedious and so I reserved it for some special occasions to cook it for a big gatherings. I had to wait for more than a year to cook this.

Last week it was my Maa and cousin brother’s birthday. To celebrate that I threw a party and invited some close relatives. I cooked their famous Mutton biryani and chicken chanp.  The dishes earned such huge praise that I literally blushed. Everyone just licked their plates cleaned and said it tasted exactly like the store bought ones. I was happy and literally blushing. Now everyone have very high regard for my cooking and they are finally convinced that I am one of the best cooks in our family. What else can a girl ask for???

Process wise this Biryani recipe is very different. After the meat is cooked the oil or the rogan is separated from the meat and later that is put on the rice. Actually this was to be cooked in pure ghee but I used part white oil. Here is the detailed recipe. The ingredient list is a big one don’t get intimidated by that. All the items are easily available.

Mutton Biryani
(Serves 8-10)
adapted from Royal India; Kolkata’s recipe

Mutton: 1 Kg 200 gms (the quality of meat is very crucial here. Am no Biryani expert but what I understand is very tender meat will not hold its shape when cooked for long. Hubby bought mutton from a 15 –16 Kgs goat, which was cooked beautifully.)
Basmati Rice: 1 Kg

Raw papaya paste: 1/3 cup

Chopped onion: 11/2 cup
Ginger paste: 5 tbsp
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp

Ghee+oil: 200 gms (I used it in1:1 proportion. The dish is traditionally to be cooked with ghee only)
Ghee: 4 tbsp
Curd: 150 gms
Keora water: 1 tsp
Rose water; 1 tsp

Lemon juice: 3 tsp
Chili powder: 2 tbsp
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Biryani masala; 2 tsp

Whole spices;
Green cardamom: 3-4 pcs
Cloves; 10 pcs
Cinnamon: 1.5” stick
Mace: 1 pc
White pepper: 10-12 pcs

Milk: 1 cup
Yellow and red colour: few drops

Potato: 4-5 pieces
Egg: 8-10

Chopped onin: 1 cup

Whole-wheat flour dough for sealing the sides.

Wash the mutton pieces and slit each piece at 2-3 places. Rub some salt and the papaya paste. Cover and keep aside for min 1 hour to max 2 hrs.

Beat the curd till smooth and keep aside.

Heat a big pan, preferably a kadhai with 200 gms fat. Add the whole spices (just roughly crush to release the aroma). When it splutter and a sweet aroma comes out add the chopped onion. Fry on medium till golden brown. Add garlic paste and fry till the raw smell is gone. Drop in the mutton with its juice, curd, ginger paste. Mix, stir and let it cook for 30 minutes till oil separates at the side. Keep it covered and from time to time stir it thoroughly.

Warm ½ liter water and pour this in the mutton. Mix, check the seasoning and cover. Check if the meat is soft and cooked, if not cook some more. Mine was done at the end of 40 minutes. If the meat you are using is very hard pressure-cook it for 1 or 2 whistles.

When the mutton is cooked switch off the gas and cover the kadhai. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

In the meantime cook the rice with lots of water, 1 cup milk, a pinch of garam masala and 1 tbsp ghee. Save 1 cup of the rice water. When the rice is ¾ done drain the water and immediately spread the rice on a flat surface like on plates or on a clean piece of cloth. With very light hand mix 2 tbsp ghee to save it from forming lumps. Keep it aside.

Now very carefully take out the oil that settled on the top of the mutton with a ladle. Mix the rice water to it and Keep this aside.

To the mutton and gravy add the limejuice, chilli powder, garam masala powder, keora and rose water, little yellow food colour and if required more salt.

Peel and half the potatoes. Boil the eggs and potatoes with little salt. Peel the eggs. Smear little salt and a pinch of turmeric and fry eggs and potatoes till golden. Keep aside.

Also prepare the birista by frying the onion till brown. Keep aside.

In a big biryani pot or copper handi or a heavy bottom pan spread the mutton with the gravy. Spread the rice over it. Slowly pour the saved oil on rice. Make sure all the rice is soaked with it.

Add more ghee on top. Pour a few drops of yellow and red food colours at several places (do not stir) along with some keora and rose water. Sprinkle biryani masala generously on top along with the prepared birista, place the fried potatoes on top and cover the pot. Seal the sides with whole-wheat flour dough.

Place the pot on a tawa or frying pan. On slow flame cook it for 45 minutes. Give it a good shake once in between.

Traditionally burnt charcoal is placed on the lid too. If you can manage please do that. 

A Homemaker's Notes:
Make sure the rice is little hard before you take it out from heat. the rice gets cooked in its steam also so properly cooked rice would turn lumpy.

Spread the rice as soon as the water is drained. I used a big clean cloth to spread the rice on.

Once you add the colour, do not stir the rice.

The mutton should be done before you assemble the Biryani. Dont leave it to be cooked in dum.

Be mean while dealing with keora and rose water. Their aroma is very heavy and a little sprinkle is enough.

