How to Prepare Authentic Lamb Biryani

Biryani is a pot filled with your favorite meat or vegetable curry topped with soft and fluffy cooked rice.

How to Prepare Authentic Lamb Biryani

What is Biryani

Biryani is a mixed rice dish popular throughout the Indian subcontinent. It is prepared with meat, long-grain basmati rice, and flavorful herbs and spices including saffron, cinnamon, and cloves.

What you need to know about cooking Biryani

The strongly spiced mixed rice dish known as "biryani" is one of the most well-known and well-liked of all Indian cuisines. Biryani comes in a variety of variations; the main components in all of them are long-grain basmati rice, exotic spices, vegetables, and various types of meat like chicken, lamb/mutton, beef, goat, or fish.

For those who want to make their biryani from scratch, the process entails marinating meats and combining home-made spices, which may make the cooking process rather labor-intensive

Here are some simple step-by-step directions on how to make this delicious lamb biryani;


2½ cups long-grain white basmati rice, divided

1kg lamb chops, chopped into large chunks

3 medium onions - peeled and thinly sliced

1½ cups oil

1 whole cinnamon stick

5 whole green cardamom

6 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

6 cloves garlic - minced

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon mild chili powder

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 cup plain full-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 whole green cardamom

2 bay leaves

½ cinnamon stick

½ cup cilantro - chopped

¼ cup fresh mint leaves - chopped

1 lemon - juiced

1 teaspoon good-quality saffron - soaked in 3 tbsp. of hot water or warm milk

4 tablespoon melted butter or ghee - (optional)


Begin by frying the onions, for best results, try to slice your onions super thin. This will help them get nice and crispy and will also help them cook faster.

Heat the oil in a large, wide frying pan with high sides over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions in a single layer then fry until golden, light brown, and crispy.

When done remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels and repeat until all onions have been fried.

Set onions aside and strain leftover oil for use in later recipes.

Transfer the cinnamon stick, whole green cardamom, whole cloves, bay leaves, black cumin, and black pepper to a nut or spice grinder. Grind completely. Set aside.

Combine the minced ginger, garlic, salt, mild chili powder, ground turmeric, and full-fat yogurt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the ground biryani spices and mix well to combine. Add the lamb pieces to the marinade then use your hands to thoroughly mix and coat the entire surface of the meat.

Add approximately a third of the fried onions to the marinated meat and mix again. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator then allow marinating for at least 2-3 hours.

Start the rice about 90 minutes before you want to serve the biryani. Place 1/2 cup of rice in a medium bowl and cover with approximately 3 cups of cold water. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Thoroughly wash the remaining cups of basmati rice in several changes of cold water, or until the water runs nearly clear. Drain well.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil, and whole spices. Once boiling, immediately add the rinsed rice. Stir and reduce heat to low.

Cook until all the water is absorbed, this will only take approximately 5-10 minutes. Do not cover and steam the rice as it is supposed to cook halfway.

Immediately remove from heat and gently fluff with a fork then transfer to a new, larger pan then set aside.

Remove the marinating lamb pieces from the refrigerator and transfer them to a heavy-bottomed, large pot.

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and fresh mint over the lamb. Top with half of the remaining fried onions and drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

Drain and rinse the remaining 1/2 cup of soaking basmati rice. Spread over the fried onion layer. This uncooked rice will help absorb much of the steam/moisture from the cooking lamb, preventing it from making the par-cooked rice too soggy.

Spread the par-cooked basmati rice over the top of the uncooked white rice and drizzle with the prepared saffron water.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place 1-2 sheets of aluminum foil over your cooking pot and place the lid directly on top to prevent any steam from escaping.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for approximately 45-60 minutes then remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before gently mixing the rice and lamb.

Serve and enjoy.


Biryani gets its name from the Persian word birian, which means “fried before cooking”. The benefit of this rice is that it absorbs all the lovely tastes and spices while it steams on low heat over the delightfully flavored, marinated meat.