Traditional recipes

Lamb biryani recipe

Lamb biryani recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Curry
  • Curry by cuisine

Biryani is an Indian meat and rice dish, all rolled into one. This dish is a huge hit at dinner parties.

205 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 460g basmati rice
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 black cardamom pods
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic puree
  • 1 tablespoon ginger puree
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 450g lamb chops
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 green chillies, halved lengthways
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.8 litres water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr25min

  1. Place the basmati rice in a large container and cover with several centimetres of cold water; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium hear; fry the cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks in the hot oil until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions; cook and stir until the onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir the garlic puree and ginger puree into the onion mixture; cook until the garlic and ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Sprinkle the coriander and mint over the mixture and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Add the lamb chops to the frying pan; season with salt. Cook and stir the lamb until the meat begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir the tomatoes, green chillies and cayenne pepper into the mixture; continue cooking until the oil begins to separate from the gravy, about 10 minutes. Add the yogurt and lemon juice; cover and cook until the lamb is tender, about 15 minutes. Add water as needed to keep the mixture from getting too dry.
  5. Bring the rice, 1.8 litres water and 1 teaspoon salt to the boil in a saucepan until the rice is still a little chewy, 10 to 15 minutes; drain any excess water.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small frying pan; fry the sliced onion in the hot oil until lightly browned.
  7. Layer about half the rice in the bottom of a deep pot with a lid. Spoon the lamb masala over the rice. Spread the fried onion over the lamb masala. Top with the remaining rice. Stir the saffron and warm milk together in a small bowl; pour over the top layer of rice. Cover the pot with the lid and place the pot over low heat; cook until the rice is thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(34)

Reviews in English (27)

Absolutely loved it! This is guaranteed to become a regular.-01 Apr 2018

Gorgeous!-17 Mar 2018

Love this recipe always refer back to it when making biryani. It's far better than any packet mix!-10 Jun 2016

Lamb biryani from Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey: 150 New Recipes Evoking the Flavours of the Far East by Rick Stein

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  • saffron
  • shallots
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • sultanas
  • basmati rice
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • cumin seeds
  • ghee
  • green cardamom pods
  • rosewater
  • aloo Bokhara
  • blanched almonds
  • Kashmiri chiles
  • blade mace
  • cardamom pods
  • lamb loin chops

Always check the publication for a full list of ingredients. An Eat Your Books index lists the main ingredients and does not include 'store-cupboard ingredients' (salt, pepper, oil, flour, etc.) - unless called for in significant quantity.

What Is Biryani?

Biryani is a South Asian one-pot dish in which lamb, mutton, beef, chicken, seafood, or a mixture of vegetables is layered with rice. The layering technique is what differentiates biryani from other rice dishes, like a pilaf or pulao.

There are a couple of different ways to prepare biryani. Sometimes the raw meat is cooked with the rice this is called the "kacchi" method (kacchi is Hindi for "raw"). In others, the meat is cooked separately, as I do in this recipe this is called the "pakki" method (pakki is Hindi for "cooked"). Regardless of the method, aromas are infused into the meat and the rice using a combination of spices, herbs, and extracts, while saffron threads and turmeric add bright hues of orange and yellow to the otherwise white backdrop of long-grain rice. The result is a highly aromatic and colorful dish of meat and rice. There are a lot of variations of biryani—like Bombay biryani, Hyderbadi biryani, etc.—as recipes and taste preferences can be quite different from region to region and even household to household.

Lamb Biryani

Biryani is a spiced rice and meat dish that is wildly popular in Pakistan. Muslim travelers and merchants brought it to the Indian subcontinent. Though I didn’t grow up eating this dish, my husband frequently ate it after nights out drinking. The first time I made lamb biryani, I immediately thought of shepherd’s pie and that this is the South Asian version of that dish, with rice replacing the potatoes. The combination of rice, meat, and vegetables in one makes this dish comforting, delicious, and convenient.

