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published time By Harsh Dixit published time 29 Jul, 2014 Share image 0 Shares

It’s that day of the year when most people will be indulging in Biryanis, Kebabs, Sheer Korma and various other Eid special delicacies. Biryani is one of the popular dishes around the world and every place has its own traditional methods and style of cooking. So all those who are sitting out there waiting for a Biryani to come over, GET UP and cook up #ChefHarsh style.

My recipe is on the grounds of a traditional Mutton/Chicken Biryani, but I add my twist to it by finishing it off with coal smoke.

Prep time: 1 hr (+ 3 hrs marination time)

Cooking time: 1 hr

Serves: 4 people with a heavy appetite.

I know it’s a long process, but utilize this off on a weekday.


For the rice:

500 gm basmati rice, washed & drained.

Whole Spice mix - 1 star anise, 2 bay leaves, 2 black cardamom, 2 tsp black cumin seeds, 6 black peppercorn, 6 green cardamom, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 1 tsp fennel, ¼ jaiphal (nutmeg), 1 javitri (mace), 3 tsp salt.

For mutton marination:

1 kg mutton boneless, cut in 2 inches pieces, preferably front leg part and avoid shoulder cut.

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

3 tbsp raw papaya paste

4 tbsp hung curd

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tsp salt

For Biryani Masala:

4 onions, thinly sliced

2 tomatoes, chopped

¼ th cup milk, warm


Saffron strands


Rose water

Kewra essence

4 green chillies


Marinate the mutton:

 Add the beaten curd to the mutton, ginger-garlic paste, raw papaya paste, chilli powder, salt, lemon juice and garam masala.

 Allow the mutton to marinate for 3 hours.

Making fried onions or Barista:

Slice 2 onions very thinly. Separate the slices.

In a pan or kadai, add oil and fry the onion slices till nicely brown.

Take care not to burn them. Fry in small batches. Do not put all the slices at a time, that will lead to lumpy messy onions.

Make sure all the onion slices frying are dipped in oil, if needed add more oil. Keep stirring continuously but gently for an even brown color.

Take the fried onions out with a slotted spoon. Drain them on a paper-towel lined plate. This crispy brown fried onion slices are called Barista.

Cooking the mutton:

Add ghee to the pan used for the Barista. The oil will have the flavor of the onions.

Add remaining sliced onions and green chillies. Cook, stirring continuously, till the onions look light golden brown.

Add ginger paste and garlic paste and mix well.

Add marinated mutton and cook on high heat for seven to eight minutes.

Add coriander powder, cumin powder and red chilli powder. Mix thoroughly.

Stir in three cups of water, bring it to a boil, reduce heat and cook covered till mutton is almost cooked.

Add tomatoes, salt, garam masala powder and fresh coriander leaves.

Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. The ghee would be separated from the spices and there should not be any watery gravy to the meat.

Preparing the rice:

Use only good quality long grain Basmati rice. Soak the rice for 20 minutes in water. Wash well till the water runs clear. Drain all the water.

In a small piece of cloth take cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, javitri, jaiphal, black peppercorn, shahi jeera, and star anise and tie a knot to make a bag (potli). In French, it's known as the Bouquet Garni.

Bring 750 ml water to boil, add rice, bay leaf, salt and potli, cover and cook till rice is done 1/3rd.

Drain the water & remove the whole masala potli.

Preparing the saffron-milk:

Take 1/4th cup warm milk in a cup and dissolve saffron strands in the milk.

Cover and wait for 20 minutes. Add rose water and kewra essence in the milk. Mix well and cover. Keep aside.

Layering the biryani:

Take a large heavy bottom pan with tight fitting lid.

Grease the pan with ghee.

Add a layer of cooked rice and then cooked meat pieces, sprinkle saffron water, add fried onion slices and ghee.

Again add a layer of rice, then meat and go on like this till you are done. Top and bottom layer will be of rice.

Cover with chopped pudina and coriander, fried onion and slit green chillies and juice of half a lemon.

For Smoking the Biryani:

Place 3 chunks of coal and put it on fire till it is hot and becomes red in colour.

In the meanwhile, take a small stainless steel bowl/Katori and add 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cardamom pods & 3-4 cloves.

Use a pair of tongs & place the hot pieces of coal in this katori with spices. Press the katori in the centre of the biryani pan and add 1 tbsp of ghee over it. Cover it immediately and place a heavy object on the lid, this ensure the smoke does not escape.

This is to be done swiftly as the coal starts to smoke when ghee is added. Allow it smoke for 10-15 mins till the entire smokey flavor blends in the biryani. Serve it hot with Raita.

Time consuming but totally worth it. It's even the perfect weather here in Mumbai to indulge into some Smoked Biryani. So get productive on this gloomy day and give your taste buds a smokey surprise. EID MUBARAK 

P.S. Food enthusiasts if you wish to get a taste of the behind the scenes action of the dishes and more, you can follow me on Instagram.

Article & Images By: Harsh Dixit

Four Seasons Recommends -

Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc is a great accompaniment to Indian non-vegetarian delights, making it perfect for the Smoked Biryani. Enjoyed best at 8-10° C.