Chettinad Mutton Biryani – Goat Biryani

Absolutely delicious and refreshing biryani…

Goat meat is known as mutton in India, mutton is more popular than lamb there. However, in North America lamb is more popular, it’s very hard to find really good mutton over here. Well, I am not a huge fan of mutton and lamb, I don’t like the smell that is imparted from the meat. For this reason, I seldom cook mutton. When I visited my parents in India last year, my mom had made a few dishes with mutton and it tasted fabulous. In my hometown (Kerala) we get really fresh mutton and so it tastes really good without that intense smell.

Last weekend, I got an intense craving for mutton biryani and so I searched for good mutton in my city. To my surprise, one of the meat stores carried good mutton and I happily bought a few pounds.

On the other hand, I’d been researching about Chettinad cuisine lately. As always, I google searched and many blogs and websites lined up. I was looking for the best so my search continued and finally stumbled upon this blog: Solai’s True Chettinad Kitchen, the name says it all, this blog only has Chettinad recipes and is written by an authentic Chettinad lady. What more do I need?

Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu and they are popular for their spicy and flavorful cuisine. I’d tried a couple of Chettinad chicken dishes at a restaurant in the US a few years ago, and I tell ya that didn’t taste that authentic. I think I should visit Chettinad sometime to taste all the delicacies. However, from the research I get the feel that Chettinad cuisine is very similar to Kerala cuisine; both are flavorful, spicy and coconut is used for making most of the dishes.

Now that I bought mutton, I wanted to make biryani quite differently, so my choice was Chettinad style. I would say Chettinad preparation style is quite similar to how I make biryani: first cooking the mutton, then making the masala and finally cooking the rice in the meat stock. In this recipe, fennel seeds are used instead of ground fennel which makes the biryani more aromatic. Also, mint leaves are made into ground paste along with other ingredients and is added while cooking the masala. Mint leaves impart the refreshing aroma and taste to this biryani. Anyway, I loved the taste of this biryani so much.

Recipe Source, click here (I adjusted the spice level according to my needs and also increased the amount of rice).

For more delicious Biryani Recipes, click here.

Chettinad-Mutton Biryani

Preparation Pictures

Marinated Mutton

marinated mutton

Cooked Mutton with the stock


Cooked mutton separated from the stock or gravy

cooked mutton

Cooking Masala

cooking mutton

Roasting Rice

roasting rice

Cooked Mutton Biryani

making chettinad mutton biryani

Chettinad Mutton Biryani - Goat Biryani
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: India
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 People
For marinating Mutton
  • Mutton or Goat meat, leg pieces- 1 lb or ½ Kg
  • Chili powder- 1½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Ginger-Garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Salt- to taste
To grind into coarse paste
  • Red dry chili- 1
  • Green chili- 1
  • Small onions, chopped- 5, large sized
  • Garlic, chopped- 2, large cloves
  • Ginger, chopped- 1 inch slice
  • Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
  • Cloves-2
  • Cardamom- 2
  • Cinnamon- 1 inch slice
  • Mint leaves- 1 handful
For making the masala
  • Oil- 1½ tbsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
  • Cloves-2
  • Cardamom-2
  • Cinnamon- 1 inch slice
  • Bay leaf- 2
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Onions, chopped- 2, large ones
  • Tomato, chopped- 1, large
  • Yogurt- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
For cooking rice
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Basmati rice- 2 cups ( I used Kaima basmati rice which is small in size)
  • Mutton stock separated from the cooked mutton
  • Water
  • Salt- to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped- 1 handful
Cooking Mutton
  1. Clean the mutton really well under running water.
  2. If the mutton has very sharp smell, clean it by adding ½ tsp turmeric powder and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mutton with the above mentioned ingredients "for marinating mutton". Keep aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Place a pressure cooker over medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil.
  5. Add the marinated mutton and saute for a few minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups of water and close the cooker. Place the whistle and cook for 20 minutes or until 3 to 4 whistles as mutton takes a little longer to cook. Do not over cook.
  7. Let the pressure subside and open the lid.
  8. Drain the mutton stock into a bowl, keep the cooked mutton and stock aside.
  9. While the mutton is cooking, you could grind the above mentioned ingredients "to grind into a coarse paste" and keep aside.
  10. Soak the basmati rice in water for 10 minutes.
  11. After 10 minutes, drain the water from the rice.
  12. Place a pan over medium heat, add ghee and let it melt.
  13. Add the basmati rice and roast it for 5 minutes. Keep aside the roasted rice.
Making the Mutton Masala
  1. Place the cooker over medium heat. Add 1½ tbsp oil.
  2. Add fennel seeds, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, bay leaves and curry leaves, saute till aromatic.
  3. Add onions, sprinkle a few pinches of salt. Saute the onions till it starts to turn golden in color.
  4. Add tomatoes, saute till mashed up.
  5. Add the ground paste and saute for a few minutes till the raw smell of the paste goes away.
  6. Add yogurt, combine well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the cooked mutton, combine well.
  8. Now, add the mutton stock to a liquid measuring cup (it was around 2½ cups for me), to that add 1¼ cups of water. The mutton masala will have some liquid so we need to consider that as well- so add ¼ cup less water to the mutton stock.
  9. For 2 cups rice we need 4 cups of water.
  10. Add the mutton stock and water to the pressure cooker.
  11. Let the liquid come to a boil.
  12. Taste and add salt to taste.
  13. If you want the biryani more spicy, add 1 tsp of chili powder at this point and combine well.
  14. Add the rice, combine well, close the pressure cooker and place the whistle.
  15. Cook at medium heat for only 10 minutes.
  16. Let the pressure subside, open the cooker.
  17. If you think there is still water, you could cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes.
  18. If not, garnish the biryani with chopped cilantro, close the cooker and let rest for sometime, the rice will absorb all the moisture and will be set after 15 minutes.
  19. If you want you could garnish the biryani with fried onions, roasted cashew nuts, raisins etc.
  20. Combine the rice with the mutton pieces and serve on a plate.
  21. This can be served with yogurt raita, pickle, pappad etc.
Replace Mutton with lamb, chicken or beef.


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