Kolkata mutton biryani recipe – how to make kolkata mutton biryani

Kolkata mutton biryani recipe -how to make mutton biryani with step by step pics. Kolkata mutton biryani is the most delectable recipe of Kolkata aka West Bengal- prepared with mutton/lamb, long grain basmati rice, potato, flavourful spices, food colour and essence. Like other Kolkata biryani recipes, it is also prepared by slow cooking in dum until the fragrance or aroma of spices and essence spreads all over the dish. Though biryani is mostly loved by all, however, this mutton biryani is most favourable to those Bengali people who are crazy about mutton, just total like me. Chaap or rezala are best to accompany this recipe, however, salad or raita are perfect sides to relish the original taste of this dish.

A unique aroma, flavourful saffron-white colour long-grain rice, juicy succulent mutton, and buttery soft aloo is the speciality of our Kolkata style biryani. A mixing flavour of Ghee, Biryani masala, kewra, gulab Jal, mitha atar and saffron creates a wonderful aroma infused in mutton and rice. Popular for this most satisfying and pleasing aroma easily carried the Bengali crowd towards this biryani. That is why, celebrating Durga Puja or a house party, Bengalis never wait to order this dish. 

In Kolkata, biryani is mostly popular as a Mughlai dish, however, it is an edition of Lucknow cuisine. That is why Lucknow biryani and Kolkata biryani are similar in taste and texture except for aloo. Just because we both are using the spices and flavors. Even except Lucknow and Kolkata, no Indian states make such non-spicy and flavourful biryani in their kitchen.

Must be thinking how Kolkata biryani is similar to Lucknow biryani, right? Do you remember about Nawab Wajid Ali Shah? The exiled Nawab of Lucknow came to Calcutta(during the British era) with his close associates and make this city in his permanent residence. And Calcutta’s Garden reach, Metiabiuruz area was Nawab Wajid Ali shah’s residence till his last breath. As a result, during his Calcutta days, their royal delicacies slowly reached out to Bengali through some eateries run by the Lucknow chefs. Bengali starts loving their total delicacies and got popular in Calcutta. In the meantime, after figuring out Bengalis love for aloo, those eateries first started adding aloo in their biryani. The addition of aloo makes our Kolkata biryani distinct from their authentic Lucknow biryani. That is how the name of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is connected to the history of our Calcutta biryani.

best homemade kolkata style mutton biryani

In our Kolkata days, Arsalan, Siraj, Rahmania(Park circus), Royal(Chitpur)Aminia, Regent(Esplanade) were our most favourite places for having their special mutton biryani with their delicious sides. Good food always energies me, and our Kolkata biryani is top of that list, so to energies myself and for pleasing my tastebuds, these restaurants were my ultimate destination on Durga Puja or any special occasion. So still whenever we visit Kolkata, must enjoy their biryani either sitting over their restaurant or having a takeaway option. However sitting far away from Kolkata, missing their delicacy, that actually drives me for making this recipe at home, just to satisfy our craving. Even, after long years of practice, finally, I make it quite close to my favourite Arsalan style taste. 

As we know, biryani takes a huge time to completion especially when cooked with mutton, but many of my readers asking for its quick and easy version of our Bengali biryani. So today I try to share my comparatively quick version of the Kolkata style mutton biryani. Which is partially cooked in a pressure cooker. Though only mutton is cooked in the pressure cooker, however, the dum style cooking method is still intact like other Kolkata biryani recipes. As without the dum method, our Kolkata biryani is just incomplete. Though for making a quick biryani recipe, multitasking is the most important, means, While soaking the rice in water, make the biryani masala, even while cooking mutton in the pressure cooker, make the rice on another stove, just like that.

If you are a mutton lover and a true fan of Kolkata biryani, then must try this recipe at home and enjoy this dish with Kolkata style chicken chaap, Chicken rezala, Bengali chicken kosha or Mutton kasha recipe.

Even you may try my other Kolkata biryani recipes too- Kolkata style chicken biryani and Kolkata style Ilish biryani.

Kolkata mutton biryani recipe – how to make Kolkata mutton biryani 

Kolkata mutton biryani is the most delectable recipe of Kolkata aka Bengal- prepared with mutton, long grain basmati rice, potato, flavourful spices, and food essence.