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  1. Would love to gorge in... Looks so mouth watering

  2. Eyi ekta jinish ami konodin banate try korini. Uff ... ki bhalo je dekhte hoyeche! Onek patience ache tomar! Ekhon shorir kemon ache? Taratari bhalo hoye otho. :-)

  3. Wow i want that delicious flavourful mutton biryani rite now, sooo inviting..

  4. Spicy and super delicious biryani,loved the spice mix..makes me hungry.

  5. Looks this....
    nice explnation.....

  6. First of All elated Birthday Wishes to your Maa and your cousin. Mutton Biriyani is simply delicious. In case during this Puja we go to Chitpur , would surely visit this hotel for this Biriyani. Bhalo Theko.

  7. Delicious and colorful biriyani. Belated birthday wishes to your mom and cousin brother.

  8. Looks delicious and lovely clicks ....

  9. Darun Recipe, Sayantani..dekhte o darun hoyeche....Peeerfect, well done

  10. This looks wonderful, Am sure your Maa would have been one proud Maa :) How many people did this feed ? I have used kewra and rose water for a murg mussalam...absolutely awesome flavours !

  11. @Arch, you guessed it right she was very happy with all the praise pouring in. btw,this will feed 8-10 persons, provided some side dish is also served.

  12. wow ! very complicated to make this special authentic briyani, guess a lot of practice is needed to attain perfection- thanks for sharing such an authentic recipe

  13. wow very delicious and tempting briyani,love the cute presentation...

  14. I have heard a lot about Royal's biryani. ironically off late and not when I was at Cal. Possibly because i was a South Calcutta Boy. Would love to try it someday

  15. wow delicious biryani .. looks so tempting ...... happy to follow u ......

  16. first time at ur blog and the biriyani bowled me over..happy to follow you..

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  17. Looks so delicious. I'm a big fan of biryani, but always find it too time-consuming to make it home. Your recipe looks very easy. Biryani - here I come!

  18. Sayantani your post on reminded me of all those eateries.golbarir kasha mangsho aar fish fry.I am amongst those probashi now who can vouch on Shiraz 's biryani and jimmy's kitchen chowmein.tho many new joints ave come. But old is still gold.edthe way you have portrait the biryani diSh.chobi demurred most of the time aamar pet bore jaye, khete pele e ki hobe bolebojhate parchina:)
    And thanks for the welcome note:)

  19. Sayantani your post on reminded me of all those eateries.golbarir kasha mangsho aar fish fry.I am amongst those probashi now who can vouch on Shiraz 's biryani and jimmy's kitchen chowmein.tho many new joints ave come. But old is still gold.edthe way you have portrait the biryani diSh.chobi demurred most of the time aamar pet bore jaye, khete pele e ki hobe bolebojhate parchina:)
    And thanks for the welcome note:)

  20. fabulous looking biryani
    do check out the event food palette series rainbow colours on my site hope you can join
    regards Akheela

  21. i love ths biryani bt need patience 2 obtain taste rightright

  22. Mouthwatering biryani and I am always ready for a bowl of it, anytime of the day.. even for breakfast! :) Time for my breakfast and would wish I could grab couple of spoons from the dish.

  23. nice clicks and very tempting..

  24. I am not from Kolkata originally but now that's my hometown and I have already made a list of the restaurants and food I want to eat when I will visit there this winter :) This biryani looks like a pro.. looks so yum!

  25. Superb presentation...I am hungry seeing ur pics dear....perfect biryani..

  26. This sounds and looks like a biryani lovers delight.

  27. Looks delicious,this one is new for me :)

  28. What a brilliant detailed recipe and you have definitely taken pains over it! The potatoes - do they need to be fried before putting them in? Because you have mentioned fried potatoes but only said to peel and halve and boil them in the recipe

  29. @Miri, yes both eggs and potatoes are to be fried till golden. add the potatoes before steaming but eggs are to be served just fried.

  30. First time here. The Biryani very tempting. Happy to follow you here for more spicy stuff!

  31. Mutton biryani looks absolutely mouthwatering, bookmarking this!

  32. Hi Sayantani..the mutton biryani looks amazing...thanks for the question refers to a Biryani do I make it or is it available in the store?


  33. @Sukrity, I use Everest biryani masala. you can try Shaan also.

  34. I landed up at your site after searching on google for a biriyani recipe which in unique to my city, the city of joy! Thank you so much for this.I followed your recipe and the output could have brought a smile in the faces of the chefs from Royal,Aminia or Arsalan. Thanks again!

  35. @Arnab, glad that you liked it Arnab. and thanks for letting me know that it came out well.

  36. Hi there fellow food-lover,

    I've only ever made Hyderabadi biryani and stumbled upon this recipe while looking for a Kolkata-style biryani that my hubby adores.Needless to say he is one among those Kolkata foodies you have mentioned.He swears by the iconic restaurants and our annual India trip starts with gluttonous plans of restaurant -hopping in Cal.
    So lovely to how talented you are :-)

  37. Replies
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  38. Ilike very much calcutta mottan briyani


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