Notes Slow cooker size: 4- or 5-quart medium

To make this dish in a 3½-quart slow cooker, halve all the ingredients and proceed with the recipe. A half recipe makes 4 cups (946 mL).

Can these recipes be made on the stovetop?

Absolutely. Just keep in mind that when cooking on the stove, you’ll use a quarter more water because liquids evaporate. So, if a slow cooker recipe requires 4 cups of water, use 5 cups when making it on the stovetop. Also, though you can keep your pot at a low simmer on the stovetop, you still always want to keep an eye on it to prevent drying and burning. If food-especially beans and other legumes-starts to dry out, just add more water and continue to cook.

The rule in the land of slow cookers is usually never to open the lid while cooking for fear of losing critical heat and slowing down the cooking process. This may be true, but I have a tough time following the rules myself. Also, there are some dishes, such as Curried Spinach with Homemade Cheese (Palak Paneer), that need to be stirred during cooking. Know that the cooking times cited in my recipes reflect my inability to keep the lid shut, so to speak. Just do your best to limit peeking. A good rule-of-thumb is to add about 5 minutes of cooking time for every time you lift the lid.

Lamb Biryani

1/2 cup plain Yogurt
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshground black Pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons Salt
1 pound boneless lamb cut into 1/2inch cubes
3 tablespoons Butter
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 cloves
1 Cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 1/2 cups long grain rice, preferably basmati
2 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup Raisins
1/3 cup chopped cashew nuts

In a medium bowl, combine the Yogurt with the Garlic, cayenne, Cumin, black Pepper, and teaspoon of the salt. Stir in the lamb.
In a large saucepan, melt the Butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cardamom, turmeric, Cloves, Cinnamon, rice, and the remaining 1 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the lamb mixture to the pan.
Stir in the water and raisins. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the rice and lamb are almost done, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, until the rice and lamb are just done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cashews.

Indian Lamb Biryani Recipe

Adapted from many sources but mostly from 600 Curries by Raghavan Lyer

Sumptuous casserole of tender lamb curry with saffron spiced rice with cucumber-mint raita on the side.

  • Author:Lisa
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 - 8 1 x
  • Category: Main Course - Dinner
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed off, cut into 1 -inch cubes
  • MARINADE INGREDIENTS for the lamb:
  • 5 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger root (5-inch by 2 inch piece or something comparable.)
  • 6 &ndash 7 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoons )
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A few grinds of fresh ground black pepper
  • SOAKING THE RICE Ingredients:
  • 2 cups basmati rice (Indian is best)
  • CURRY SAUCE Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red or yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (sweet, not hot)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Ingredients for PRE-COOKING THE RICE
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) of saffron threads (about 1 gram or . 04 ounces )
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out with a spoon, and grated or finely chopped.
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves (plus some for garnish, if you like)
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan over high heat for a few seconds, until fragrant (if you&rsquore short on time, you can use 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. MARINATE THE LAMB: Put the chopped ginger and garlic into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times. Scrape down the sides. Add 3-4 tablespoons of water. Pulse until you get a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. (If you do this in your blender, add the water right away &ndash expect lots of scraping down the sides) In a medium sized bowl mix the lamb with the garlic-ginger paste, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour or so. (more is fine)
  2. RINSE and SOAK the RICE: Put rice in a large bowl. Fill the bowl halfway with cold water. Swish rice around for a few seconds and pour off the cloudy water. Repeat 3 or 4 times, until the water is fairly clear. Cover rice with cold water by 2 inches and set it aside to soften for an hour. Drain.
  3. START THE SAUCE: While the lamb is marinating and the rice is soaking, start the sauce. In a large heavy pot or a deep skillet with a cover, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are nicely browned and caramelized &ndash about 15 minutes. Regulate the heat so they don&rsquot burn. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Transfer them to a large plate or bowl and set aside. (no need to clean the pot yet &ndash keep it out to brown the lamb)
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl: tomato sauce, cayenne, paprika, salt, turmeric and garam masala. Set aside while you brown the lamb.
  5. BROWN THE LAMB: In the pot you used for the onions, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add half the lamb with its garlic-ginger coating, and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the pieces are browned on all sides. Transfer to the plate with the onions. Brown the rest of the lamb, adding more oil, if necessary. Once the second batch of lamb is browned, return the other lamb and the onions back to the pot. Pour in the sauce. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release the browned bits of lamb into the sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the lamb is nice and tender. Remove from the heat.
  6. PRECOOK THE RICE: While the lamb is simmering, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add the spices: cumin seeds, cardamom pods, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Cook until they sizzle a bit and you can smell the cumin toasting &ndash about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the saffron and cook stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the saffron releases its color and aroma. Add the drained rice and toss to coat. Pour in 2 cups cold water and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes, uncovered &ndash until all the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
  7. ASSEMBLE THE BIRYANI for baking Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread half the lamb curry in the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish. Cover with half the rice. Repeat the layers. Cover the casserole with the lid or with a double layer of foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve with cucumber raita (see below)
  8. CUCUMBER RAITA: Combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  9. *Note: The bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods are not meant to be eaten. Remove them or tell people to be on the lookout for them.

