Thirunelveli Mutton Pulav with Inji Thuvaiyal (Ginger Chutney)

This recipe was a Christmas treat in my family when I was growing up in Thirunelveli, but my mother did not make it on Christmas as there was already so much work to be done. Instead she would make it between Christmas and New Year. I simplified this traditional recipe a lot, allowing me to easily make it on Christmas Day as the main dish in the feast. This is traditionally served with the hot and sweet Inji Thuvaiyal (recipe below) and Thayir Pachadi.

Thirunelveli Mutton Pulav - Kalas Kalai

Thirunelveli Mutton Pulav with Inji Thuvaiyal (Ginger Chutney)

Since mutton itself is quite fatty, I removed the coconut milk and the curds from the recipe. If you are making this dish with chicken or beef instead of mutton, you can add coconut milk and curds to increase the richness.

Nutritive Value

Mutton gives 18.5g of protein per 100g and a whopping 13.3g of fat per 100g. However, as I have reduced the fat content of the other ingredients added, this pulav is a high protein, high energy dish with moderate fat content. The chutney is consumed in very small quantities and does not have any significant nutritive contribution.


For the Pulav

  • 1 kg Biriyani Cut Mutton
  • 4 C Basmati Rice
  • 4 large Onions, sliced
  • 4 to 6 Bay Leaves
  • 6 Cloves
  • 8 Cardamoms
  • 6 pieces Cinnamon
  • 1 Lime, juice extracted
  • ½ C Raisins
  • 6 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • ½ C Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • ¼ C Vegetable Oil

Grind Together

  • ½ C Garlic, grated
  • ½ C Ginger grated
  • 12 Green Chillies
  • 1 C Coriander Leaves
  • 1 C Mint Leaves
  • 2 T Coriander Powder

For the Inji Thuvaiyal (Ginger Chutney)

  • 1 C diced Inji (Ginger)
  • 1 C crushed Vellam (Jaggery)
  • 10 cloves Garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Tamarind Concentrate



  1. Wash and drain the basmati rice in a colander.
  2. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker.
  3. Add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.
  4. When the cloves begin to swell, add the onion and fry till translucent.
  5. Add the ground masala, and fry till the oil separates from the masala. Do not allow it to brown.
  6. Add the mutton pieces and continue to stir till the masala coats all the pieces.
  7. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 cups of water.
  8. Pressure cook for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
  9. Measure the gravy in the mutton and set aside.
  10. Heat the ghee in a very large heavy-based pan.
  11. Fry the raisins; remove and set aside.
  12. To the same pan add the cooked mutton and the measured gravy.
  13. Add sufficient water to make up the proportion of 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice (4 cups of basmati rice require 8 cups of water. If the gravy is 2 cups, add only 6 cups of water). Bring to boil.
  14. Add the basmati rice, lime juice, the rest of the salt, and stir. Bring to boil. Lower heat and cover the pan. Cook till all the water is absorbed.
  15. Sprinkle with fried raisins while serving.

Inji Thuvaiyal (Ginger Chutney)

  1. Grind together all the ingredients listed under for the chutney in a mixie or blender to a fine paste. Do not add water.
  2. Remove and refrigerate in a bottle or stainless steel jar.


  1. As biriyani is very popular here, mutton is available as a biriyani cut, i.e., the meat is cut into fairly large chunks with a little bit of bone. If you cannot get biriyani cut mutton, buy a large chunk of mutton thigh and cut it yourself.
  2. For 1 cup of basmati rice, 2 cups of water are generally used. However, if you are using any other rice, you may have to use extra water. If you find that the rice is not cooked, add an additional cup of boiling water.
  3. My mother used to include the tamarind fruit, ground using the grinding stone, in the chutney. I simplified this by using the readily available tamarind concentrate instead.
  4. Do not grate the ginger while making the chutney. Grating releases water from the ginger and the resulting chutney will be watery.
  5. If you refrigerate the chutney immediately after making it, it may even last for 2 months.

2 thoughts on “Thirunelveli Mutton Pulav with Inji Thuvaiyal (Ginger Chutney)

  1. So no tomatoes ma’am for the biriyani. If I want to add coconut milk how much should I add for a kilo of mutton and 4 cups of rice. Please suggest ma’am as my children like the flavour. Can I use 1 cup of coconut milk. Thank you ma’am.

    • Hi Hamsa, this recipe does not use tomatoes. If you are using 4 cups of Basmati rice, you require 8 cups of liquid. You can use 1 cup of coconut mllk + gravy + water totalling 8 cups. Hope everyone at home likes the pulav 🙂

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