How to Make Cape Malay Mutton Biryani

How to Make Cape Malay Mutton Biryani

Biryani is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, usually basmati rice and meat, fish, eggs and vegetables. The name “Biryani” is derived from the Persian word “Beryan”, which means “fried” or “roasted”.

The dish originated in Persia and it was brought to South Asia by Iranian travelers and merchants. There are various variations of the dish according to different countries, everyone wanting to claim its origin. Some say it could have come from Persia, but via Afghanistan to North India. So with all the fuss around Biryani, this is the Cape Malay, South African version and this is what you will need to prepare this delicious dish:


2 onions, finely chopped

oil to sauté onions

1 kg mutton, washed, trimmed and drained

20 ml garlic and ginger

2 green chillies

2 pieces stick cinnamon

3 cardamom pods

3 whole cloves

3 all spice berries

30 ml ground coriander

15 ml turmeric

10 ml fine cumin

10 ml fine fennel/ barishap

15 ml chilli powder

1 large tomato, grated

250 ml yoghurt

125 ml bunch fresh coriander, chopped

5 ml saffron soaked in boiling water

250 ml crispy fried onions, well golden

125 ml cooked lentils, kept aside

125 ml melted butter

14 small potatoes, fried in oil


  • Heat oil in large pot. Add onions and sauté until golden.
  • Add meat, ginger and garlic and sauté for 20 min add water if necessary.
  • Add all spices and tomato and cook till soft.
  • Lastly add yoghurt and fresh coriander.
  • Cook for a further 10 min and until sauce is reduced

The rice

Boil 4 cups rice with 2 stick cinnamon, 3 cloves, 3 all spice berries, 3 cardamom pods, 60 ml oil, 20 ml salt in 2 litres of water until rice is ¾ done. Rice must not be very soft. Drain.

To assemble

  • Using a pyrex dish.
  • Place a layer of rice at bottom, then a layer of meat sauce, followed by potatoes, lentils and fried onions. Repeat the process until all rice and meat is used, ending off with rice.
  • Sprinkle the top layer of rice with saffron water, melted butter and lentils and onions.
  • Cover with foil and place in oven and allow to steam until heated through.

Serve with dhai, onion salad and/ or atchar.


Source by Andrea Burton

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