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Mutton Biryani

It has been a while since I posted something here as I was way busy with work and other stuff. Today I had little time on hand. I thought of cooking something to reward myself for all the hard work. What else can make me more happy than the food I love made with my own hands in the way I wanted to.....
And here I made one dish I love the most - Mutton Biryani. YUM!!! Spicy mutton biryani with a side of cool raitha and sliced raw onions. Alright guys, I got to go enjoy my food..Want some for yourselves too..There is only one way and what are you waiting for..Get into your kitchens :)..
Ingredients
For Marinade
2lbs Mutton or Lamb
1 cup thick yogurt
1 tbsp Red Chilli powder
1 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tbsp gram masala
1/2 tbsp mutton biryani masala(I used shan brand)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 or 5 bay leaves
Salt per taste
For Rice
4 cups rice
6 cups water
1 cup thick coconut milk (Optional)
2 tbsp + 2tbsp butter or ghee
3 tbsp oil
5 or 6 curry leaves
1 1/2 large onion chopped length wise
10 green chillies slit length wise
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 big bunch of coriander/cilantro (discard the roots and use tender stems and leaves)
1 small bunch mint leaves(just the leaves)
1 tbsp red chill powder(adjust per you spice level)
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp dry coconut powder
10 to 15 cashews
1 1/2 tbsp mutton biryani masala
Salt per taste
Tempering for Rice
2 tsp Cumin seeds
5 star anise broken into pieces (Anasapuvu)
1 tsp nutmeg powder (Jajikaya)
6 small barks of Mace (Javetri)
2 tsp Saunf/Fennel seeds(Sopu)
4 cardamom pods crushed
6 cloves(Lavangam)
2 inch cinnamon stick
6 Dried Bay leaves
1 tsp Sahajeera
1 tsp turmeric
cumin seeds - fennel seeds - shai jeera/black cumin - cloves - cinnamon - cardamon powder - nutmeg powder - turmeric - mace - star anise and bay leaves in the center
For Mutton gravy
1/2 large onion slit length wise
4 green chillies finely minced
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup water
3 or 4 curry leaves
2 cloves
small piece of cinnamon stick (may be 1/2 inch)
For Garnish (Optional)
2 tbsp coriander/Cilantro leaves
2 tbsp Fried onions
2 tbsp warm milk
1 or 2 pinches of saffron strands
Method
Clean the mutton and take all the marinade ingredients in a big bowl.  Mix well, cover with a plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for atleast 2 hours. I usually marinate mine over night.
For Rice
In a bowl mix the water and coconut milk and keep aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan. Add the rice and toast the rice till light golden brown color. Do not stir the rice as that will break the rice grains. We do not want the broken rice grains. So, to toast the rice evenly, toss it gently or just shake the pan holding the pan handle. This step will make the rice dry and fluffy.  Now transfer the rice to the rice cooker bowl and keep aside.

In the same thick bottomed sauce pan heat 2 tbsp oil and 3 tbsp butter. Add the tempering and let them splutter. Throw in the curry leaves and let them splutter too. Add the cashews, onions, green chillies and salt. Fry till onions are caramelized (little dark brown in color). But do not burn them :).
Add in the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute till the raw smell is gone. Add in the dry coconut powder and fry for a minute. Add in chopped coriander/Cilantro and mint leaves. Let them wilt down. At this point add the red chill powder, coriander powder, masala powders and fry for 2 minutes just to incorporate the powders into the onion mixture.

Add the water and coconut milk mixture and let it come to a boil. At this point check the taste and adjust the seasonings. Dump the water mixture into the rice we kept aside earlier. Hook up the rice cooker and let the rice cook. Once rice is done fluff it with a fork gently.

For Mutton
While the rice is cooking, in a pressure cooker pan heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. Let them splutter. Add in the onions and green chillies. Fry till the onions are light golden brown.
Add in the marinated mutton and let the mutton cook in its own juices for 10 minutes. Now add in 1/2 cup of water close the pressure cooker lid and let it cook till 2 or 3 whistles. Turn off the heat and let the presure go away to open the lid. Open the lid and place the pan on the heat. Let the gravy come to a boil and check for the seasonings and adjust at this point.Once the gravy is of desired consistency turn off the heat.

For Biryani
Preheat the oven to 375F. In 2 tbsp warm milk soak the saffron strands. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil to make the cleaning easy. If using disposable aluminum dish no need to line with foil.

Layer the bottom of dish with half of the cooked rice (be generous with rice for the first layer). Add half of the mutton curry on top. sprinkle coriander leaves and fried onions.  Add 1/2 of the left over rice, rest of the mutton curry. Sprinkle the fried onions and cilantro leaves. Layer the last of the left over rice.
Sprinkle coriander leaves and fried onions. Drizzle the saffron milk. Cover with foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Once done let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before taking off the foil.
Serve with raitha and onion slices. 

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