- April 2008
- Serves 6
- Takes 55 min to make, 30-35 min in the oven, plus overnight marinating
The biryani – baked rice, usually layered with meat – first originated in the Moghul cuisine of the 16th-19th centuries. Here is our recipe for a fragrant lamb biryani.
- Gluten-free recipes
- 32.1g (17.6g saturated)
- 55.7g (7g sugar)
- 250ml natural yogurt
- 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g piece fresh ginger, grated
- ¼ tsp each ground cloves and ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
- 750g lamb leg steaks, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-size pieces
- 350g basmati rice
- 100ml milk
- 1 tsp saffron
- 75g ghee, plus extra 1 tbsp
- 2 large onions, finely sliced
- 1 long cinnamon stick, broken into 3 pieces
- 12 cardamom pods, cracked
- Crispy onions and chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
- Mix the yogurt, chilli, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and half the cumin and half the ground coriander in a bowl. Season well, then add the lamb and toss to coat. Cover, chill and marinate overnight.
- The next day, bring the marinated lamb up to room temperature. Rinse and soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Heat the milk until hot and stir in the saffron.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Heat 75g ghee in a wide pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute, then set aside.
- Put the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and a good pinch of salt in a saucepan, half-fill with water and bring to the boil. Add the rice, stir and return to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes, drain and mix into the onions.
- Melt the tablespoon of ghee in a deep, 3-litre flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid over a low heat. Spread a little of the rice in a thin layer on the bottom of the dish, then top with half the lamb and its marinade. Top with half the remaining rice, drizzle with half the saffron milk and sit the remaining lamb and its marinade on top. Spread the last of the rice on top and drizzle with the remaining saffron milk. Cover tightly with foil, then the lid, and turn up the heat for 30 seconds to build up steam. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the lamb and rice are tender – dig out a piece of lamb to check.
- Sprinkle the biryani with crispy onions and chopped coriander, then spoon onto warm serving plates. Serve with extra yogurt, Indian pickles and naan bread.
You can vary the lamb biryani recipe by using lean chicken pieces or tender beef steaks such as sirloin, cut into bite-size pieces.
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