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Lamb Biryani Recipe
by Jim DeForest

Lamb Biryani

This rice/lamb dish is the centerpiece of any grand festive event. This last Xmas my daughter, grand daughter and I also cooked the following for eleven family members. As I go I will be posting recipes for all these dishes plus a suggested preparation and cooking schedule. jBear with me, it may take a few days to get it all done.



Biryani – A traditional Lamb and Rice casserole prepared for special feast days Throughout India.

Tandoor Chicken – Seasoned chicken pieces, marinated in Yoghurt and typically cooked over charcoal at very high heat in a clay oven called a Tandoor. (We cooked ours on the grill)


Saag Paneer -- A highly seasoned spinach, cheese and cream dish served with almosmost all meals in Indian restaurants in the US.

Aloo Gobi -- Seasoned cauliflower and potatoes. Probably the most popular potato dish in India.

Til ke Aloo – Potatoes with sesame and mustards seeds.


Akhrote ka raita – Yoghurt with walnuts and cilantro. Refreshing accompaniment to lamb and vegetables.

Tamarind Chutney – A great complement to Tandoor Chicken.

Keer ka raita -- A cooling cumber accompaniment to any Indian food.

Chucumber -- Indian cucumber and onion salad.


Naan (Purchased form the local grocery and heated before serving)

Papadam (purchased from the grocery and microwaved)


Baklawa – A honey and nut dessert found throughout India and the Mideast/Mediterranean.

Halwa -- A semolina and nut based dessert also common in India and the Mideast/Mediterranean..

Rating: 4/5
Avg. 4/5 1 vote
Prep time: United States American
Cook time: Servings: 12


  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 2 C rice
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 2 tbl milk
  • 3 onions
  • 2 tbl garlic paste
  • 1 tbl ginger paste
  • 5 tbl almond slivers
  • 2/3 C water
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 4 tbl Sultana raisins
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs lamb stew meat.
  • 1 C yoghurt
  • 2/3 C water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardomon seeds
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp red indian pepper (more if you like it spicier)
  • 4 qt water
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 2 tbl ghee


  1. Prep:
  2. I always prep my rice the night before I cook a Biryani. I wash my rice until it runs clear. Put it into a bowl with the salt and water and soak for 2-3 hours. Drain and put in a covered container in the fridge until the next morning when you take it out first thing and allow to return to room temp.
  3. Warm the milk and put saffron in. Let it soak at least 3 hours.
  4. Put one onion, 2 tbl almonds, 3 tbl water in the food processor and make a paste. Place in a bowl with the ginger and garlic. Set aside until needed.
  5. Slice 2 onions into very thin rings.
  6. Put the raisins and remaining almonds in separate prep bowls.
  7. Grind the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. Put in a prep bowl along with the red pepper.
  8. Put the yoghurt and ghee in separate prep bowls.
  9. Put the Lamb in a large bowl and get a second bowl ready to hold the browned lamb.
  10. Cooking:
  11. Cook the onion rings in 6 tbl oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat until brown and crispy. Set aside in a bowl lined with paper towels.
  12. Heat the raisins in the dutch oven about 1 - 1 1/2 min and set aside on paper towels.
  13. Brown the almonds and set aside on paper towels.
  14. Brown the lamb without crowding in batches. Hold the browned meat in a separate bowl.
  15. Add an additional 6-7 tbl oil, turn the heat to medium and brown the onion, almond, garlic, ginger paste.
  16. Return the meat to the dutch oven.
  17. Add the yoghurt a little at a time stirring all the while.
  18. Add salt and water. Stir and simmer, covered over low heat for 30 min.
  19. Add the spices and cook another 30 min.
  20. Pre-heat the oven to 300 Degrees
  21. Uncover, raise the heat back to medium and reduce to about 1 C of thick gravy .
  22. Spread the meat evenly over the bottom, cover and take off the heat.
  23. Bring water and salt to a boil, add room temp rice, boil 6-7 min and drain.
  24. Build a mound of rice on top of the meat in the dutch oven. Make a vent hole in the center of the rice mound. Drizzle the yellow milk around the sides of the rice. Dot the mound with ghee. Sprinkle a couple of tbl browned onions over the whole. Seal with aluminum foil and cover tightly.
  25. Bake in the oven for one hour.
  26. I like to serve it on a large platter. Using a wide spatula, I pull out the rice, trying not to disturb the yellow striations on the rice as much as pjossible and place it in the center of the platter. I line the edges of the platter with the meat and sauce. Then sprinkle the remaining browned onions and sultana raisins over the top.