Lucknowi Mutton Biriyani or Mutton Pulao

Lucknowi Mutton Biriyani or Mutton Pulao

Luknowi Mutton Biriyani or Mutton Pulao

Interestingly , In Lucknow there is nothing like Biriyani !!! Biriyani is synonymous with “Pulao”, in Luknow , this is pulao !!!! But in other parts of India , Pulao is something where rice and meat are cooked together , at the same time , in the same vessel , lacking the grandeur and glory of that of “Biriyani”. So in present days , the term “Biriyani” is being included or more specifically intruded in the culinary dictionary of Lucknow so as not to confuse the Lucknowi delicacy with that of the “Pulao” pf other regions !!!

Luknow !!! The historical city of secrets and mysteries !!! The Luknowi cuisins , though a variant of Mughlai cuisins ,are so subtle in taste but so flavorful , so refined yet so elegant . Lots of secret ingredients made the whole gharana mysterious to others . The Sub-continent owe a lot to the dastarkhan of the Nawabs , no doubt !!! My studies about Luknowi/ Awadhi cuisine found a great influence of the gharana on many cuisines of Bangladesh , may be because of the fact ,the last Nawab of Awadh , Wajed Ali Khan was being exiled in Bengal !!!!! He did not forget to bring the main chefs of his kitchen with him !!! No wonder , the Nawabs were the greatest foodie ever !!!
The main characteristics of Luknowi biriyani are ,
1. The biriyani is the pakki biriyani , that is the meat is cooked before and the stock or Yakhni is kept aside . No powdered garam masala , no mint or cilantro , no tomato . Keora or screw pinewater along with saffron is essential .

2. The rice is cooked in the Yakhni or stock with ghee .

3. The layering of meat and rice and then the pot is sealed with a flour dough and will be kept in steam , the process known as “Dumpukht” .

Here you go with Luknowi Mutton biriyani !!! Though fine quality basmati rice is supposed to be used in the recipe , I preferred our very own Kalijeera or chinigura chaal for it’s unique and distinct flavor !!! I have never found such an aromatic varieties of rice anywhere !!

Ingredients :

1 kg of mutton ( try to take the tender parts with bones )
4 Cups Of Aromatic rice like Basmati / kalojeera/ chinagura
2 potatoes , cut in big chunk

For the Yakhni/ stock :

Masala/ spices for the stock:

2 black cardamom
9/10 green cardamom
2 sticks of 2 inches cinnamon
2 star anise
1 and half tea spoon of black pepper
9/10 cloves
1 teaspoon fennel
1 tea spoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of black cumin/ sha-jeera
1 teaspoon of mace/ javetri
2 bayleaves
Ginger chopped 2 and half tbl spoon
Garlic Chopeed 1 tbl spoon

For the gravy :

1/2 (half) cup yogurt
1 tbl spoon Ginger
2 teaspoon garlic
3/4 th cup fried onion Bereshta
1 tea spoon red chili powder
1 bayleaf
4/5 green cardamom
1 stick of 2 inches long cinnamon
Black pepper
5/6 cloves
1 tea spoon mace / javetri ( dry roasted and broken by hands)
1/2 (half) teaspoon of nutmeg
Cream or Milk, 200 ml ( three-fourth cup)
Sugar ( aound 1 teaspoon , heaped)
9/10 Whole green chilies

For the rice :

6 cups of stock , prepared by the mutton
1 small stick of cinnamon , 1 small black cardamom and 1 small star anise
Salt to taste
Ghee less than half cup ( If you are using non-stick utensil , take less, just enough that the rice is well coated with the ghee and there is no extra ghee)

Other ingredients:

Fried onion or bereshta
Whole green chilies 5/6
Saffron or zafran soaked in milk
Dried plum/ alubokhara
Keora water


1. Soak rice in water . In a cheese cloth put everything mentioned for stock, except salt. Now tie up the cloth like a parcel and put it in a pot filled with 14 cups of Warm water. Put the mutton pieces don’t add salt now . Let it boil and add the salt just 5 minutes before you turn off the stove , till the mutton are three-fourths done .Reduce the stock to 8 cups. Don’t take out the masala bundle while doing so.

