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Ambur Mutton Biryani is a popular rice and meat dish of Ambur,a town in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The Biryani is very flavorful with mild spices and is cooked in dum process (slow cook process). The flavor of the biryani is mainly because of the rice used to prepare it-seeraga samba rice. Seeraga samba rice is a short and thin rice variety which is popular in Tamil nadu.
This biryani is very popular among the people of Ambur especially from the hotel called ‘star hotel’ there. Here, Ambur biryani is prepared using large and heavy container over fire woods in a dum process. The vessel is covered with a lid and over it hot coals are placed. Rice and meat is slowly cooked to perfection.
Ambur Mutton Biryani uses very few spices and is very light when compared with other varieties of Biryani. Here, ginger and garlic paste is ground separately and added to incorporate each ones flavor. It also uses red chilli paste and hence the color.
Ambur Mutton Biryani can be easily prepared at home. You can use a pressure cooker and cook the mutton masala. Cook rice separately and later mix rice and mutton masala. Cover it tightly and cook on a slow flame so that the masala gets incorporated with rice and spices blends well. The over-powering aroma of the biryani makes you instantly hungry.
For Mutton gravy:
½ kg Mutton
½ cup oil
2-3 sticks cinnamon
2 onions, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
¼ cup coriander leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
½ cup curd
For red chilli paste:
4-5 dried red chilli-spicy variety
6-8 byadgi /Kashmiri red chillies
To cook rice
2 cup Seeraga samba rice (jeera rice)
Water, as needed to cook rice
1 tbsp lemon juice
- Wash and clean mutton very well. Cut them into pieces as required. Drain water completely and keep aside.
- In a bowl add water and soak dried red chillies for 15-20 minutes. Drain water and grind to paste.
- Wash jeera rice 2-3 times until water comes clean. Soak it for about 10 minutes.
- In a pressure cooker add oil and heat it. once oil is hot, add a tablespoon of curd onto it.
- Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms. Sauté for a while and add sliced onions.
- Fry till onions turn light brown. Add ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Now add garlic paste and fry again. Fry till the raw smell of ginger and garlic goes away.
- Add mutton pieces and roast well for 5-6 minutes on a medium flame.
- Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli paste and mix very well.
- Add chopped coriander and mint leaves. Also add curd and mix.
- Add 1 cup water and bring it to boil. Check for salt and add if required.
- Close the pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 whistles on a low flame.
- To cook rice: Add 4-5 cups of water in a vessel and bring it to boil. Add little salt and a tablespoon of oil.
- Add soaked and drained rice. Cook till rice is 80% done.
- Strain water completely using a colander. Keep aside.
- Take a heavy bottomed vessel and grease it well with oil. Add cooked mutton gravy and rice. Mix mutton and rice together.
- Close the vessel with a tight lid and place any weight on the lid so that the steam does not come out. You can also seal all the edges with dough.
- Switch on the stove and place a tawa on it. heat it for some time on high flame.
- Place the vessel on the hot tawa and dum cook on low flame for 15-20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, take the vessel from the tawa and rest it for 10 minutes. Open the lid and gently fluff the biryani. Transfer it to a serving bowl.
- Seeraga samba rice is used to prepare Ambur mutton biryani. It gives an additional flavor to the biryani. However, you can try with basmati rice too
- Ambur Mutton Biryani is very mild and less spicy. You can make it more spicy by adding red chilli as per your taste.
- Add ginger and garlic paste separately.
- Authentic Ambur Biryani does not use ghee and lemon.
- You can cook this biryani using a pressure cooker too. Cook mutton and rice for 4 whistles on a low flame.
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