Faux Mutton Biryani

Born into a family of vegetarians I am totally clueless about the flavors of meat of any kind and hence I used to wonder what makes people to have cravings for meat. So I have been looking for vegetable substitutes for meat, and then started trying out the most popular meat-based recipes like biryani, kebab, kurma, etc. using those vegetable substitutes.


Earlier I used fleshy soy meat for making biryani (you may click here for the recipe), and lately I came to know that raw jackfruit seems to be a better substitute than textured soya for its fibrous meat-like texture and mildly sweet flavour. When raw jackfruit is cut into large chunks and used along with flavorful spices, it is almost impossible to differentiate the meat & raw jackfruit even by the die-hard meat lovers. Hence it is largely beneficial to people who switched to vegan diet to satisfy their cravings for meat.


Benefits of using raw jackfruit in place of meat:

  • Raw jackfruit is an inexpensive produce that can be used to replace almost any type of meat.
  • It is super easy & super fast to cook this vegetable compared to meat.
  • Since raw jackfruit recipes have less calories compared to meat recipes, it is useful for people on the weight-loss diet.
  • Raw jackfruits are easily digestible than meat.
  • It is a lot more easier & cheaper to grow jackfruit trees than raising livestock in a farm.

Now the recipe for palakkai biryani:


  1. Basmati rice – 1 cup
  2. Water – 2 cups (400 ml)
  3. Any neutral oil – ¼ cup (50 ml)
  4. Bay leaf – 1 No.
  5. Star anise – 1 No.
  6. Cashew nuts (mundhri) – 15 Nos.
  7. Raisins (dhratchai) – 25 Nos.
  8. Onion – 1 No. (large)
  9. Tomatoes – 2 Nos.
  10. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  11. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (I used Kashmiri chilli powder here for its vibrant red color)
  12. Salt – 1 tsp

    For marination:

  1. Raw jackfruit (palakkai) – 1 No. (small)
  2. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
  3. Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  4. Salt – ¼ tsp
  5. Lemon juice – 1 tsp

   For biryani masala:

  1. Cinnamon stick (pattai) – ½” piece
  2. Cloves (krambu) – 6 Nos.
  3. Green cardamom (yelakkai) – 2 Nos.
  4. Ginger – 1″ piece
  5. Garlic – 10 Nos.
  6. Shallots (sambar vengayam) – 20 Nos.
  7. Mint leaves – a handful

Mise en place:

  • Peel the skin of raw jackfruit and chop roughly into large chunks.
  • Sprinkle chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice over the jackfruit pieces.
  • Toss them together and set aside for marination for 30 min.
  • Wash rice & soak in 400 ml of water and set aside.
  • Slice onion lengthwise & dice tomatoes.
  • Grind all ingredients for biryani masala into a smooth paste without adding water.

Cooking Procedure:

  • Heat a heavy bottom pressure cooker with oil in medium flame.
  • Add bay leaf & cinnamon stick and fry for 5 seconds.
  • Add sliced onion, cashew nuts and raisins.
  • Saute until onion slices turn translucent.
  • Add turmeric powder & red chilli powder and fry for 10 seconds.
  • Add diced tomatoes and ground masala together. *
  • Add salt (¼ tsp) and saute until they turn mushy & oil begins to ooze out.
  • Now add marinated chunks & salt (¼ tsp) and saute until they are soft & infused with masala.
  • Pour water used for soaking into the cooker and bring it to a boil in high flame.
  • Add soaked rice and salt (½ tsp).
  • Close the pressure cooker and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • When the pressure is released, pour (1 tsp) of ghee over the cooked rice and close the cooker for 5 min allowing the aroma of ghee nicely permeated into biryani.
  • Mix gently with a wooden spatula.
  • Transfer to a hot casserole.
  • Serve warm biryani with onion raitha.

* If tomatoes & ground masala (like ginger-garlic paste) added together, moisture in tomatoes prevents the masala stick to the pan.


124 Comments Add yours

  1. Anamika says:

    Keep on posting veg recipes. It’s truly healthy and mouth watering

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much for encouraging words.

  2. My Real Dish says:

    Do you think I could use canned jackfruit? I love jackfruit as a meat sub!

    1. Megala says:

      I think you can, it might affect the taste marginally but definitely not the texture. Thank you.

  3. Rita says:

    Megala, I have also heard soya chunks substitute meat but jack fruit is totally new.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, do try sometime. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. Doni W says:

    I love Biriyani! 😀
    My uncle has many jackfruit trees heheh 🙂
    This looks so yummy!
    Your posts are very detailed and step-to-step, keep it up Ms Megala 🙂

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks, Doni, for your kind appreciation. 🙂

      1. Doni W says:

        My pleasure, Ms Megala 🙂

  5. Lady Oscar says:

    same here… I have only little idea why people crave meats. Sometimes, I even feel strange when I smell meats while eating with other friends… Is it normal that a vegetarian is not used to the smell of meats and animal products? it doesn’t bother me too much… only sometimes.

    1. Megala says:

      Glad that you could resonate with me. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

      1. Lady Oscar says:

        Thank you for nice recipes!
        I enjoy reading your posts and (more often) cooking in your recipes. ^^

      2. Megala says:

        I’m doubly delighted, thanks a ton!

  6. foodzesty says:

    I have never heard or ever seen a Jackfruit :0 Thanks so much once again for so more information that I will read up on 🙂

    1. Megala says:

      I wish you could stumble upon this delicious fruit sometime soon. 🙂 Thank you.

      1. foodzesty says:

        Awww thank you Megala I hope so too. 🙂

  7. gohealthy says:

    Hi Megala, raw jackfruit as meat substitute is something new I’ve learnt today! Will definitely try and let you know!

    1. Megala says:

      Glad to hear this, thank you.

  8. This looks delicious 🙂 My mum used to make jackfruit curry and we loved it.

    1. Megala says:

      Oh, nice to hear this. Thank you.

  9. Nirathya says:

    Meghana loved it. looks drooling 🙂 :yum:

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you. 🙂

  10. PS says:

    WOw, great informative post. Good to know the usage of Jack fruit in place of meat.Nicely done!!!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you.

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