Mutton Pulao
Mutton Pulao
5 from 40 votes
Soft grains of basmati rice laced with the fragrant aroma of cardamom, cloves, and cumin and loaded with tender, juicy and succulent pieces of mutton or lamb. A rice recipe that hits close to home for any Pakistani or Indian. This Indian pilau rice recipe is the perfect family dinner.
Mutton Pulao

Mutton Pulao! Just hearing the name gets my stomach growling. If there ever was a recipe that so beautifully melds the complexities of spice with the rich, deep flavour of mutton, it’s this one.

This one-pot dish has its roots firmly planted in South Asian cuisine, particularly in regions of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Its history is as intricate as the spices used, intertwined with cultural norms, festive occasions, and even regional politics. One could say that every grain of rice in Mutton Pulao carries with it a story.

Now, let’s talk about difficulty. We’re not assembling a rocket ship here. This dish falls in the medium-difficulty range.

Sure, there are a fair number of ingredients and steps, but don’t let that intimidate you. Each step is straightforward and will guide you towards creating that perfect blend of mutton and rice.

Ah, variations, the spice of life! Mutton Pulao has its own regional identity. In North India, you might find it adorned with a rich variety of dry fruits and saffron.

Head over to Pakistan, and the dish takes a simpler form, often eschewing the extravagance for core flavours. Vegetarians, don’t feel left out; a vegetable pulao uses the same aromatic spices but replaces the meat with mixed vegetables.

Diving into the ingredients, it’s a list as varied as the countries this dish calls home. The spices like cloves, black cardamom, and peppercorn bring warmth and depth.

And let’s not overlook the rice, the cornerstone of any Pulao dish. The longer the grain, the better, as it absorbs all the flavours it’s cooked with. Ah, the mutton! Whether you go for lamb or mutton, it’s this ingredient that offers the succulent, tender bites that make this dish so unforgettable.

There’s a special technique to cooking the mutton. You’ll be creating a mutton stock first, laden with spices and aromatics.

This stock forms the base of our Pulao, ensuring that every grain of rice is a bite of heaven. And for those who like it hot, green chillies make a guest appearance, offering an optional but delightful kick.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a lot of pans and pots!” But hey, a masterpiece was never created without a little mess, am I right? Plus, the effort pays off when you take that first bite. The perfect blend of aromatic spices, succulent mutton, and perfectly cooked rice—it’s the stuff of legends.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking to spice up your dinner routine, Mutton Pulao is the ticket to a culinary journey you won’t easily forget. So, aprons on, folks! It’s time to dive into the delicious world of Mutton Pulao.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

So you’re all set to make that delectable Mutton Pulao, but before you dive into this culinary adventure, let’s get up close and personal with the ingredients.

Understanding the role of each element not only educates you but also elevates your cooking game. After all, even a painter needs to know their colours, right?

Lamb or Mutton: The superstar of our dish, the choice of lamb or mutton makes a big difference. Lamb is generally tender and requires less cooking time. Mutton, on the other hand, offers a robust flavour but may require more simmering to achieve that perfect tenderness. If you’re not a fan of either, you can opt for chicken but prepare for a slightly different flavour profile.

Ginger: Ah, the rhizome that rules the roost! Ginger brings a fresh spiciness, countering the richness of the mutton. If you don’t have fresh ginger, ground ginger can be used, but the flavour won’t be as pronounced.

Garlic: This ingredient offers a depth of flavour, melding beautifully with the mutton and spices. If you’re allergic to garlic or don’t have it on hand, asafoetida (hing) is a fair substitute, albeit with a different flavour.

Crushed Chillies: For that oomph of heat! Crushed chillies add a spicy kick that livens up the dish. If you don’t want it too spicy, paprika offers a milder heat.

Peppercorn and Black Pepper: These two bring warmth and a slightly woodsy, piney flavour. You could use white pepper as an alternative, but it’s milder and less complex.

Cumin Seeds: Jeera, as it’s commonly known, adds an earthy, slightly spicy flavour that complements the richness of mutton. Caraway seeds can be an alternative, though they have a sweeter profile.

Onions: These humble bulbs offer sweetness and complexity. They also help to thicken the stock and the final Pulao. Shallots can be an interesting substitute if you’re looking for a milder, more delicate flavour.