Keywords: Lamb Biryani, Indian Lamb and Rice Casserole

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Ingredients [ edit | edit source ]

Here is what you need to make Lamb Biryani for two very generous servings:

  • around 300 grams of leg of lamb - chopped into small pieces.
  • the usual chunks of frozen pulped garlic, ginger and chile from your freezer.
  • 2 teaspoons salt.
  • 1 teaspoon haldi (turmeric)
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 dessert spoons of plain natural yoghurt
  • a few dashes of vinegar
  • 2 medium onions - chopped along the grain - long
  • 4 smallish tomatoes - deseeded and chopped relatively finely
  • 4 mediumish white mushrooms - chopped finely
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 mug of basmati rice


This Lamb Biryani recipe is inspired by my mum. It is a typical South African style biryani with infused flavours.

Biryani otherwise called biriyani or biriani, is a blended rice dish with its origins among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is mainstream all through the subcontinent & among the diaspora from the area. It is made with flavors, rice, meat &/or vegetables.

This meal can be prepared using long grain basmati rice or parboiled rice.

South Africans usually prepare biryanis’ with parboiled rice.

“Biryani” is a Urdu word got from the Persian dialect, which was utilized as an official dialect as a part of various parts of medieval India, by different Islamic administrations.

Lamb Biryani Ingredients:

