Authentic Kolkata Style Mutton Biriyani

Biriyani is an emotion and almost every city in India has their own special biriyani. Today I bring to you the very amazing Kolkata biriyani, one of the most popular biriyani in India. Kolkata biriyani owes it’s origin to Lucknow but is very different in taste and aroma. Kolkata biriyani is incomplete without potato and trust me, the potato tastes almost as good as the meat itself. This biriyani is also low in spices but rely more on aromatics. Meetha attar, kewra water and dried rose petals are all added for aroma. Use of aloo bukhara/ dried plum is a must in this recipe and it makes a big difference in taste. It is usually served with boiled eggs, sliced cucumber and onion rings (no raita, pickles etc).

A huge thanks to my neighbor and dear friend @zaheraummat for helping me develop the recipe. She’s amazingly talented in cooking (and also is an amazing host) and I have learned a lot of super yummy Awadhi, Mughlai and Kolkata nonveg recipes from her over the years. I have posted many of her recipes here, you can check them out. I made her taste test this biriyani and got her approval. And in the evening, she shared her yummy Kolkata style chicken biriyani with me. She liked mine better but I liked hers even always❤️.
So do give it a try on your next biriyani making day.

Ingredients (Serves 5)

1. Basmati Rice – 3 cups, soaked in enough water for 30 minutes and drained well

    Whole spices – Green cardamom – 6, cloves – 5, cinnamon stick – 1 inch, kala jeera – 1/2 tsp

    Ghee – 1.5 tsp

     Water – As required

     Salt – To taste

2. Mutton – 1 kg, cut into medium pieces

Yoghurt – 1 cup

Ginger-garlic paste – 3 tbsp

Chilli powder – 2 – 3 tsp

    Salt – As required

3. Oil – 2 tbsp + ghee – 2 tbsp

4. Onion – 1 medium or 1.5 – 2 cups, thinly sliced

5. Garam masala powder – About 1 – 1.5 tbsp (Recipe below)

Alu bukhara / dried plum – 5

Hot water – 1/3 cup

6. Potato – 5 small, peeled (Cut into chunks, if large)

Water – As required

Orange or yellow food color – 1 pinch

Salt – To taste

7. Salt – To taste

To layer 

12. Ghee – 1 – 2 tbsp

      Garam masala powder – A few pinches

      Saffron – 1 pinch soaked in 3 tbsp hot water (Add kewra water and meetta athar to this saffron water)

       Kewra water – 2 tsp

Meetta athar / edible perfume – 4 drops

Grated mawa – 2 + 3 tbsp

Garam masala powder recipe

13. Green cardamom – 17

      Cloves – 10

      Cinnamon – 1 inch stick

       Mace/ javithri –  1

       Nutmeg – 1/8th of one nutmeg

       White pepper – 1/4 tsp (I didn’t have white pepper so used black pepper instead)


Grind the above whole spices in the small jar of a mixie or in a coffee grinder. Transfer to an air-tight container. You need only 2 – 3 tsp garam masala powder for this recipe.


1. Marinate mutton pieces with yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder and salt (ingredients numbered 2). Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hrs.

2. Boil water in a vessel. Add salt, 1 pinch of food color, whole garam masala (2 cardamom, 3 cloves and an inch of cinnamon stick). Add peeled whole potatoes and boil for 3 -4 minutes or till 50 % done (it will cook completely during dum cooking). Drain water completely. Set aside for 2 minutes till dry.

3. Heat 2tbsp ghee and 2 tbsp mustard oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and fry lightly on all sides. Remove to a plate.

4. In the remaining oil, add whole spices – 4 green cardamom, 1/2 inch cinnamon stick and 5 cloves. Stir till fragrant. Add thinly sliced onion and little salt. Cook till golden brown. Add marinated mutton and cook for 6 – 8 minutes. Add garam masala powder and aloo bukhara. Mix well and cook for a minute. Add 1/3 cup hot water and mix well. Transfer this to a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 5 – 6 whistles over medium or medium-low heat, till mutton is completely cooked and soft. Open the lid after 15 minutes. Add fried potatoes and mix well.

5. Meanwhile boil water in a large vessel adding whole spices, ghee and salt (remaining ingredients numbered 1). Add soaked and drained rice and cook until rice gets 75% done. Switch off and drain on to a colander.

6. Smear ghee in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe vessel. Add cooked mutton and spread on the bottom. Sprinkle 2 tbsp grated mawa on the meat. Top it with cooked rice followed by ghee, a pinch ofgaram masala powder, saffron-kewrawater-meetta athar mix, grated mawa and a few drops of food color, if using. Cover tightly with an aluminium foil followed by a lid. Place a heavy weight on top of the lid.

7. Preheat oven at 425 F. Bake the biriyani for 15 minutes. Take it out and set aside for 15 minutes.

OR cook on dum – Heat a large tawa over high heat. Once hot, bring down to medium flame. Place the biriyani pot and cook for 4 minutes on medium heat. Now bring down the heat to lowest flame and cook for 10 minutes. Switch off. Let it rest unopened for another 10 – 15 minutes in the biriyani pot. Serve hot with boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, tomato and onion.

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Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

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About Maya

Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

Every Recipe Since 2010