Thalassery mutton biryani


Thalassery Biryani, named aptly after the place of its origin, a small city in the Malabar coast of Kerala, India. Traditionally prepared with fragrant short-grain rice called Jeerakasala rice. They are available in most Indian groceries but if you can’t find them you can use Basmati rice (I have used Basmati here). This is indeed my favourite version of biryani.

You need –

For the ghee rice:

  • Basmati Rice- 1 ¼ cups
  • Cinnamon – 1 small stick
  • Cloves- 2
  • Cardamon-3
  • Fennel seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Ghee/clarified butter – 3 tablespoon
  • Hot water – 2.5 cups
  • Salt to taste

To make the mutton/lamb Masala –

  • Mutton/lamb – 500 grams with bones
  • Onion- 2 large, finely chopped
  • Tomato – 1 medium finely chopped
  • Shallots – 4 nos, crushed
  • Finely grated ginger- 2 teaspoons
  • Garlic- 6 cloves, finely grated
  • Green chili- 3-4 or as per your taste
  • Lemon juice- 2 teaspoons
  • Yogurt – 1.5 tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Biryani Masala powder – 1.5 teaspoon (I have used Beevi’s brand)
  • Coconut oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

For garnishing – 

  • Fried Cashew nuts- 3 tablespoon
  • Fried Raisins- 3 tablespoon
  • Fried Onions – 1/2 cup
  • Rose water – 1 teaspoon
  • Gram Masala – ¾ teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves chopped- 1/2 cup
  • Mint leaves- 1/4 cup



How to –

Wash the rice and soak for 20 mins. Strain and set aside.

Biryani masala

Clean and wash the meat well. Drain the water out completely. Marinate the meat with turmeric and yogurt for at least an hour. Pressure cook the meat till just tender.

Heat oil in a pan, add the grated ginger, garlic and fry for a minute. Add the onion and shallots; fry until the onions are soft and turn golden brown. Add the biryani Masala and cook till the oil starts to separate

Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, Cover and cook till mushy. Add the meat with the liquid, mix well. Cover and cook till almost done.

Uncover, add the pepper powder continue to cook till the gravy is thick.

Ghee rice –

Heat ghee in a pan, add the whole spices and cook till fragrant. Add the rice in and fry till the rice is translucent and ensuring the rice not turning brown.Add hot water, salt and mix well, cover and cook till the rice is 80% done.

Layering the rice-

In a heavy bottom pan, spread some ghee,  Layer a thin layer of rice and then the meat with gravy. Sprinkle some gram masala, few drops of rose water, Chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint, fried nuts, raisins and onions. Repeat the layering and finishing of the rice as the final layer.

Seal the pan with a aluminum foil and cover with heavy lid so that the steam does not escape. You could place a heavy pan with water or use the pestle on top on the lid.


Cook on a very low heat for 30-45 minutes. This is to infuse the masala flavor into the rice.

Turn off the heat and serve hot with raita or with you favorite pickle.



12 thoughts on “Thalassery mutton biryani

  1. Isn’t it amazing how many varieties of biryanis there are in India and each version is so good although we all tend to have our own favorites. I have never heard of a Thalassery Biryani. Thanks for sharing. I am going to pin it.

  2. Biriyani looks yummm.Esp the meat pieces look so beautifully coated in masala.
    The pics would have looked grand in a traditional setting thats just my opinion 🙂 White looks equally beautiful.

    1. Meena your comment was in the spam folder. Just got to see it! I tried using a dark background first but didn’t work well. The rice was looking to bright so switched on to white 🙂 thank you for the feedback 🙂

  3. Of all the varieties of biriyanis prepared in Kerala I too have felt that the Kanoor side biriyanis are the best. Simply irresistible this one too….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s