Step 1: 1) Wash rice and drain well in a colander. Grind together cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds. Heat ghee in a pan and saute the ground spices and bay leaves for few seconds. Add rice and saute at low heat for about 7-8 minutes or until the grains turn crisp. Do not allow the grains to change colour. In a heavy bottomed vessel add coconut milk, water, lemon juice and salt and bring to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to simmer and cook with a closed lid till done and water is absorbed. Remove from heat and keep aside.
Step 2: 2) Marinate mutton with ingredients mentioned under meat. Keep aside for 35-40 minutes. Cook the marinated mutton in a pressure cooker till tender.
Step 3: 3) Grind ginger, garlic, green chillies and poppy seeds together. Keep aside.
Heat ghee in a pan and saute onions till it turns brown. Add the ground paste and saute till raw smell goes. Add chopped tomatoes and saute till mushy. Add curd, cooked mutton, chicken masala and salt along with the water oozed out while cooking mutton. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add coriander leaves and mint leaves. Cook till the water is absorbed. Do not make it completely dry. Remove from heat and keep aside.
Step 4: Heat about 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown. Add little sugar while frying to give the caramelized flavour. Remove from heat and keep aside. Add more ghee and fry cashews and raisins. Remove from heat. Dissolve saffron strands in 2 tbsp warm water.
Step 5: In an oven safe dish greased with ghee add some prepared gravy at the bottom.
Put some cooked rice as a layer on top of the meat gravy. Sprinkle fried onions, cashews, raisins and saffron water on top of this. This forms a layer. Repeat with any number of layers you wish to have depending on the quantity of meat and gravy.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 350 F(180 C). After the preheat mode place the dish in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Serving: For serving the biriyani you need to slice through the layers at one go to get a serving size. Repeat the process. Serve with tomato-cucumber raita and hot lemon tea(believe me, this is a great combo!).