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 1 hrs 35 mins

Total time: 2 hrs 5 mins

Servings: 6 people

Course: Main course

Cuisine: Bengali

Author: Moumita Paul


For Marination

  • 800 gms mutton/lamb pieces
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1 1/4 tsp bengali biryani masala
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • Salt 

For cooking rice

  • 1 kg basmati rice
  • water(as required)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 cloves
  • 6-8 cardamoms
  • 4 pieces of cinnamon
  • 3 tsp of vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp of salt

For making saffron milk

  • 6 tbsp of Milk 
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 10 drops of Mitha atar
  • 3-4 drops of rose water
  • 1 1/2 tsp kewra water

Other ingredients

  • 7-8 aloo(medium size)
  • 3 finely chopped onion(for beresta)
  • 1 tsp bengali biryani masala
  • 6 – 8 tbsp of ghee
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • Salt(as required)

How to make Kolkata mutton biryani with step by step pics


How to marinate mutton

  • Clean and wash the mutton thoroughly and drain it well. Place it in a mixing bowl. Set it aside.
  • Then add 1 tsp ginger-2 tsp garlic paste, 1/2 cup of curd, 1tsp of Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 1/4 tsp of Bengali biryani masala(described in my Chicken Biryani recipe), 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 lemon juice with the mutton. Mix it well.
  • Cover the bowl with a plate and leave it for marination till other ingredients are ready.
Marinating mutton with masala step by step

How to make birista or beresta (crispy fried onion)

  • Finely slice the onion and lightly squeeze it by hand to separate the onion strips from each other.
  • Heat a pressure cooker, on high flame, make it hot, add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil along with 1/4 cup of ghee. When oil gets hot, add the onion strips to the cooker. Stir it frequently.
  • For quick caramelising add 1/2 tsp of sugar to the onion. Fry it until it gets golden and crispy.
  • Take out in a paper-lined plate to absorb the excess oil contains in fried onion. Once cools down crispy birista or beresta will be ready to use. Keep it aside.
making birista or crispy fried onion step by step an important ingredient of kolkata mutton biryani

How to cook aloo and mutton

  • Peel out the potatoes, prick it all over with a fork, smear it with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Then fry it in the same oil used in frying onion. Fry till both sides get a golden hue. Remove it from the pressure cooker and keep it aside.
preparing aloo for kolkata biryani
  • Now, first, take out 2 ladles full of oil from the cooker and keep them for later use. As the meat should be cooked just in 4-5 tbs of oil.
  • Place the marinated mutton into the oil. Stir it well and cook it in oil for 2-3 mins. Then add the fried potatoes to the cooker. Mix it well.
  • Then add 1 hand full of birista, mix it well and cook it for few more mins. When the gravy almost dries up then add 2 cups of water to the cooker. Let the gravy Strats boiling then add 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix it well.
  • Close the lid of the cooker and keep it on high flame until one whistle blows, then slow down the heat to its medium and cook the mutton for 12-15 mins. Then turn off the heat. 
Step by step making of mutton and aloo in pressure cooker for kolkata mutton biryani recipe
  • Remove the clip of the pressure cooker and wait till it releases its pressure automatically. After removing the lid, separate the aloo from the gravy and put it in another bowl. Even check the meat is perfectly cooked or not.
  • Now almost dry up the mutton gravy until it reaches its right consistency perfect for making biryani.
perfectly cooked mutton and aloo in pressure cooker

How to make rice

  • Take basmati rice, wash it 4-5 times or until its water gets clear. Soak it in water at least for 30 mins.
  • Take a wide mouth pan to fill it with water till its  3/4 are covered. Add 3 tsp of vegetable oil and 3 tsp of salt to it along with 4 bay leaves, 10 cloves, 6-8 cardamoms, 4 pieces of cinnamon. Place it on the gas stove and wait until the water starts boiling.
  • Then drain the soaked rice and put it into the pan. Cook the rice until almost 80 percent done. Immediately drain its starch and keep it aside.
making biryani rice in a step by step way

How to make saffron milk

  • Take 1/4 cup of milk, boil it and add a pinch of saffron to soak in it. Remove it in a bowl. Once the milk little cools down, rub the saffron strips with your fingertips to release its rich colour and flavour into the milk.
  • Then one by one add 3 drops of rose essence, 1 1/2 tsp of kewra water, 10 drops of mitha attar and mix it nicely. 
Making saffron milk step by step with saffron, rose water, kewra water and mitha atar must for kolkata biryani recipe

