Lamb biryani

Biryani are some of the most elaborate of Indian rice dishes synonymous with the Moghul emperors. Lamb, rice and spices are layered in this fragrant one-pot dish. Start the recipe a day ahead.

  • 3 hrs cooking
  • Serves 8
  • Print


Lamb biryani
  • 1.5 kilogram (3 pounds) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2cm (¾-inch) cubes
  • 5 centimetre (2-inch) piece fresh ginger (25g), grated finely
  • 3 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 fresh red bird's-eye chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 cup (280g) greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 3 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 80 gram (2½ ounces) ghee (clarified butter) or butter
  • 1 cup (140g) flaked almonds
  • 1/3 cup (55g) sultanas
  • 3 large_piece brown onions (600g), sliced thickly
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 500 gram (1 pound) basmati rice, rinsed large pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoon hot milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, extra


Lamb biryani
  • 1
    Combine lamb, ginger, garlic, chilli, yoghurt, coriander, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
  • 2
    Heat half the ghee in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat; fry almonds and sultanas until browned lightly. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.
  • 3
    Heat remaining ghee in same pan over medium heat; cook onion, covered, 5 minutes or until soft. Remove lid; cook another 5 minutes or until onion is browned lightly. Remove half the onion from pan.
  • 4
    Add lamb mixture to pan; cook, stirring, until lamb is browned lightly. Add the water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Remove lid; simmer, uncovered, a further 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. Season to taste.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, cook rice in a saucepan of boiling, salted water 5 minutes or until half-cooked; drain.
  • 6
    Combine saffron and milk in a small bowl; stand 15 minutes.
  • 7
    Preheat oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF.
  • 8
    Spread half the lamb mixture in an oiled 3.5-litre (14-cup) ovenproof dish; top with half the rice, then remaining lamb and rice. Drizzle saffron milk mixture over rice; cover tightly with oiled foil and lid. Bake 40 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • 9
    Serve biryani topped with reheated reserved onion, almond mixture and extra coriander.

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