nasi biryani with lamb

Nasi Biryani with Spicy Lamb

There are many ways for preparing biryani. I like this particular method as it produces nicely fluffed up biryani rice that soaks up all the spicy lamb juices. It involves cooking the spicy lamb separately before baking with basmati rice. Here’s how.


  • LAMB:
    • 600 gm lamb (cut into chunks)
    • 2 tbsp rice bran oil
    • 3 tbsp fried onion
    • 3 cardamom pods
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 thumb size ginger (ground)
    • 4 cloves garlic (ground)
    • 1 chilli (sliced)
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
    • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
    • 1 tsp garam masala (see * below)
    • 3 tbsp yoghurt
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 2 tbsp fried onion
    • 6 mint leaves (shredded)
    • 10 coriander leaves (shredded)
    • 1 cardamom pod
    • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 4 cloves
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 star anise
    • 1 tbsp black pepper
    • 300 gm Basmati rice (wash and soak for 45 mins)
    • 2 tbsp salt
    • 1 tbsp rice bran oil
    • 1 tbsp fried onion
    • 6 coriander leaves
    • 6-8 mint leaves
    • 1 tsp turmeric


1. Make Garam Marsala :
Dry fry all the ingredients in a warm pan for 4-5 mins.
Grind to a fine powder.
Set aside 1 tsp for use in this recipe. Store the rest in the fridge for future use.

2. Cook the lamb :
Add oil to the pan.
When heated, add cardamom pods, cinnamon stick & bay leaves and fry for a minute or so.
Add lamb and brown on all sides.
Add ginger & garlic. Fry till fragrant.
Add turmeric, chilli powder, sweet paprika & garam marsala (see step 1) and fry for another minute.
Stir in the yoghurt and fry on low heat until the oil separates out.
Add 1 cup of water, turn the heat down and allow the lamb to simmer for the next 50 mins. until lamb becomes tender.

3. When lamb is tender, add salt to taste.
Remove lamb to an oven proof casserole pot and discard the cinnamon stick.
Add 120 ml of the cooking liquid.
Add lime juice, fried onion, mint & coriander leaves and stir well to combine. Set aside for the rice to be cooked.

4. When lamb is simmering, cook the rice :
Wash the rice and soak it in water for 45 mins.
Add 2 litres of water to a pot and bring it to the boil.
Stir in 2 tbsp of salt.
Drain the soaked rice and add to boiling water.
Boil for 4-5 mins until the rice is 75% cooked. Rice grain should break when pressed lightly.
Drain rice.

5. To the cooked lamb in the pot (see step 3), add drained rice (from step 4).
Sprinkle oil, fried onion, coriander leaves, mint leaves and turmeric over the rice.
Cover the pot with 2 layers of foil. Place over high heat for 2-3 mins until foil puffs up and steam begin to escape.
Put lid onto the foil and transfer the pot to the oven. Bake at 180°C for 20 mins. Alternatively, continue cooking on the stove by turning heat down to very low and cook for 20 mins.
Remove from oven or heat and allow biryani to stand, still covered for another 10 mins before serving.

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