Bake-along | biryani | Food | Main Course

Thalasherry Mutton Biryani

February 28, 2019
picture by Neenu (Mrs Foodkissed)

Something I am unassumingly proud of! Even though I am a purebred Dubai girl, I am quite proud of the fact that I hail from thalasherry and we make one of the best biryanis in the world. No Doubt!

My husband, who wasn’t a big fan of lamb before marriage has turned into someone who gets cravings every Friday for mutton biryani.

Though you do get thalasherry dum biryani in almost all Malabar restaurants, nothing beats homemade. I would rather go to eat a mandi or Mughlai biryani from a restaurant rather than eating thalasherry biryani from a restaurant, coz it doesn’t come anywhere close. Yes, I am very picky, sorry ๐Ÿ˜›

picture by Fathima (table for five)

So let us make it! Please read the recipe first before heading to make it so you have an idea as to how to go about it. It is not all that complicated, just a few steps to take care of one after the other. The recipe goes like this:

Mutton Biryani (serves 4-6)

For Ghee Rice
3 cups Jeerakashala Rice (or Basmati)
5 ½ – 6 cups liquid (mutton stock+water)
1 small onion sliced
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1-inch pc cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp Oil
2 tbsp ghee
Juice of ½ lime
Salt to taste

For mutton Masala
1 kg Mutton ( get a young lamb’s leg portion and get it cut into med size pcs)
6 large onions sliced thinly
2-inch pc ginger
1 bulb of garlic
3 large tomatoes
25 green chillies – yes it seems a lot I know, but not really.
a handful of mint and coriander leaves
1.5 tsp garam masala powder
juice of 1 lime (if not juicy and another half)
a few pieces of mixed whole spices (clove, cardamom, cinnamon)
2-3 tbsp oil
salt to taste

For garnish and layering
2T cashews fried until golden
2T raisins fried until puffed
2 medium onions thinly sliced fried until brown n crisp
Garam masala to sprinkle in between the layers
Lime juice to sprinkle in between the layers
coriander and mint leaves chopped to sprinkle in between the layers


Biryani Masala
Wash the mutton pieces really well and boil with 3 cups water and salt to taste until almost tender (3/4th cooked). If you have a pressure cooker, it does the job faster (15- 20mins). Drain the mutton pieces and reserve the stock and tidbits of fat in a beaker.
In a wok or a large non-stick skillet with high sides, heat the oil. Add the sliced onions and sauté until caramelized brown and soft. Adding salt at this stage helps the onions to soften faster.

This step takes time so please be patient and keep sauteing so it doesn’t burn. It would take around 15 mins for it to become brown and mushy. Mince the ginger, garlic and chillies in a grinder and toss them into the caramelized onions. And saute really well for a couple of mins until the rawness has gone, but be careful it doesn’t burn.

Next, chop the tomatoes finely and then add them in. Sauté for 2 -3 mins and then add the mutton pieces and toss everything together and cook the mutton further to tenderize. Cover
the pan and let it simmer on low heat for 15 mins until the rice is done. be sure to keep giving it a toss around so it doesn’t stick or burn at the bottom.

Finally, add lime juice for the extra zing and 2 pinches of garam masala and some finely chopped herbs.

For the Rice
In a large non-stick rice pot, heat oil and the ghee add some whole spices and let it infuse with the oil. Add the sliced onion followed by the rice. Roast the rice for a few mins tossing it around for the oil to distribute evenly on every grain. This is a very crucial step so don’t skip it. Now add
the hot stock and boiling water which should be double the amount as the rice. Add salt to taste, the juice of 1/2 lime and cover the pot allowing it to boil rapidly. Keep giving a stir every few mins. Once all the liquid is absorbed, simmer and let it cook for 10 mins. Check if the rice is cooked. It should be almost 3/4th of the way cooked. Be careful not to add too much water. Add 5 and 1/2 cups, then see if it is enough. If not add 1/2 cup more. The juices from the masala and the steam will cook the rice completely during the dum stage.

For the layering and dum

Preheat oven to 180C.
Remove most of the cooked rice from the pot leaving a thin even layer of rice at the bottom.
Sprinkle a few of the fried nuts, a pinch of garam masala and little herbs over it and top it with some masala.

Next comes the rice layer followed by the nuts, garam masala, herbs, a tsp of lime juice and then top with the mutton masala. Repeat the process until the top is rice and the garnish ingredients.

Cover the pot really well. You can use a sheet of aluminium foil to seal and cover with the lid of the pot. To capture the steam within.

Now bake the biryani in the oven for 20-30mins.
Serve the Biriyani hot with some pickle, chutney, poppadoms and raita, alongside some sweet lime tea.

simple ingredients that make something so delicious

Time is a key ingredient to biryani so be patient!

Note: The Ratio to masala and rice is not the same in the recipe. The masala will be more. Add the masala just to coat a thin layer along with pieces of mutton over the rice, do not add a lot. Distribute the mutton pieces everywhere so everyone gets a piece or more.
The masala can be kept in the freezer for over 2 weeks.

If you have any doubts regarding the recipe, please feel free to message me, and I will be happy to help. I hope you do try the recipe and that it turns out really well for you and you all love it!

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  1. am salivating ! Thanks for the recipe <3 . Definitely trying it very soon

  2. Hi Hiba,
    Seems like a very delicious recipe. But please a doubt for me.
    At the stage where we are boiling the mutton for the first time. Along with the mutton and water, don’t we add salt or any other ingredient in it? Do we just boil mutton in plain water until it is done 3/4th?

    Hope to get ur reply soonest.

    Much love,


    1. We add salt and water to the pressure cooker and toss in washed mutton. And cook until 3/4th of the way cooked. Around 3-4 whistles! We donโ€™t add anything else, coz we want the stock to be clear. We use that stock to cook the rice .

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