2. Now , the gravy part . Blend the yogurt with fried onion or bereshta . Heat ghee , fry the whole garam masala for a while .Add ginger-garlic paste and red chili powder. Add the blended yogurt and cook for a while . Add the mutton , keep cooking on a medium low flame . Now add 2 cups of stock from the prepared stock . Reserve remaining 6 cups for the rice . Check the salt , add a little bit , since the stock has the salt too .Add the potatoes chunk . Careful , the potatoes must not be fully done . Just 70 % or so otherwise it will be mashed in the biriyani while the biriyani will be on “Dam” .When the gravy reduced a bit , add the cream or milk, mace and nutmeg powder and handful of whole green chilies . There must be 1 cup of gravy in the mutton .

3. Put ghee in a pot . Drain out the water from the rice and add into the ghee . Add 6 cups of stock . Add the cinnamon stick. black cardamom , star anise . Add salt, but careful , the stock has salt too . So Adjust the salt . Cover the lid and cook on medium flame . Don’t stir. When the water is completely dried out , turn off the stove . The rice would look like 80% done.

4. Now the layering part . Take a pot , first layer with the mutton with gravy . Put some whole green chilies , alubokhara , raisins over the mutton . Layer now with the rice . Cover it with fried onion , bereshta . Add saffron , ghee , around 2 tbl spoon and sprinkle good amount of keora . Cover the lid tightly and keep it on “dum” for another 30 minutes. It is better to seal with a dough made with atta , but what I did , I put a heavy object on the lid so as to create the “Dumpakht” effect . 🙂
For “Dum” , I always follow double boiler method . Put your biriyani pot over another same sized pot filled with water . Turn on the stove on medium flame. The steam will do the wonder . Those who will put it in the oven , cover the lid tightly or wrap with double layer of aluminium foil .In a bake mode , keep it in the preheated oven for 20/ 25 minutes at 350 FH.

Serve hot with kabab and salad or raita .


13 responses to “Lucknowi Mutton Biriyani or Mutton Pulao

  1. Hello Khadiza… I am from Kolkata. I came across your website while looking for morog pulao. I went through many recipes & I found yours the best. I followed your method of boiling rice for biriyani when I made egg biriyani & it was a success. Now I am not afraid of preparing biriyani as I always found boiling of rice the most difficult part. I hope one day you will show Kolkata style biriyani. Didi if I prepare Lucknowi biriyani with chicken what would be the cooking time for boiling chicken for chicken stock??

  2. This looks delicious. I’ve been wanting to make pulao for a long time, but it takes so much time! I need a free afternoon, but it’s so worth the effort. Yours looks beautiful. Interesting history and distinctions. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Shudur Rush deshe bosiya ihar shughran paitechi apu:))

  4. sandeepa sengupta

    Hi didi!! remember I am the one who requested for Kolkata style mutton biriyani, so when i saw your Lucknowi Pulao I thought why not give it a try as I have heard Kolkata Biriyani is influenced by awadhi style of making biriyani. So I invited our bong friend who along with my husband are die hard fans of Kolkata Biriyani.Except making few changes I exactly followed your recipe. I omitted dry fruits as that is not added in Kolkata’s biriyani & added few drops of kewra to mutton after cooking it separately. Voila…..I got my Kolkata Biriyani & those two men could not stop raving…thanx didi. Waiting to try out more recipes from your website. I would suggest you to make videos & post it on youtube. It would be like cooking class for us…

  5. Thanks Khadiza. I’m making this pulao for the second time today. My family loved it the first time. This pulao has so many childhood memories for me.

  6. Parveen Humayun

    I like your recipe and would love to try out soon for my family….thanx.

  7. Your biryani has become a regular feature in our kitchen now.
    Perviously I was afraid to attempt this cook, but I have grown in confidence. It tastes delicious and so worth the effort, my wife and my in laws crazy about it. Thanks a ton.

  8. Plz u can send me biryani recipe in hindi on my own mail id

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