Spices: These are the background vocalists, harmonizing the whole dish. Cloves add a sweet, aromatic kick; bay leaf brings in complex flavours, and black cardamom adds a smoky aroma. Omitting these would be like listening to a song with only bass—possible, but missing the full experience.

Rice: The long-grain variety works best here. It soaks up all the flavours while maintaining its structural integrity. Basmati is a good choice, but Jasmine rice can also work in a pinch.

Oil: It serves as the cooking medium but also helps in frying the onions to that perfect golden brown. You could use ghee for a richer flavour or a neutral oil like canola for a lighter touch.

Green Chillies: These offer a fresh, bright spiciness to the dish. If you’re not a fan of the heat, bell peppers can add colour without the kick.

Salt: The great balancer! Salt makes all the other flavours pop. Don’t have table salt? Sea salt or kosher salt will also do the trick.

Whew, that was quite a tour, wasn’t it? Now you don’t just know what goes into your Mutton Pulao—you know why. So, ready to roll up those sleeves and bring these characters to life? Let’s cook up a storm!

How to Choose the Right Cut of Mutton for Your Pulao

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of picking the perfect cut of mutton for your Mutton Pulao.

It may sound like a trivial detail, but trust me, the choice of meat can either elevate your dish to divine status or send it spiralling into culinary oblivion.

So, how do you decide? Start by understanding what mutton actually is. Mutton refers to the meat from a mature sheep, usually older than a year. This gives mutton its rich, gamey flavour, making it an ideal candidate for a robust dish like Pulao.

However, this also means that mutton tends to be a bit tough, requiring longer cooking times to achieve that melt-in-your-mouth texture.

That brings us to the cut. The shoulder cut is ideal for stews and slow-cooked dishes. It offers a good balance of meat, fat, and connective tissue, which break down during prolonged cooking to create a mouth-wateringly tender and flavourful bite.

The leg is another good option; it’s leaner but still incredibly flavourful. Avoid the loin or the rib cuts for Pulao; they’re too lean and can become dry when cooked for extended periods.

If mutton isn’t up your alley, you could always opt for lamb. Lamb is generally tender and is a great substitute. However, it does have a milder flavour compared to mutton. If you go this route, look for cuts that have a good distribution of fat, like the shoulder or the rump.

The beauty of Mutton Pulao is that it can be forgiving. You don’t have to be a master butcher to pick the right cut. However, spending a little extra time at the meat counter can make all the difference.

Spice It Right: Mastering the Art of Seasoning in Mutton Pulao

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Variety is the spice of life,” but when it comes to Mutton Pulao, it’s more like, “Spice is the variety of the dish.” A well-spiced Pulao can elevate your culinary experience from ordinary to extraordinary, and I’m here to spill the tea on how to get it just right.

First things first, let’s talk about whole spices. In the realm of Mutton Pulao, whole spices are the unsung heroes. They subtly infuse the mutton and rice with complex flavours without overpowering the dish.

Cloves bring a sweet, aromatic kick; bay leaves offer complex undertones, and black cardamom adds that mysterious smoky aroma. It’s a symphony where each spice plays its part, culminating in a flavourful crescendo that is Mutton Pulao.

Now, onto ground spices. The trick is to not go overboard. A pinch of this and a dash of that is often more than enough. Take black pepper and crushed chillies, for example.

These ground spices can be quite potent. They bring heat and pungency but use them sparingly. Remember, in Pulao, we’re aiming for a balanced flavour profile where no single ingredient overshadows the others.

Let’s not forget the dynamic duo of ginger and garlic. These two bring a depth of flavour that is simply unparalleled. Fresh is always best, but in a pinch, you can use ginger-garlic paste. Just be cautious with the amount; a little goes a long way.

To marinate or not to marinate? That’s a question many aspiring Pulao chefs grapple with. I personally prefer marinating the mutton in some of the ground spices, like ginger, garlic, and a bit of black pepper. This helps the spices penetrate the meat, making every bite a flavourful delight.

Getting the spices right in your Mutton Pulao can feel like walking a tightrope, but with a little practice and a keen sense of taste, you’ll be balancing flavours like a culinary acrobat in no time. Happy cooking!

