Lamb biryani

Deliciously aromatic.

  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
  • Print
This version of a classic indian mixed rice dish combines heart-warming lamb with a blend of aromatic spices. It makes a great Sunday family meal, and possibly even leftovers for an easy weeknight dinner.
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Lamb biryani
  • 1.5 kilogram boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 5 piece (25g) fresh ginger, grated finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small fresh red chillies, chopped finely
  • 3 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • large pinch ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (280g) thick yoghurt
  • 80 gram ghee (clarified butter) or butter
  • 1 cup (140g) flaked almonds
  • 1/3 cup (55g) sultanas
  • 3 large (600g) brown onions, sliced thickly
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 gram basmati rice, washed, drained
  • large pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoon hot milk
  • fresh coriander leaves, for serving


Lamb biryani
  • 1
    Combine lamb, ginger, garlic, chillies, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and yoghurt in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • 2
    Heat half the ghee in a large, heavy based saucepan; fry the almonds and sultanas until browned lightly, remove from pan with a slotted spoon.
  • 3
    Heat remaining ghee in the same pan; add onion, cook, covered, over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Remove lid, cook for a further 5 minutes or until onions are lightly browned. Remove half onion mixture from pan.
  • 4
    Add lamb mixture to onion in pan, cook, stirring, until lamb is browned lightly. Add water; bring to boil, then simmer; covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove lid, simmer, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, cook the rice in boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes or until half-cooked; drain.
  • 6
    Combine the saffron and milk in a small bowl, stand for 15 minutes.
  • 7
    Preheat the oven to moderate (180°c/160°C fan-forced). Spread half the lamb mixture into a greased ovenproof dish (3.5 litre/14-cup capacity), top with half the rice, then remaining lamb and rice. Drizzle saffron and milk mixture over the rice; cover tightly with greased foil and lid. Bake in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • 8
    Serve biryani topped with reheated reserved onions, almond mixture and extra coriander leaves. Suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.


Biryani is cooked with meat, chicken or fish, but can also be vegetarian.

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