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Lamb Biryani


Saffron strands – pounded
½ tsp
Boiling milk
Ghee or unsalted butter
Cassia bark or cinnamon stick (5 cm)
1 piece
Green cardamom pods – split the top of each pod to release flavour
Black pepper corns
10 to 12
Bay leaves
Large onion – finely sliced
Garlic paste
1 tbsp
Ginger paste
1 tbsp
Ground cumin
1 tbsp
Ground coriander
1 tbsp
¼ tsp or to taste
Natural yoghurt
Boned leg of lamb – cut into 5cm cubes
1 kg
Basmati rice – washed and drained
Almonds – toasted flaked

Soak the pounded saffron in the hot milk and set aside.

In a heavy-based saucepan (large enough to hold the meat and rice together), melt the ghee or butter over a low heat and sizzle the cassia or cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves for 15-20 seconds.

Add the onions and increase the heat to medium. Stir and fry the onions for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, stir and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then add the spices and chilli.

Stir and cook for 12 minutes. Add the salt, yoghurt, meat and half the saffron milk. Stir to distribute well and switch off the stove.

Put the rice in a pan with plenty of hot water and 2tsp salt. Bring to the boil for 1 minute. Drain the rice and pile it on top of the meat. Drizzle the remaining saffron milk on the rice.

Soak a large piece of grease-proof paper and squeeze out the water.
Spread this on top of the rice. Now soak a clean tea towel, squeeze out the water and spread it on top of the grease-proof paper. Put the lid on the pan.

Now seal the top of the saucepan with a large piece of kitchen foil so that no steam can escape. Place the pan over a very low heat and cook for 1 hour.

Use a heat diffuser if necessary and do not peep during cooking! Remove the biryani from the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Stir it gently with a fork to mix the meat and the rice and serve immediately, garnished with the toasted flaked almonds.