Achieving the Perfect Rice Texture in Mutton Pulao

Rice—the supporting actor that sometimes steals the show. You might think it’s all about the mutton, but in a pulao, the rice is just as crucial. It can make or break the dish, literally.

If you’ve ever bitten into a clump of overcooked rice or crunched on grains harder than your math problems, you know what I’m talking about.

The type of rice you choose for your Mutton Pulao matters. Basmati rice is the go-to option for most pulao recipes due to its long grains and aromatic scent. It also holds its shape well, so you won’t end up with a mushy mess.

Soak the rice for at least an hour before cooking; this reduces the cooking time and ensures each grain cooks evenly.

Timing is everything. When you add your soaked rice to the pot, you’ll want to cook it on high heat first.

This initial blast of heat helps open up the grains. Afterwards, reducing the heat is essential. We’re talking a low simmer, folks. This helps to finish off the cooking process without turning your beautiful Basmati into a starchy blob.

But don’t just plop the rice into the pot and forget about it. Gently stir it occasionally, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Too much stirring, and you risk breaking the grains.

It’s a delicate balance, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rewarded with a pot of rice where each grain stands distinct, and yet, is perfectly married to the flavours of the mutton and spices.

But the rice’s journey doesn’t end there. After cooking, it’s essential to let it rest. Keep the pot covered and remove it from the heat, allowing the rice to steam for a bit.

This finishing touch ensures that any remaining moisture distributes evenly, giving you that perfect, fluffy texture you’ve been dreaming about.

The Secret Behind the Perfect Mutton Stock

Let’s talk about the backbone of a good Mutton Pulao—the mutton stock. If you think water is just water, then brace yourselves because making mutton stock for Pulao is a culinary adventure in itself. And yes, it’s an adventure worth embarking on.

Your stock starts with quality mutton. As I’ve said before, the cut matters, but so does freshness. We’re looking for mutton that is rich in flavour but not gamey. After you’ve procured the mutton, let’s get cooking. And we’re not just throwing everything into a pot and calling it a day. There’s an art to this.

In go the aromatics—ginger, garlic, and onions. They form the aromatic trinity in the mutton stock, laying down a flavourful base. Then, add the whole spices like peppercorn, cumin seeds, cloves, and bay leaves.

These spices infuse the water with flavour and depth, making it more than just liquid; it becomes an elixir of robust flavours.

Don’t underestimate the salt. It brings out the flavours of the meat and the spices. Just remember, it’s easier to add more later than to correct an overly salty stock.

The cooking time is crucial. Mutton requires a longer cooking time than other meats to really break down and release its flavours. So, slow and steady wins the race here.

And there you have it—the secrets behind achieving the perfect rice texture and the most flavourful mutton stock for your Mutton Pulao.

Both are indispensable elements that contribute to the overall deliciousness of the dish. It’s not just about throwing ingredients into a pot; it’s about understanding them, respecting their unique qualities, and coaxing out their full potential.

The Untold Power of Onions in Mutton Pulao

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the humble onion, an unassuming yet essential part of our beloved Mutton Pulao. Now, you might wonder why onions deserve a spotlight. But trust me, without onions, the pulao is like a guitar without strings—still beautiful but lacking its soulful tune.

Onions serve a dual purpose in Mutton Pulao. First, they contribute to the stock’s richness. The innate sweetness of the onion balances out the spices and meaty flavours. Slow-cooking the onions with the mutton and spices creates a harmonious blend that sets the stage for the entire dish.

Second, onions appear again when you sauté them in oil for the rice portion of the recipe. It’s not just about throwing them into the pot; it’s an art form. Sautéing them to a golden brown unleashes their caramelized goodness. This sweet undertone is what makes your Mutton Pulao rise from good to great.

Did you know that the type of onion you choose can affect the outcome? Yellow onions are the classic choice, being all-purpose and balancing sweetness with astringency.

Want to mix things up? Red onions offer a more pungent flavour, while white onions are milder and sweeter. Experiment to find your perfect onion match.

Elevating Mutton Pulao with the Right Cooking Oil

You know, the cooking oil you choose for Mutton Pulao can be a game-changer. Yes, that slick, seemingly inconspicuous ingredient in your pantry can elevate your pulao from yum to “give me another serving, pronto!” So, let’s break down why oil is so critical in this dish.

