Mughlai gosht biryani

Mughlai biryani is a special biryani, which you can make on special occasions. Mughlai biryani is different from my other biryani recipes and tastes different and delicious. Mughlai biryani – the name itself suggests that it belongs to the Mughlai cuisine, which comes from the cuisine of Mughal kingdom and is popular in northern India. The Mughlai cuisine is generally mild in taste, full of aroma and rich ingredients like nuts, dry fruits, clarified butter, saffron and cream. In this Mughlai biryani, I have used almonds (badam), saffron threads (kesar), ghee (clarified butter), single cream and ofcourse spices to make my biryani more rich and tasty. In this Mughlai biryani I have used spring lamb meat, which is tender and gets cooked easily. The cooking method I adopted is pakki biryani style – that is cooking the meat and rice and then giving dum.

Preparation time: 45 mins

Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins

Cuisine: Mughlai

Serves: 5

Spiciness: Mild


  • Oil/Ghee – 3/4 cup
  • For Gravy

  • Onions – 400 gms
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  • Mutton – 700 gms
  • Water – 1 1/2 cup
  • Green chillies (slit) – 6
  • Curd – 1 cup
  • Mint – 15 gms
  • Coriander leaves (chopped finely) – 20 gms
  • Kesar (saffron threads) – a big pinch
  • Single cream – 1/2 cup
  • Whole spices:

  • Cumin seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Black Cardamom – 3
  • Green Cardamom – 5
  • Cloves – 7
  • Cinnamon stick – 2 (2 inch size)
  • For Paste

  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Badam (almonds) – 15
  • Water – 1/3 cup
  • For Layering and garnishing

  • Coriander leaves – few
  • Mint leaves – few
  • Ghee – 3 tbsp
  • Biryani colour (saffron) – a pinch
  • Fried onions
  • Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
  • Almonds (sliced or chopped) – 10
  • For cooking rice

  • Rice – 500 gms
  • Water – 2 litres or as required
  • Salt – as required


  • First slice the onions and keep it aside.
  • Soak almonds in hot water for sometime. This will make the peeling easy and the skin will come off very easily. Keep the skinless almonds aside.
  • Grind almonds, turmeric powder and chilli powder with water to a fine paste. Keep the paste aside.
  • If you want, you can soak saffron in 2 tbsp of luke warm milk. But I have just used it directly in the curry/gravy.
  • There are 4 stages for cooking Mughlai biryani.

    a. Cooking gravy with mutton

    b. Cooking rice

    c. Mixing gravy and rice (Layering)

    d. Dum

    Cooking gravy with mutton

  • Take a big utensil and add oil. When it gets hot, add onions and fry until it is soft and brown. It will take about 10 – 12 mins. You can close the lid and cook.
  • When the onions are cooked well, take all the onions and keep it aside. Keep 1/4th of the fried onions for layering/garnishing.
  • Add whole spices and mutton pieces in a same vessel and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic paste, mix well with mutton. Keep stirring for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the almond paste, curd and 1 cup of water and mix well
  • Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then lower the flame and cook for a further 15 minutes. Close the lid and cook. Stir occasionally.
  • Add green chillies, mint, coriander, 3/4th of the fried onions, saffron threads and salt as required. Mix well and let it cook for about 5 minutes on a medium flame until you get a good curry consistency.
  • Add cream and 1/2 cup water, mix well. Cook for 4-5 mins on medium flame. Simmer for a further 10-12 mins with the lid closed. You should now see that the oil starts to float on the gravy, which indiacates that the gravy is done.
  • In the meantime, you can cook the rice. The rice can also be cooked in advance.
  • Cooking rice

  • Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hr.
  • When the water starts boiling, add rice and salt. Boil for about 6 to 7 mins only. The rice has to be cooked about 80%. Rinse under cold tap water to stop further cooking.
  • While boiling, do not stir very often as the grains may break. The grains after cooking will be longer, but still raw.
  • Mixing gravy and rice (Layering)

  • As soon as the rice is cooked, add all the garnishing ingredients except ghee and lemon juice to the rice. Mix it partly so that some white rice is still seen. Add this rice to the lamb curry and spread evenly. Do this in the vessel in which you are going to cook the final biryani (dum).
  • Drizzle ghee (clarified butter) and lemon juice evenly on top of the rice.
  • Dum

  • Heat the vessel in which you have layered the biryani for 5 mins or until you see a little steam escaping from the sides. Alternatively just keep your hand near the rice to check whether it is getting hot or not.
  • If you are able to see some steam, from that point onwards cook for about 4 mins on medium heat with the lid quickly closed with aluminium foil (to seal the steam from escaping). Simmer for about 15-20 mins. Switch off and let it rest for about 15-20 mins. Do not open in the middle. As soon as the Mughlai biryani is ready you can smell its aroma in your near rooms to the kitchen.
  • If the bottom of your utensil is thick, the rice will not burn. But if its not, don’t worry. You can just keep a thick pan or tawa below the utensil and then cook the rice on simmer.
  • 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 with raitha or brinjal curry and boiled eggs or any side dish you like.


  • Rice should be only 3/4 cooked. The rice grain might have become longer than its usual size, but when pressed using thumb you should feel that the rice is not cooked fully. While cooking the rice you can add a few drops of oil or vinegar. While draining wash it under cold water. These will help keep the rice grains separate.
  • The quantity of gravy should be such that it is enough for the rice when you mix it. Adjust the amount of rice or gravy to get the mix of your liking.
  • If you want to reduce the oil/ghee, then go ahead and reduce it. It is your wish. But the onions have to be roasted in oil or ghee well.
  • Add salt carefully to the gravy and rice. Divide the salt quantity and use. This will be easy for you.
  • Mix saffron with 2 tbsp of water or milk and add to the rice. Food colour can be used instead of saffron. Saffron can also be sprinkled directly on the biryani. You can sprinkle a few tablespoons of ghee at last. It is your wish.
  • For biryani you can maintain from 2:1 to 1:1 ratio for mutton and rice. For example, you can use 500 gms to 1 kg of mutton for 500 gms of rice. You need to adjust the spices appropriately.
  • In this Mughlai biryani you can do layering or just add rice and other ingredients to the gravy as we do in dum biryani.
  • If you want layers in biryani, then take out some mutton with gravy and keep it aside. First put some gravy with mutton pieces, then rice, then few fried onions. Then again gravy with mutton pieces, then all remaining rice and other ingredients for layering. Simmer.

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