Mutton Biryani with Healthy Flax and Watermelon Seeds
In India, mutton refers to the meat of young goat. This biryani has the added goodness of flax and watermelon seeds. My finely ground garam masala has bay leaves, poppy seeds, star anise and mace in it, apart from the regular whole garam masalas such as cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, green cardamoms and black cardamom. Remember, if you are using mace flower in your garam masala, use only little, as it can be quite overpowering and may turn your dish bitter, if used in excess. I used just a petal of mace while grinding.
- Mutton pieces with bones from the front thighs, cut into medium-sized pieces: 750 g
- Curd: 500 g
- Deep-golden-fried onions in ghee: 2 cups divided
- Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
- Salt: 3.5 tsp divided
- Boiled eggs: fried in oil after being marinated with salt and little turmeric
- Finely chopped coriander leaves: ½ cup
- Finely chopped mint leaves: less than ¼ cup
- Godrej Nature’s Basket whole garam masala: 50 g roasted till aromatic and then ground very finely
- Godrej Nature’s Basket roasted flax seeds: 1.5 tsp ground finely
- Godrej Nature’s Basket watermelon seeds: 1 tbsp ground finely
- Kewra screwpine essence: 6 drops
- Saffron strands dissolved in a cup of warm milk: 1 tsp
- Basmati rice: 2 cups
- Freshly made wheat-flour dough to seal the pot
- Oil: 6 tbsp
- Ghee for brushing
- Warm water: as needed
Marinate the mutton with curd, half of the fried onions, ginger and garlic pastes and just half of the salt. Leave it aside for three hours.
Boil the basmati rice with the rest of the salt, till it is almost 60% done. Drain the water completely. Keep the rice aside.
Add the marinated mutton directly to the hot oil in a pan. Add the garam masala powder mixed with half cup of warm water and sauté for almost 45 min. Add the seed pastes and sauté for another 10 min. Add just a cup of warm water and cook covered, till the mutton is tender, adding a little extra water, if required (if the mutton is not tender).
Take a deep, non-stick pot for the biryani assembly. If the bottom is very thin, you can place a tawa or a pan first and then the main pot over the pan. This will ensure that the meat doesn’t burn at the bottom.
Brush some ghee at the inside part of the deep pot and scatter some mutton pieces evenly. Now add some cooked rice. Scatter some of the coriander and mint leaves. Sprinkle a few drops of the essence, fried onions and little saffron-infused milk. Arrange the eggs over this layer.
Spread rice over this layer now. Add some mutton and scatter some chopped leaves. Cover with rest of the cooked rice and sprinkle the rest of the saffron-milk, essence and fried onions.
Cover the pot with a lid and seal the lid with freshly made wheat-flour dough. Cook on dum for about 15–20 min.
Serve the biryani with kachumber raita, which is a mixure of curd, finely chopped cucumber, onions, red chilli powder, salt and tomatoes.