Oil serves as the cooking medium for your onions, garlic, and other spices. In other words, it’s where the magic begins.

The fat in the oil traps the flavours and aromas, ensuring they get evenly distributed throughout the dish. And let’s face it, a dry pulao is a sad pulao, so don’t underestimate the importance of a good oil.

In Mutton Pulao, it’s common to use vegetable oil due to its neutral flavour. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, ghee adds an unmistakable richness that’s just divine. It’s like giving your pulao a VIP upgrade. You can also opt for canola oil, another neutral oil but with a slightly lighter texture.

The temperature of the oil matters too. Too hot, and you risk burning your spices and creating a bitter taste. Too cold, and you’re just giving your ingredients a lukewarm bath. Aim for a medium heat that allows your ingredients to sizzle upon contact.

How the unassuming onion and the right cooking oil can make or break your Mutton Pulao. Both are unsung heroes in your culinary journey to create the most mouth-watering, soul-satisfying pulao.

Spice Up Your Life with Mutton Pulao’s Flavour Palette

Let’s cut to the chase: Mutton Pulao without spices is like a movie without a soundtrack—lacking depth and excitement. Spices are the zest, the kick, the oomph that makes this dish so irresistibly good.

First off, the red and green chillies aren’t just there for heat; they bring a burst of colour to the pulao, turning it from a monochromatic dish into a vibrant masterpiece.

The crushed chillies mingle with the mutton, adding not just heat but a hint of smokiness as well. Oh, and they also liven up the oil, making sure that every grain of rice is imbued with spicy goodness.

The peppercorn, my friends, is a subtle genius. While chillies scream for attention, peppercorns are like the quiet kids in the class with all the answers. They offer a different kind of heat—a lingering warmth that lasts long after your last bite.

Cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cloves enter the scene next, each bringing its unique character to the dish. Cumin adds earthiness, balancing the meat’s richness. Bay leaves infuse the pulao with a slightly floral aroma, while cloves bring in a bit of sweetness and a touch of medicinal astringency.

If you can’t find some of these spices, all is not lost. For cumin, caraway seeds can be a decent stand-in. Allspice can somewhat mimic cloves, and if bay leaves are nowhere to be found, a small pinch of thyme could work as a last resort.

Just remember, each spice in your Mutton Pulao plays a role more vital than you might realize.

They come together to create a dish that’s not just a feast for the stomach, but also for the eyes and soul. Choose them carefully, measure them accurately, and enjoy the symphony of flavours they bring to your pulao.

The Intricacies of Choosing Meat for Mutton Pulao

Ah, the meat—the essence of Mutton Pulao. It’s like casting the lead role in a blockbuster movie; get it right, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. The choice of meat can make or break this dish, literally and metaphorically.

Lamb or mutton? That’s the first question one should ponder. Lamb is younger, tender, and has a milder flavour. When you’re short on time and can’t allow for extensive marination or long cooking hours, lamb could be your saviour. It melds quickly with spices and requires less coaxing to become a fork-tender.

Mutton, on the other hand, is the elder statesman of meats. It’s richer in flavour, more robust, and admittedly, takes a bit more time to cook.

But oh, when it’s done right, the depth it adds to your pulao is unparalleled. It’s like the Morgan Freeman of meats—a seasoned actor who brings gravitas to the role.

If lamb and mutton are hard to find or you have dietary restrictions, beef is an acceptable substitute. It does have a strong, distinct flavour that can overpower the spices if you’re not careful. Chicken? Well, technically you could, but then you’d have to call it Chicken Pulao, and that’s another story for another day.

The meat you choose sets the stage for your Mutton Pulao production. So, cast wisely, my friends, and may your pulao always be star-studded.

The Symphony of Onions and Garlic in Mutton Pulao

Who would’ve thought that humble onions and garlic could hold such sway in a dish as grand as Mutton Pulao? Yet, here they are, the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to turn this dish into a culinary masterpiece.

Onions serve multiple roles in this dish. First, they contribute to the stock, lending a mild sweetness that balances the strong meaty flavours. Then, they make a second appearance, this time finely sliced and browned to perfection. This caramelization brings out an entirely new flavour profile, adding a complex sweetness and a bit of texture to the pulao.

