Kolkata Style Exotic Mutton Biriyani

Biriyani is not very common in our house since my parents are not a big fan of biriyani.We used to have it occasionally(In function or marriage ceremony).But after moving to Hyderabad ‘The land of Biriyani ‘ I realized how important biriyani can be!!!People are here literally crazy for biriyani.If you offer biriyani they are ready to consume it any time.To be honest at first I didn’t like Hyderabadi biriyani much but slowly slowly I get used to it.Now I like it.however there is no comparison between Hyderabadi biriyani and Kolkata Biriyani.Because both are quite unique and different in terms of taste.Kolkata biriyani is much more mild and lighter but in hyderabadi biriyani spices are more dominant and it’s quite rich.

Preparing Biriyani was not at all in my list.But during my recent visit to my hometown my father in law asked me weather I can prepare Biriyani or not??He loves biriyani so I don’t want to disappoint him and as a result I said yes I can.(Whenever I visit to my in laws place at least one special dish I cook for them.Rest of the time I sleep,eat and relax.☺). Immediately I decided to ask the recipe to my one and lovely Didi (my elder sister) who is an expert in Biriyani making.She loves biriyani as a result she prepares it quite often. She described me the total recipe and making process in very simple way.I followed her exact instructions and the result was awesome.However I faced some difficulty because making any dish within your comfort zone or in your kitchen is always easy.And the biggest challenge which I faced was cooking 2.5kg Mutton biriyani ( 1.5kg mutton and 1kg rice  )that to in a handi.Yes you hard me right.That to I never ever cooked mutton.But somehow I managed to do it and a big Thanks to my Didi who guided me throughout the process (over phone).So after coming back to Hyderabad I decided to recreate the dish on the occasion of Bengali new year and this time I cooked with less quantity and used pressure cooker.So everything was quite easy for me to manage.I have planed an exotic meal which includes Kolkata style Mutton Biriyani,Mutton curry followed by onion raita and Misthi doi.

Now coming to Kolkata Style Biriyani
According to wiki:Kolkata biryani evolved from the Lucknow style. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was exiled in 1856 to the Kolkata suburb of Metiabruz. Shah brought his personal chef with him. The poorer households of Kolkata, which could not afford meat, used potatoes instead, which went on to become a specialty of the Calcutta biryani. The Calcutta biryani primarily uses potatoes and eggs.

So lets start Kolkata style Biriyani recipe,which is adapted from my sister’s kitchen.The recipe is little different as per our taste.Due to lack of time I have not added boiled eggs perhaps you can add.The process of making biriyani is bit tedious but totally worth it.I have mentioned everything in detailed step as a result the whole process seems little lengthy.
So let’s start the recipe with step pictures.For better understanding I have divided the process into few steps…

Ingredients for Biryani Spices:

Green cardamom: 6-7
Black cardamom: 1
Cloves: 1 tsp
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Mace: 1 floret
Nutmeg: ¼
Star anise: 1
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Black peppercorn: 1 tsp


  • Take a tava and dry roast all the above spices.I would advice to dry roast the spices individually rather dry roasting them all together.
  • After dry roasting grind the spices (by using mixer grinder or Mortar and Pestle)to make a powder.
  • Now your Biriyani Masala is ready.

If you want an easier option then buy packet of good Biriyani Masala.Everest Biriyani Masala is quite good so you can go for that too.

Ingredients for the Mutton:

Mutton (with bone): 500g
Thick curd: 4-5 tbsp
Crushed garlic: 1 tbsp
Grated ginger: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder:1 tsp(1/2 for marinade and 1/2 for cooking
3 onion(2 grated onion,1 finely chopped onion)
1 green chilli(cut into half)
1 finely chopped tomato
salt to taste
jeera/cumin seed:1/3 tsp
Bay leaf:2 pieces
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Red chili powder: 1 tsp
Biryani masala: 1 tbsp
2 tbsp refined oil
I have made mutton curry and mutton biriyani with 500 gms of mutton.But in case you don’t want to make the mutton curry then you can use the total pieces for biriyani.

