The Only Lamb Biryani You Want To Make

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Ever wonder why lamb biryani is so special? Check out our recipe and try it out to find out how the aromatic spices and lamb make the rice so delicious.

Lamb biryani in white shallow bowl.

Lamb Biryani

Sharing this lamb biryani is something I should have done a long time ago. Simply because biryani using red meat is ever popular among Pakistani cuisines it’s a kind of must-have recipe in the collection. 

Although Pakistani food is rooted in Indian food, when it comes to meat dishes, Pakistani cooking has a big influence from the Indian Mughal way of cooking. 

Pakistani lamb biryani.

The Pakistanis love their meat and you will always find 70/30 dishes of meat and vegetables in a food spread.

This lamb biryani is no exception. It often makes an appearance among the food spread at occasions or gatherings.

When you try it, you’ll know why this dish is so loved. The aromatic savory lamb meat gives a deep flavor to the rice and it tastes comfortingly delicious.

Does it have to be lamb meat?

Well, if you have this biryani in Pakistan, chances are it will be biryani with goat meat. Because sheep only live in certain areas in Pakistan. Goats are more common livestock for the people. 

So really, you can always use any other red meat that you prefer. You can even use beef if that’s what you prefer.

Though I’d say you stick to lamb if you can. Because the lamb meat tastes better in this rice dish.

Lamb biryani.

Things you need to make the biryani

Forewarning, do not get discouraged or disheartened looking at the long list of ingredients you need to make this lamb biryani. 

Promise, most of them, if not all ingredients are things that you may already have in your kitchen. 

Ingredients for lamb biryani are lamb meat, basmati rice, brown onion, garlic, ginger, Kashmiri red chili powder/ Asian chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, ground black pepper, salt, cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon quill, potatoes, tomatoes, cooking oil, and water.

I think every item is quite self-explanatory. The only thing I would note is that for red chili powder, make sure you choose Asian/ Indian red chili powder if you can not get Kashmiri red chili powder. 

I prefer the latter because it has a more vibrant color and it tastes much better than the other chili powder.

As for potatoes, you can choose any type of salad potatoes. I like Charlotte or Jersey. 

And for the tomatoes, you can use tinned tomatoes if you don’t have fresh ones. One cup of tinned tomatoes is more than enough for this recipe.

Biryani rice in a white deep plate with cilantro leaves next to it.

Easy way to make lamb biryani

You will find making this biryani is so easy. I’ve tried to simplify the methods for any (if not all) recipes in this blog. I understand that life is so hectic already that you don’t want to spend ages in the kitchen trying to figure out how to cook one dish. Right?

In short, you need to cook the lamb masala and the rice separately before you put them together.

So, firstly, wash, rinse, and soak the rice. Set it aside. Then, let’s make the masala.

Fry the chopped onion until golden brown and add the minced garlic and ginger. Then add the meat in and brown the meat. 

Add the remaining spices, whole spices, and salt. Let it cook until it releases an aroma and the meat is coated with spices. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, and pour the water in. Leave to cook slowly at moderate low heat.

Just make sure you check the spice mixture every now and then to ensure that it doesn’t get burned at the bottom. 

It takes me an hour to properly slow-cook the lamb. 

About halfway through, add the potatoes to the masala. Let it slowly cook until the meat is tender, the potatoes are cooked, and the water turns into thick gravy.

Once you add the potatoes to the meat and you think the meat is ready in approximately 10 minutes, drain the rice and start cooking the rice in 5 cups of hot boiling water until al dente. 

When the rice is half cooked in al dente, drain and discard the water. 

Check and stir the meat. Make sure there is about one cup of gravy in the meat.

Place the rice over the meat and carefully spread it evenly. Then line the inside lid with a kitchen towel or kitchen paper and put the lid on. Cook the lamb biryani at low heat for about 12-15 minutes until steam comes out. 

Check the rice if it’s fully cooked, and gently stir around so that the masala will spread around the rice.

What do you serve your lamb biryani with?

This rice dish with aromatic spiced lamb is like a one-pot dish. You get your carbs and protein at the same time. So really, it doesn’t take anything else to enjoy the dish.

But, traditionally, the dish will be served with raita or dahi boondi. Basically any yogurt condiment. Then a simple salad will be put alongside the lamb dish. 

That is the common daily way to enjoy biryani.

However, on special occasions or gatherings, this lamb biryani may be served along with other dishes such as chicken karahi, achari chicken, aloo palak, etc. 

Pakistani biryani with lamb.

Storage matter

I must admit I am not keen on freezing rice unless I have no choice. But you can always freeze this lamb biryani for up to 2 months. 

My tip is, you can make the masala in bulk so that you can have biryani for some other time ‘freshly’. Freeze the meat masala, and when you need it you can reheat it and follow the steps of making the rice and putting it together with the masala.

And if you have leftovers by any chance and you know you can finish them in a few days time, you can keep your biryani rice in the refrigerator for up to a week.

More Pakistani rice recipes 

Thank you for checking out this lamb biryani recipe. I hope you will try it out soon. When you do, please share what you think about the recipe in the comments below. I really appreciate it.

Before you go, don’t forget to look at other rice recipes from my Pakistani kitchen that you may like. 

Lastly, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. To sneak a look at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Take care and all the best.

