This post comes up a bit later than it was meant to be. But here it is anyways … Eid Ul Adha– Festival of Sacrifice, is an important day celebrated by Muslims worldwide, to honour the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his young first born son Ismail as an act of submission to God’s command and his son’s acceptance to being sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Ibrahim a ram to sacrifice instead. So Muslims all over the world on this day, sacrifice in the name of God, lamb, sheep, cows … and then give the meat to all near and dear ones, to people less fortunate and those to whom it is a rare treat. Great feasts are prepared this day and bonding over food is a ritual one looks forward to. For me today I did something I’ve never dared to before. I made 10 kgs of Mutton Biryani. Biryani is celebratory food, made during festivals, in weddings …. I remember one of the best biryani’s I ever ate was at my cousins wedding. Well she was married in Jersey and she had one occasion here in Mumbai. Actually there were two things that were memorable at the wedding, one ofcourse the biryani and the second the wedding gown from David’s Bridal. It was stunning. The Biryani was like some I’ve never had before, and till this date wish I could get my hands on. But in the mean time, I’ve found my own comforting recipe. It doesn’t necessarily fall into any traditional authentic recipe, ‘cuz I’ve put in whatever I could lay my hands on, but I’ll guarantee you that it tastes phenomenal.Very aromatic, great flavours and enough masala proportion to the rice. I usually just make this for 4 to 6 people, but this time
3.5 kgs mutton of small goat (the meat looks pink, if using a big goat, you might have to cook the meat longer till its soft)
2 kgs onions finely chopped
2 kgs tomatoes finely chopped
8-10 green chillis ( use as per taste)
5 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste
1/2 kg yogurt
1/2 cup Ghee
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons Mustard oil
2 tablespoons corriander powder
2 tablespoons toasted cumin powder
1 tablespoon fresh garam masala
2 and 1/2 packets Shan Mumbai Biryani Masala
2 kgs basmati rice
2 tablespoons oil
4 bay leaves
5 , 3″ cinnamon sticks
salt to taste
2 teaspoons Kewra essence
2 teaspoons saffron
1/2 cup whole milk
handful of chopped corriander
handful of chopped mint
1 cup onion sliced and deep fried till golden brown
Marinate the meat in 1/2 kg yogurt, 1 packet of the Biryani masala and 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste. Keep aside for an hour.
Now in a huge pot, pour in the ghee and oil and fry the bay leaves and 3 cinnamon sticks. Then add the onions and on medium flame fry till golden brown. Now add the ginger garlic paste, fry for a minute and add the marinated mutton. Now this bit, is where you got to show some muscle. Fry and continuously keep stirring ( Bhuno ) the meat for about 15 mins. And then add the remaining Biryani masala packets and fry for 5 mins and now add the tomatoes, salt, corriander, cumin, garam masala and mustard oil. Give it a couple of more minutes of rigorous stirring and then cover the pot and let it simmer for an hour on low flame.
In the mean time lets prepare the rice. You will need an equally huge pot. Wash and soak the rice for about 1o mins. Then top up the pot with water, it will be excess to the rice, but don’t worry. We will strain out what we don’t need. Add the remaining cinnamon sticks, cloves, 2 tablespoons oil and some salt. Boil together till 3/4th done. Now strain out the rice, shaking of all excess water and spread all of it on laid out newspapers(in a well ventilated place). This will help soak all the water and separate the grain.
Getting back to the mutton, check if the meat is tender, also check for seasoning and add anything you need to now. If its too dry then add some water and give it a boil. You need a good gravy for the rice , so make sure you have enough. Add the chopped mint and corriander, reserving some for the garnish. Now divide the meat between both the pots equally. Now top up with rice, diving it equally. Now heat the milk in a bowl in the microwave. Mix in the saffron, and let the stands release it colour. Add the Kewra essence and pour with a spoon all over the biryani. Now sprinkle the remaining corriander, mint and fried onions. Sprinkle some cumin powder, garam masala and red chilli powder. Cover tightly with a lid and on a very slow flame leave to cook for about 30-40 mins.