When most people think of Mutton Pulao, images of tender, juicy mutton, fragrant cardamom, coriander, and cumin, and fluffy, fragrant basmati rice dotted with sweet, fried onion slices come to mind. On the other hand, the mere thought of mutton pulao fills me with a sense of contentment, warmth, and joy. This popular dish can be found in the cuisines of North India, South India, Pakistan, and Turkey. A pulao is made by cooking a meat of choice with basmati or sela rice. Pulao is popular at weddings, family gatherings, lunches, and dinners and is often served with shami kebabs, raita, and salad.
- Mutton: In my family, goat is referred to as mutton. If I can’t find goat, I often substitute lamb. It comes down to personal preference and family tradition – either way works!
- Which type of onion? My grandmother used red onion to make pulao in the past. However, you can also use yellow onion.
- Black cardamom: It helps to mask the odour of red meat and adds a smoky flavour to the broth. If you don’t have black cardamom, substitute green cardamom (they are very different). If you can’t find it in your pantry, just leave it out.
- Cloves: Do not substitute clove powder for whole cloves.
- Cinnamon stick: Once again, use whole cinnamon rather than cinnamon powder.
- Cucumber seeds
- Crushed garlic: You can buy it already crushed or crush it yourself with a food processor or mortar and pestle.
- I would use regular kosher salt in this case. I used about 2 tablespoons salt, but I recommend checking for salt as you go.
- I usually use canola oil as a neutral oil, but sunflower or vegetable oil also work well.
- Basmati rice should be washed several times and soaked overnight if possible.
How to Cook Mutton Pulao
My pulao-making method has developed over time thanks to my experiences as a mother and a cook. My go-to technique for this pulao is to fry the onions in the same pot in which the yakhni will be cooked, and then add all of the whole spices tied in a permeable cloth. To make pulao, As soon as the meat is done cooking, take out the cloth and add the rice, then let it cook. Since the yakhni has been boiled for the identical period of time with the same spices and meat as in the first method, the flavor is identical.
I find that this method makes preparing a mutton pulao manageable, especially as a busy mom who doesn’t want to have to wash any additional pots and pans.
Step By Step Process
- Two sliced onions, one tablespoon of crushed garlic, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and a large pot of salted water (I add 1 tablespoon salt at this stage). Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 12 to 2 hours, or until the mutton is tender.
- With a slotted spoon, the cooked meat can then be removed from the pan and set aside.
- Keep the bone broth you get after straining.
- Add the oil to the pot and raise the heat on the stove. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the remaining onion slices and cook them for a further 15 minutes over medium-low heat, or until they are golden brown.
- Stir-fry for about 30 seconds to let the garlic’s aroma come out.
- Over medium heat, prepare the mutton for 8 to 10 minutes after adding salt.
- The strained mutton broth should be added to the pot in 6 cups. Before bringing to a boil, check the salt content. In airtight containers, broth can be frozen and used at a later time.
- About 10 minutes are needed for the rice to dry.
- Wrap the lid in a clean dish towel and fasten it to the pot once the water has evaporated. Ten minutes of low heat should be enough time for the rice to absorb the steam.
- Put the pulao on a serving platter and fluff it with a fork.
- My pulao is never spicy because I prefer it that way. If you want to spice it up, add some green chilies at the same time you add the rest of the spices. If you don’t want whole pieces of chilli in your rice, put the green chillis in the cloth.
- As the broth cooks, the garlic pieces should disintegrate. If there are large chunks of garlic in your broth after cooking, mash them with the back of a fork.
- You can top it with crunchy fried onions, which go great with it!
What To Serve With It?
To complement any pulao, a raita and a kachumber salad are excellent additions to the table (simply onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers cut into small cubes). This complements the soft, chewy, and warm Pulao rice and meat with a crunch and a coolness.
Pulao is sometimes served with shami kebabs. Making shami kebabs is a lot of work, but aloo tikkis are a good alternative.