Marinade the Mutton:

Take a large bowl add curd,1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt.Mix the ingredients and add mutton to it.

Coat each piece well.

Keep aside for 30-40 minute.

Cooking the Mutton:
Heat oil in a wok and jeera and bay leaf.

Now add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute.

Then add the finely chopped onion and fry till golden brown.

Now add grated onion and fry till it cooks.

Lastly add chopped tomato and green chilli and saute for 3-4 minutes till the tomato release the juices.

Add the marinated mutton and continue frying on medium flame.

Add remaining turmeric powder,red chilli power and coriander powder,Biriyani masala and salt and mix all the ingredients properly.

Cook the mutton 10-15 minutes.

After that put the mutton in pressure cooker and add little of water.(1/2 cup approximately) and cook till it becomes tender.

  • Note:
  • You can cook the mutton in wok but it will take a lot of time.So to save time I have chosen pressure cooker option.
    When the mutton becomes tender enough then take them out from pressure cooker and keep aside.
  • In this stage I have divided half of the mutton for biriyani and took the half for mutton curry.

Frying the potato:

4 potato cut into half’s(2 for Biriyani and 2 for mutton curry)
salt to taste
Turmeric powder:1/3tsp

Take a wok and heat oil in it.
Add the half potatoes and fry the potato for 3-4 minutes in high flame.
Add salt and turmeric power to it.
Now cover the potato and fry them on medium heat till it become cooked.
Fry them until potato and mutton are almost done.

Biryani Rice:

Basmati rice: 2 cups(250gms)
Bay leaves: 1
Green cardamom: 2-3
Cinnamon: 1” x 2
Mace: 1 floret
Nutmeg: ¼
Lemon Juice of 1 lemon
Salt: 1 tsp
Water: 4 cups
Wash and clean the rice and soak for 20-30 mins.

Bring water to boil.Add the spices, salt,lemon juice and add rice and  cook until rice is 70-75 % done.

Drain water and spread the rice on a flat surface. Discard the bay leaves.

Others Ingredients:
Onion: 1 large(Finely chopped)
Potato: 2, medium
Saffron strands: 15-20
Warm milk: ⅓ cup
Ghee( clarified butter): 1-2 tbsp
Handful of freshly chopped coriander leaf
Fresh pudina leaf:10-12

Final Step:

Assembling the Biryani:

Soak the saffron strands in warm milk and keep aside for 5 minutes. Rub the strands in milk to dissolve them completely.

Now take a heavy bottom pan or handi or pressure cooker and arrange the rice, gravy, mutton, potato in layers .

Add 1 tbsp of ghee in the pan/handi/pressure cooker and add freshly chopped coriander and pudina leaves.

Now add the aromatic rice and put the cooked mutton in between and add cooked potato.

After each layer sprinkle  saffron infused milk, biryani masala and finally melted ghee.
Create another layer by following same pattern until you are done.

Cover the pot.If you are using pressure cooker then just cover it with with lid.But don’t close the lid.

Cook it for 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Switch off the flame and check it once.
Serve hot with chicken chap,Mutton curry,Mutton kosa or raita.


  • Generally the rice is flavored with ketaki water or rose water along with saffron to give it flavor and light yellowish colour.But I have not used ketaki water or rose water as I don’t like it.But you can use it if you want.
  • If you are using handi then you can put banana leaf or aluminum foil at the bottom to avoid sticking or burning the rice.Apply little oil to the banana leaf or aluminum foil and then start the layering process.

  • For the Mutton curry I have separated few mutton pieces and add fried potato in it.Then I cooked with little water and garnish with coriander leaves.

  • For the onion raita:Take curd in a bowl and add chopped onion,chopped green chillies and freshly chopped coriander leaves and mix it.Then add salt,cumin powder(freshly grounded preferable),red chilli powder and little sugar(optional) and mix all the ingredients properly.

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