Mutton Akhni Recipe

This traditional Indian rice and meat dish, Akhni, is right up there with every global comfort food you can think of. I don’t know anyone whose eyes do not glaze over at the thought of a dheg (big pot) of wedding Akhni, cooked over a wood fire that imbues that signature charcoal flavour, and served with copious dollops of spiced yoghurt or dhai. It is what Sunday lunch dreams are made of along with afternoon naps. This is a basic recipe done on the stove and not an open fire.


800g Mutton Stew pieces washed and drained
2 cups Jasmine/white rice rinsed
3 medium potatoes cut into big chunks
2 large onions finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes grated
2-3 Tbsp ghee or oil
2 sticks cinnamon
3 pods elachi (cardamom)
1 Tbsp garlic & ginger
1,5 tsp ground dhanya (coriander)
1,5 tsp ground jeera (cumin)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
1 tsp Akhni masala (optional)
2 green chillies
big handful of fresh coriander chopped

Add ghee to a large pot on medium heat. I prefer not to use a stainless steel pot for akhni as it burns more easily than aluminium during the steaming process. I would suggest an aluminium pot or a heavy non-stick if you have. Add whole spices and allow to sizzle then add the onions. Saute until starting to brown.
Add the meat and the garlic & ginger. Allow to cook slowly till the meat is just tender about 45 minutes. This can take longer depending on the meat. Add 1,5 tsp salt halfway through. Add a little water if it’s sticking.
Add the spices and green chillies and braise for a minute then add the tomatoes and allow to cook for 10 minutes stirring now and then to prevent sticking. Add 2 cups of water and the potatoes and allow to cook till the potatoes are half cooked.
Add the rice, 2 teaspoons of salt and the chopped coriander and stir through to mix thoroughly being careful not to break the potatoes. Cover with a tight lid or first cover the pot with foil then the lid to create a tight seal. Steam on the lowest heat on your stove for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. You can also steam on medium on the stove for 5 minutes and then in the oven on low.
Serve with paapar and dhai.


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