  • ½ kg lamb or mutton
  • 2 onions
  • 2 teaspoons ginger & garlic paste
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 star aniseeds
  • cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon jeera (cumin) powder
  • 2 teaspoons dhania (coriander) powder
  • 1 teaspoon jeera (cumin) seeds
  • 1 teaspoon soomph (fennel) seeds
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon elachi (cardamom) powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • ½ cup sourmilk (maas)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 cup biryani dhall (masoor)
  • yellow food coloring (egg yellow)
  • 2 ½ cups rice
  • 1 cup chopped mint
  • 1 cup chopped dhania (coriander)
  • few dollops of butter
  1. Make sure the meat is defrosted.
  2. Cut into chunks, rinse & place into a bowl.
  3. To the lamb or mutton, add salt to taste, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, garam masala, dhania (coriander) powder, jeera (cumin) powder, chili powder, elachi (cardamom) powder (note, I do not use whole elachi (cardamom) pods as I find the powder to be just as good in flavour & this also prevents biting into the pods whilst eating, however you may use the pods if preferred), ginger & garlic paste, 3 sprigs thyme, fresh mint, fresh dhania (coriander) & sour milk (maas).
  4. Mix well using your hands.
  5. Cover & allow the meat to marinate for up to an hour or longer. (It tastes even better if it marinates overnight in the refrigerator).
  6. Place the biryani dhall (masoor) into a small bowl. Remove any blemishes or stones.
  7. Rinse a few times.
  8. Add the biryani dhall (masoor) to a small pot, fill the pot with water & add a teaspoon of oil.
  9. Bring the biryani dhall (masoor) to a boil on medium heat until soft but not mushy.
  10. Once the biryani dhall (masoor) is soft, drain the excess water out.
  11. Empty into a bowl & set aside until ready to use.
  12. Add the rice to a bowl.
  13. Rinse the rice until water runs clear.
  14. Add the rice to a medium pot. Fill the pot with water & place on the stove-top on medium heat.
  15. Bring the rice to a boil.
  16. When you notice a lot of starch build-up (white foam) on the rice, empty out the water, give the rice a quick rinse & fill with more water. This step can be skipped, if you prefer a more sticky, starchier rice. I tend to rinse mine as I do not like it too starchy.
  17. Place the pot back onto the heat & add in 2 bay leaves, 1 star aniseed, ½ cinnamon stick & salt to taste.
  18. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  19. Mix & boil until soft.
  20. Once the rice is cooked, drain in a colander & set aside.
  21. Peel both onions. Chop 1 onion & cut the other onion into rings.
  22. Peel & cut potatoes into quarters.
  23. Place the potatoes into a microwave safe bowl & steam for 4 minutes.
  24. Once the potatoes have steamed, add in ¼ teaspoon yellow food colouring (egg yellow).
  25. Place the potatoes into a pot of hot shallow oil.
  26. Fry the potatoes until soft & golden.
  27. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat & set aside.
  28. In the same oil that the potatoes were frying in, add in the onion rings.
  29. Fry the onions until golden.
  30. Remove onions from heat & set aside.
  31. Blend or grate tomatoes & set aside.
  32. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot. Add in the chopped onion, ½ cinnamon stick, 1 star aniseed, jeera (cumin) seeds, soomph (fennel) seeds, 2 bay leaves, curry leaves & 3 sprigs thyme.
  33. Mix & simmer until onions are translucent.
  34. Thereafter, add in the marinated lamb or mutton.
  35. Mix well & allow the meat to cook for 10 minutes so that it seals in the spices.
  36. After 10 minutes, add in the blended or grated tomatoes & salt to taste.
  37. Mix well & allow to cook for 30 minutes until the meat is cooked throughout. Add water if necessary.
  38. Once the meat is cooked, turn off the heat..
  39. Add the rice from the colander into a bowl.
  40. Add in a few drops of yellow food colouring (egg yellow) & mix well.
  41. Next, add the cooked biryani dhall (masoor) to the rice.
  42. Mix well.
  43. Add a little of the rice to the meat & mix.
  44. Continue this process until you have a little of the rice left behind.
  45. The extra rice will be used in the end, so keep about a cup of the cooked rice aside.
  46. Tuck the fried potatoes into the meat/rice mixture.
  47. Spread over the extra rice that was left aside.
  48. Spread the fried onions over.
  49. Garnish with dhania (coriander).
  50. Add a few dollops of butter here & there.
  51. Cover with the lid & steam in the oven for 20 minutes at 180° Celsius.
  52. Plate & serve.
  53. Serve this Lamb Biryani with pea dhall, curried dhall, carrot salad, carrot sour milk salad or pickles.
  54. This Lamb Biryani stores in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Method 3 &ndash Mutton biryani in cooker

Easy mutton biryani recipe in pressure cooker. Though mutton dum biryani is one of the most loved by biryani lovers, it is indeed a bit time consuming task which has to be prepared very carefully. I had some readers requests for this easy mutton biryani in pressure cooker recipe, so sharing it here. This is similar to the Chicken biryani in cooker.

Most restaurants serve mutton biryani that is not dum cooked. They usually cook rice and meat together or sometimes the gravy is kept separate and biryani rice separate. They just mix and layer the gravy and biryani rice as and when they get orders. This recipe is an exact replica of what we get in most South Indian good restaurants. Mutton is cooked to soft first and then rice is cooked with the meat.