How to assemble the rice and mutton

  • Take a wide mouth heavy bottom vessel, grease its bottom and sides with 1 1/2 tbsp ghee, then place the mutton pieces in the bottom of the pan. Then add the gravy over the pieces. Spread the mutton and its gravy all over the bottom.
  • Make a thick layer of white rice to completely cover the mutton and its gravy. First, place the aloo on the first layer of rice. Then sprinkle 1/2 tsp of Bengali biryani masala, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 tbsp saffron milk, and a handful of birista.
  • Again make another thick layer with the rest of the rice, again sprinkle 1/2 tsp Bengali biryani masala(check it in my Chicken Biryani recipe), 1/2 tsp salt, rest of the saffron milk, a handful of birista, and lastly sprinkle of almost 6-8 tbsp of ghee added oil(used in making birista and frying potatoes) from the top of the rice. Close its lid. 
assemble mutton, rice, aloo, biryani masala, flavoured saffron milk, crispy fried onion and ghee for making kolkata biryani

How to make kolkata mutton biryani in dum pukhth style

Dum pukhth style is a traditional method of Awadhi cuisine which maintains few conditions like lowest heat, the sealed mouth of biryani pot or handi, and lastly place of burning charcoal on the lid of the pan. Basically, wheat or atta dough is used to seal the mouth of this pot before placing it on dum. However, I put a hot water-filled pan on the top of my biryani pot. That works the same as charcoal does in the dum pukht method, where the pot gets slow heat from both sides, from the bottom and the top.

  • Take old used tawa, make it hot in high flame, place the biryani vessel over the tawa. 
  • Put another pan( filled with hot water) on the biryani vessel.
  • After 10 mins slow down the heat to its medium. Cook it till the outer side and the lid of the vessel is enough hot that almost could not touch the vessel for more than 1 secs. That indicates your biryani is done by perfect dum. Then turn off the heat.
  • Dum pukhth style Kolkata mutton biryani is ready to serve, serve it with chaap, rezala, or kosha, or just with salad and raita. 
making dum pukhth style kolkata dum biryani step by step

Tips for making the best Kolkata style mutton biryani recipe

  • Try to use biryani cut mutton which is a quite big piece than the curry cut mutton.  
  • In Kolkata restaurants, generally big pieces of aloo are used in biryani, as I used the medium size, so I used it as a whole. However, you may use big potatoes in your recipe by cut into halves.
  • Don’t fry the onion till it gets dark brown in colour. As its frying process still goes on even after removing it from the pan. So then the dark brown onion gets darker in colour. Even it may be bitter in taste.
  • For me, when my pressure cooker blows one whistle on a high flame and 12-15 mins on a medium flame was perfect for cooking mutton and aloo. However, cooking time may vary for different brands of pressure cookers. So either you may use my process, or first, calculate the timing your pressure cooker takes to cook mutton and aloo. If your pressure cooker generally needs 2 or 3 whistles for making mutton whereas the aloo takes only one whistle. Then first make one whistle and take out the aloo when the cooker releases its pressure. Later cook the mutton with the rest of the whistles or the rest of its cooking time. 
  • Mutton gravy must be thick as shown in my recipe. Otherwise, gravy persists in the bottom of the pan and the bottom layer of rice will soak more gravy and gets soft & mushy. 
  • Old basmati rice is best for making biryani. Generally, old basmati rice comes at a high price in the market. And the shopkeeper will advise taking the best quality basmati rice which charges high. However, for making biryani I prefer to choose the second-best quality available in the market. That is not high in price even it matches my criteria of old long-grain rice.
  • Comparatively, the new basmati rice has a sticky starch, is cooked in very little time and need to add more water. So need to handle it more carefully and don’t keep it unattended. If more water requires boiling, then must use hot water.
  • If the rice or aloo get overcooked then you may keep it in the refrigerator for a minimum of half an hour. But don’t use the mushy rice or potato in this recipe, as mushy rice and potatoes will spoil their taste.
  • While making rice, must use vegetable oil to get each grain of rice separated from each other. And must use salt too as rice soaked it while cooking and never taste bland.
  • Here I made two-layer of rice but you may apply 3 to 4 layers as per the size of your pan. As I used 1 tsp of biryani masala for 1 kg rice. So divide the portions of biryani masala according to the number of layers. Otherwise, the portion of masala will be more and spoil the taste of this dish. 
  • Though kabab Chini, shahi jeera both are important masalas for making bengali biryani recipes. However, if not available, just skip it. Even you may use black pepper instead of white pepper but all garam masala including jaitri and jaiphal must be in the same amount used in making my Bengali biryani masala. 
  • Instead of a hot water-filled pan, put a cloth on the mouth of the biryani vessel to prevent the air from coming out of the pan during dum. 
  • Take a heavy bottom pan for making the biryani in dum, even timing will depend on the thickness of the pan. This means, because of less thickness, dum will be finished in less time than me. But avoid using the steel pan or cast iron pan, during dum, rice and meat may stick to the bottom.
  • Keep the excess amount of biryani masala in an airtight container for future use.

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