But wait, the onion saga doesn’t end here. Onions also act as a base when combined with garlic paste, ensuring that the mutton is well-coated and infused with flavour. This base creates a layer of taste that penetrates deep into the meat, making every bite a flavourful delight.

Garlic is the sidekick that packs a punch. When used in the stock, its pungent flavour counterbalances the richness of the mutton. Then, in the form of a paste, it cuts through the fat, intensifying the flavours of the other spices and creating a dish that tickles every taste bud.

If for some unfathomable reason, you’re not an onion or garlic fan, there are alternatives. Shallots can substitute for onions, although they are a bit sweeter and less pungent. As for garlic, if you absolutely must, a bit of asafoetida (hing) can mimic its pungency without replicating the exact flavour profile.

Check Out These Other Recipes

Oh, you enjoyed the richness of my Mutton Pulao, didn’t you? That blend of spices and tender mutton chunks swirled in fragrant Basmati rice is a treat for the soul.

Well, if you thought this was heavenly, just wait until you explore more of what I’ve got tucked up my sleeve. You’ve just opened a treasure chest of Indian culinary wonders!

Picture yourself savouring the succulent Chicken Biryani, where each grain of rice dances with the melody of spices, almost like a sequel to the Mutton Pulao. Now, consider diving into the aromatic world of Lamb Karahi—a pot of luxuriant, velvety gravy emboldening succulent pieces of lamb, it’s a feast fit for royalty.

Ah, but we’re just getting started! Have you ever tried Mutton Nihari? This slow-cooked stew is like a warm embrace on a chilly day.

The mutton is so tender, that it practically melts in your mouth, harmonizing perfectly with a parade of spices. If you’re craving something lighter but equally scrumptious, I’d recommend you to dance your way into a plate of Chicken Pulao. It’s like the cousin of Mutton Pulao—equally tantalizing but in a chicken avatar.

And let’s not forget the Keema Aloo. Imagine ground meat mingling with cubed potatoes in a spicy gravy. This dish is like the fun-loving friend everyone needs in their life, easy-going but leaving a lasting impression.

So go ahead, venture into these recipes, and let the magic of Indian spices transport you to a realm of gastronomic bliss. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments; I’m always eager to hear how you’ve found your new favourite dish!

Mutton Pulao

Mutton Pulao

by Nabeela Kauser
Soft grains of basmati rice laced with the fragrant aroma of cardamom, cloves and cumin and loaded with tender, juicy and succulent pieces of mutton or lamb. A rice recipe that hits close to home for any Pakistani or Indian.
5 from 40 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 588 kcal


Mutton/Lamb Stock

  • 500 g Mutton Or lamb
  • 20 g Ginger
  • 5 cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 1.5 litre Water
  • 1 tsp Crushed Chillies
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Peppercorn
  • 2 Cumin Seeds Jeera
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Onions
  • 10 Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 4 Black Cardamom


  • 400 g Rice
  • 1 Onions
  • 2 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 3 Green Chillies
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 50 ml Oil


  • In a bowl cover the rice completely with cold water and leave to soak for minimum 1 hour
  • Whilst the rice is soaking in a large pot add the lamb stock ingredients along with your choice of meat (mutton or lamb) then add the water and cook for 30-45 minutes until the meat has softened – mutton meat may take longer
  • When the lamb or mutton is almost done cooking in another pan heat up oil on medium heat then add the finely sliced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened and browned – once lightly browned add 1 tablespoon of water to release the colour form the onions
  • Remove the lamb pieces from the other pot and add into the onions along with the garlic paste, salt, green chillies then cook for 5-10 minutes
  • Meanwhile sieve the stock then add the lamb stock into the lamb and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Drain the soaked rice and add in to the pan then gently mix before cooking on high heat for 10-15 minutes or until the water has almost dried up
  • Reduce the heat to low then cover with a lid and cook for 10-15
  • Serve immediately with raita and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 588kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 20gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 925mgPotassium: 391mgFibre: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 113IUVitamin C: 7mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 73mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Cooking, Indian, Lamb, Lamb Chops, Mutton, Pilau, Pulao, Recipe, Rice
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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3 months ago

For how many Grams it takes upto 588calories??


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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