Lamb biryani in white shallow bowl.
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5 from 63 votes

Lamb Biryani Recipe

Ever wonder why lamb biryani is so special? Check out our recipe and try it out to find out how the aromatic spices and lamb make the rice so delicious.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Servings: 5 people

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Colander
  • 5 quarts Cooking pan

Ingredients

  • 1.3 pounds lamb meat cut in chunks (see the note).
  • 1 brown onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or pounded to paste
  • ½- inch ginger minced or pounded to paste
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder/ Asian red chili powder see the note
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 ground black pepper
  • 15 cloves
  • 10 green cardamom
  • ½- inch cinnamon stick/ quill
  • 1 cup natural yogurt beaten
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 5 small potatoes see the note, cut into big chunks
  • 3 tomatoes see the note
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • Wash, rinse, and soak the rice in plenty of water. Make sure every grain is submerged in the water. Set it aside.
  • On a cooking pan, fry the chopped onion until golden brown.
  • Add minced garlic and minced ginger to the onion. Give it a stir and cook further for about a minute before adding the meat.
  • Then add ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, ground black pepper, and salt.
  • Next, add the whole spices such as cloves, green cardamom, and cinnamon quill.
  • Put the chopped tomatoes into the meat and pour in the water. Give it a stir and leave it to cook for about half an hour with the lid on. Ensure you check it every now and then to make sure it doesn’t get burned at the bottom.
  • Add the potato chunks and give it a stir. Let it cook for about 15 minutes with the lid on.
  • Then add the beaten yogurt and stir well. Put the lid back on and continue cooking.
  • In the meantime, drain the rice and cook it in 5 cups of hot boiling water until it is al dente.
  • Once the meat masala is ready and the rice is half-cooked, drain the rice and discard the water.
  • Stir the masala and place the rice over the meat masala. Spread it evenly. Then line the inside lid with a kitchen towel or kitchen paper. Put the lid on and cook the masala and rice at moderately low heat for about 12-15 minutes or until the steam comes out.
  • Gently stir the rice to make sure the spice masala spreads around the rice.

Notes

  • I use the shoulder of lamb cut in small pieces. You can also use the leg of lamb. It is better to include some bones in the biryani masala. So we can get the savory and more flavor from the bone.
  • Please be mindful of the different levels of heat in chili powder. Some are hotter than others. If you’re not sure, you can check and taste your chili powder to make sure you put enough. And if you want to make sure your biryani is mild and not spicy so you can feed the littles, you can always replace red chili powder with paprika powder. Or, mix it half-half.
  • I find small waxy potatoes are best for biryani. My favorites are salad potatoes, Charlotte, and Jersey.
  • If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can substitute with tinned tomatoes. For this recipe, you need 1 cup of tinned tomatoes.

Nutrition

Serving: 200grams | Calories: 741kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 1077mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 746IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 5mg

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

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26 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t cook with lamb that often so I thought I would make this biryani for Sunday supper this weekend. The seasonings and flavors were perfect! Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. You’re most welcome. I’m super happy the recipe works for you.

  2. 5 stars
    I have never had lamb biryani before but decided to give it a try. It tasted incredible. The seasoning was perfect.

    1. Thank you. It makes me happy to know that you like it.

  3. I’ve always been wanting to try making biryani at home, my son loves lamb so I decided to give this recipe a try. it turned out amazing and so delicious!

    1. Aww…that’s fab. I’m so happy you all like this lamb biryani.

  4. 5 stars
    I usually cook
    Chicken biryani. I decided to try another protein and did a quick search and found your lamb biryani. We loved it.

    1. Oh that’s a good try. I’m glad it worked for you.

    2. 5 stars
      I have been trying to make new proteins, and this lamb turned out amazing! I don’t normally cook with lamb so the directions were so helpful and made it easy.

      1. Pheewww…I’m so glad this recipe worked for just when you decided to cook lamb.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for such a delicious and hearty dinner recipe full of flavor! Love trying new authentic dishes at home!

    1. You’re welcome. I’m happy that you like it.

  6. 5 stars
    This biryani recipe was absolutely spot on. Perfect for Sunday lunch. I used chicken in place of lamb and it turned out so good.

    1. Good for you. I’m so happy the recipe worked well.

  7. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how much flavor this Biryani has! The lamb and all the spices makes it amazing! My guy isn’t usually very adventurous with new flavors, but he gobbled this right up!

    1. I’m super happy that the recipe worked for both of you.

  8. 5 stars
    wow this was great. !!!
    my only mistake is I made the entire recipe. and it just me and my wife.
    thank you for sharing your story and culture.

    1. You’re most welcome. At least now you now that the recipe works for you. Next time, you can invite your friends over if you want to make the full recipe 🙂 Unless you remember to half it. All the best

  9. 5 stars
    This was amazing!!!!
    We love going out for Indian but I haven’t had much experience cooking Indian or Pakistani cuisine at home, but your instructions were easy to follow.
    My son asked for a biryani as his birthday dinner this year (it is one of his favs when we go out) so I found your recipe on pinterest and followed it exactly. It came out perfectly!!!
    The whole family was so impressed. I am going to try your Lamb koftas next as they are another fav of ours 🙂

    1. Happy belated birthday to your son. I’m chuffed that he likes the biryani, and your family. Thank you for sharing.

  10. 5 stars
    Biryani is one of my favorites choices at an Indian restaurant, so I was intrigued to try it at home! It had an amazing depth of flavor and came out so tasty.

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

  11. 5 stars
    Wow I loved how this dish came out, the cardamom was my favourite flavour in the biryani and the tenderness of the lamb was amazing.

    1. Yes, the lamb in this biryani is delicious, thanks to the spices and all.

  12. 5 stars
    Well you have to know this is my one weakness – I love Biryani but have never made it. Time I tried!

    1. Well, it’s a sign for you to try now 🙂

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