Nawabi Mutton dum biryani

Nawabi Mutton dum biryani is a one pot dish which is made by cooking meat and rice together with nuts and dry fruits on a slow flame. Nawabi lamb/ Mutton dum Biryani (gosht ki dum biryani), I prepared this for eid- ul -fitr, with nuts and dry fruits. In this, Nawabi mutton dum Biryani, the marinate is easy and I prepared a fragrant and flavoured stock for rice, so that rice absorbs all the flavour and whole spices wont disturb us while eating. I have prepared this lamb biryani as per my taste and with my home made biryani masala. The lamb biryani is full of flavour when cooked with home made biryani masala. The method I used for this lamb biryani is kacche gosht ki biryani style. This means that the meat is marinated with spices, and then half cooked rice layered over marinated meat and cooked on slow flame for 30 to 45 mins depending upon the quantity used. Kacche gosht ki biryani is easy if we cook the rice rightly and leave for dum for the appropriate time.

Dum means simmering or slow cooking process. The lid is sealed over the biryani vessel with wheat dough tightly. You can view in one of my biryani recipe or as a easy process, just close it with a cloth or aluminium foil and then put the lid on tightly. In the marriages, the biryani is cooked on firewood in big vessels, put off the fire and then the hot charcoal is used for dum. Some charcoal is also put on top of the biryani vessel to ensure heat is provided from both top and bottom, which will cook the biryani more evenly. Biryani vessel is sealed with the lid by using wheat dough and then dum is given on a low flame. But at home we can adopt easy process like closing the lid and keeping it inside the oven for dum. You can also give dum in a rice cooker or place a chapathi tava below the biryani vessel to provide heat from the bottom and placing boiling hot water on the top for heat from above, so that the biryani cooks more evenly.

In this Nawabi lamb/mutton dum biryani, I have used 800 gms of lamb/mutton and 500 gms of rice, which is more of meat and less of rice. You can use equal quantity also. The meat I have used is spring lamb, which is tender and gets cooked easily. My butcher sells good quality meat and good quality meat is very much essential for a good biryani.

Serve this Nawabi lamb/Mutton biryani with raitha (yoghurt mixture) or brinjal curry (brinjal pacchadi or yennai kathirikkai (in Tamil)), chicken fry or chicken 65. In Chennai, we serve like this in our home.

Preparation time: 45 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cuisine: North Indian

Serves: 4 to 5

Spiciness: Medium



  • Mutton – 800gms with bones, (medium size)
  • Curd – 11/2cup
  • Chilli powder – 3tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1tsp
  • Biryani masala – 2tsp
  • Ginger garlic paste – 2tbsp
  • Garam masala – 1tsp
  • Frying onion

  • Oil – 3/4th cup
  • Onion – 450gms or 4 big
  • For cooking rice

  • Rice – 500 gms
  • Water 2litres
  • Black cumin or dill seeds – 1tsp
  • Black cardamom – 1
  • Star anise – 2
  • Green cardamom – 10
  • Cloves – 10
  • Cinnamon stick – 2(1inch)
  • Mace – 1flower
  • Black pepper seeds -1tsp
  • Additional ingredients/garnishing

  • Coriander leaves – 10gms or handful
  • mint – 10gms or handful , chopped
  • Cashew – 15
  • Badam - 15
  • Raisins - 2tbsp
  • Ghee - 2tbsp
  • Yellow colour – a pinch
  • Rose water or kewra water – 4tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 4tbsp
  • Green chillies – 2(chopped)


  • Slice onion; chop mint and coriander leaves finely or in a food processor.
  • Soak almonds in hot water for 30minutes, peel the skin, chop or slice and keep it aside.
  • Chop or slice cashew nuts, keep it ready.
  • Take a small pan or vessel, heat ghee 1tbsp , when hot add cashew nuts and almonds and raisins, roast until raisin swells up and nuts are golden colour, keep it aside.
  • There are four stages to cook the nawabi mutton biryani.
    1. Marination
    2. Cooking rice
    3. Layering
    4. Dum


  • First put all the ingredients in a big vessel or any bowl add all the ingredients and mix it well. Then add mutton pieces and mix well and marinate for 4hrs to overnight in the fridge.
  • In the marinate if you want can add the ½ or 50% of fried onions and mix it, if onions are fried in advance, but in this I have not added in the marinate. The pieces of mutton should be in medium size not very big.
  • Frying the onions

  • Take a big utensil and add oil. When it gets hot add bay leaves and stir it. Then add onions and fry until it is soft and brown. It will take about 15-20 mins. Stir the onion in between for even colour of the onions. You can close the lid and cook.
  • When it is cooked, switch off. Keep the onions ready. In while cook the rice.
  • Cooking rice

  • Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hr. drain and keep it aside.
  • Add 1500litres of water to a wider vessel for preparing stock: add all the spices in the water , boil for 5min and simmer for 15min, by closing the lid. Switch off; the stock will be like tea decaution colour or light brown colour.
  • Drain the water, the stock is ready.
  • Boil the stock, when boil comes, add rice and required amount of salt.
  • Boil for about 4 to 5 mins only. The rice has to be cooked roughly about 50%. Drain the rice and rinse under cold tap water to stop further cooking.
  • while boiling, do not stir very often as the grains may break. The grains will be longer after cooking, but still raw.
  • Put the rice in the wider bowl, add mint, coriander leaves, remaining fried onions(save some fried onions to put on the marinated meat), fried nuts and raisins, yellow or lime colour, rose water add all the garnishing ingredients except lemon juice, green chillies and ghee, mix with the rice, without breaking it. Mix it partly so that white rice is still seen. Keep it aside.
  • Layering (mixing marinate and rice)

  • Add the marinated meat in the same vessel in which onions were cooked, add 50% or ½ of fried onions, mix with the meat. Heat the vessel, keep it at simmer flame.
  • Sprinkle again few fried onions evenly on the marinated meat, add the rice on the marinated meat. Spread evenly on the heated marinated mutton.
  • Sprinkle few chopped green chillies, lemon juice and ghee on top evenly.
  • Dum process

  • After the layering is done, keeps the flame to high for about 5 mins until you see some steam coming from the corners below the rice.
  • Now immediately put the flame to simmer and then cover the biryani vessel with aluminium foil and close the lid tightly or with wheat dough. After closing the lid, put the flame to high for 5min, then medium flame for 10 and lower the flame 15 min.
  • The sign of whether the biryani is cooked and ready is when you can smell its aroma from the nearby rooms.
  • Switch off and let it rest for 15 mins. Do not open the lid immediately because the steam inside the vessel will continue to cook the biryani.
  • When the biryani is cooked, you need to be careful while serving. Take the biryani out with a wide spoon or a saucer slowly from one side to prevent the rice grains from breaking.
  • Serve it with raitha or mirchi ka saalan (chilli curry) or brinjal curry (chutney) or with chicken 65 as a side dish.


  • Instead of putting whole spices in water for the rice, you can put in a muslin cloth, tie and boil and then just remove the muslin cloth.
  • Rice should be only 50% cooked. While cooking the rice you can add a few drops of oil or vinegar and while draining wash it under cold water. This will keep the rice grains all nice and separated.
  • Rice has to be cooked in advance and kept aside, readily available for layering.
  • You can buy ready made good quality biryani masala. If you want to make it yourself, refer to my biryani masala recipe.
  • Add salt carefully for the marinade and rice. Divide the salt quantity to portions and add as it will be easier this way and will not risk adding more salt.
  • Mix colour with 2 tbsp of water or milk and then add to the rice. Alternatively, you can..

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