Hyderabadi mutton dum biryani

Hyderabadi lamb/mutton dum biryani is a very famous and imperial dish among the rice dishes. Hyderabadi lamb/mutton dum biryani is a one pot dish which is made by cooking meat and rice together on a slow flame. Hyderabadi mutton biryani is usually prepared for special occasions or whenever you desire for it. I have prepared this Hyderabadi 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, 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 a 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 a 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 Hyderabadi lamb/mutton dum biryani, I have used tomatoes but is optional. Usually in dum biryani, tomatoes are not used. I have used 750 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 the Hyderabadi lamb biryani with raitha (yoghurt mixture) or mirchi ka saalan (chilli curry) 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 hr

Cuisine: Hyderabad (home style)

Serves: 4 to 5

Spiciness: Medium


  1. Mutton/Lamb (with bones) – 750 gms
  2. For marinade

  3. Ginger and garlic paste – 3 tbsp
  4. Curd – 1 1/3 cup
  5. Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  7. Whole spices:

  8. Black cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  9. Dagad phool (black stone flower) – 1 tbsp
  10. Cloves - 5
  11. cinnamon sticks (1 inch size) - 4/li>
  12. Cassia buds - 10
  13. Staranise - 3
  14. Black cardamom - 2,
  15. green cardamom - 5
  16. Mace and nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp
  17. Biryani masala – 1 tsp
  18. Green chillies (chopped or sliced) – 5
  19. Mint( chopped) –20 gms
  20. Coriander leaves(chopped) – 20 gms
  21. Tomatoes (optional, chopped)– 1
  22. Salt – as required
  23. Oil – 2 tbsp
  24. For frying onions

  25. Oil or ghee - 3/4 cup
  26. Bay leaves - 2 to 3
  27. Onion(sliced) – 5 or 500 gms
  28. For cooking rice

  29. Basmati Rice- 500 gms
  30. Caraway seeds – 1/2 tsp
  31. Water – 2 litres or as required
  32. Salt - as required
  33. For garnishing/layering (dum)

  34. Saffron (Kesar) and lime (yellow) colour – a pinch
  35. Mint – few
  36. Coriander leaves – few
  37. Biryani masala – 1 tsp
  38. Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
  39. Fried onions- few
  40. Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 tbsp


  1. Chop mint and coriander leaves. Keep about a quarter of it for garnishing while giving dum.
  2. Marination

  3. First put all the ingredients in a big vessel or any bowl, add all the marination ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add mutton pieces and mix well.
  5. Keep the marinated mutton for 4 hrs or overnight in the fridge.
  6. If you want, you can add the fried onions and mix during marination. I have not added fried onions to the marinade as I did not fry the onions in advance.
  7. The pieces of mutton should be of medium size and not very big.
  8. Preparing gravy

  9. 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. You can close the lid and cook. When it is cooked take 1/4 cup of fried onions and keep it aside for use while layering the rice.
  10. Simmer and then add the marinated mutton with the marinade. Mix well with the onions.
  11. Cooking rice

  12. Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hr.
  13. When the water starts to boil, add rice and salt. Boil for about 5 to 6 mins only. The rice has to be cooked roughly about 50%. Rinse under cold tap water to stop further cooking.
  14. While boiling, do not stir very often as the grains may break. The grains will be longer after cooking, but still raw.
  15. Layering (mixing gravy and rice)

  16. When steam starts to come from the mutton (mutton is heated up nicely), add the rice, which is half cooked. Spread evenly on the heated marinated mutton.
  17. Sprinkle colour on the rice. Add biryani masala, fried onions, mint, coriander leaves and lemon juice. If you want, you can also add a few drops of ghee on rice, evenly.
  18. Dum process

  19. After the layering is done, keep the flame to high for about 5 mins until you see some steam coming from the corners below the rice.
  20. Now immediately put the flame to simmer and then cover the biryani vessel with aluminium foil and close the lid tightly.
  21. After closing the lid, put the flame to high and cook for about 5 mins. Then lower the flame and cook the biryani for about 20-25 mins or until the rice and meat are cooked.
  22. The sign of whether the biryani is cooked and ready is when you can smell its aroma from the nearby rooms.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Serve it with raitha or mirchi ka saalan (chilli curry) or brinjal curry (chutney) or with chicken 65 as a side dish.


  1. You can reduce the chillies if you do not eat spicy food or if your chillies are very hot.
  2. 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.
  3. Rice has to be cooked in advance and kept aside, readily available for layering.
  4. You can buy ready made biryani masala. If you want to make it yourself, refer to my biryani masala recipe.
  5. 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.
  6. I grind my ginger and garlic with whole spices to make my ginger and garlic paste. Refer to my ginger and garlic paste recipe.
  7. Mix colour with 2 tbsp of water or milk and then add to the rice. Alternatively, you can even just sprinkle the colour on the biryani. You can also use saffron instead of the colour.
  8. While giving dum you can keep a flat tawa beneath the vessel or even better if the utensil has a thick bottom. This will prevent the biryani from sticking to the bottom of the utensil. I have used a non stick vessel, so I did not use a tawa while giving dum.
  9. I have added tomatoes to this mutton dum biryani, but you can avoid if you do not want to add.
  10. For making any biryani, you can maintain from 2:1 to 1:1 mutton to rice ratio. For example, you can use 500 gms to 1 kg of mutton for 500 gms of rice. Obviously, you need to adjust the spices appropriately.
  11. I have cooked my biryani in oil and only drizzled a little ghee on top of the rice while layering. You can choose the proportion of oil and ghee and also how much according to your liking.
  12. Shahjeera is also known as black cumin seeds (kala jeera). If black cumin seeds are not available, you can use caraway seeds. The caraway seeds also belong to the cumin family. Shahjeera is darker in colour and thin. Some also say both are same.
  13. While layering you can also mix the layering ingredients with the half cooked rice. Mix it partly so that some white rice is still seen. Add this rice to the gravy and spread evenly in the vessel you want to use to give dum.
  14. Biryani vessel can be sealed with the lid by using a wheat dough and then dum can be given on a low flame.