Kashmiri Biryani- Rice & Lamb

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Biryani, is a mixed rice dish with its origins among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent and is a very popular dish in the region. It is prepared in other regions as well and you will find various recipes calling for chicken, goat, beef, prawn, fish, vegetables or eggs. Always made with lots of spices, meat of some type and of course rice there are many different regional and family recipes. Although the recipe may seem complicated at first glance it really isn't and can be adapted for the slow cooker or pressure cooker. This is a truly flavorful, aromatic and exotic dish.


For the marinade:

1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cups plain or greek yogurt
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoon Kosher flake sea salt
1 lemon, juice only

For the biryani:

2 lb. lamb from leg or shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
16 oz. basmati rice
½ lime, juice only
¼ tablespoon Kosher flake sea salt
5-6 tablespoon ghee, melted, or vegetable oil
1½ oz. raisins
2 oz. walnut halves
4 green cardamom pods
1 - 2 in cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 black cardamom pods 
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon Persian saffron strands preferably, soaked in 4 oz. warm milk
few drops rosewater
1 oz dried figs
1 oz. dried apricots
1oz. dried cranberries
¾ oz. fresh mint leaves


Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, add the meat and stir to coat. Cover and put in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes, or if possible overnight.

Meanwhile, wash the rice well, drain and then soak it for 20 minutes. Bring 10 1/2 cups of water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice, lime juice and salt and boil for 6 minutes, until the rice is two-thirds cooked. Drain the rice and spread it out on a tray to cool.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the ghee or vegetable oil in a wide, heavy-based Dutch oven. Add the raisins and fry for 30 seconds, or until they puff up, then remove them and drain on kitchen paper. Add the walnuts and fry for 30 seconds, then remove them and drain on kitchen paper.

Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon and bay to the Dutch oven and fry for 30–60 seconds. Add the cumin and black cardamom pods. Add the meat with its marinade and cook for 10–12 minutes over a high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the coriander, garam masala and 1 1/4 cup of water and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and some sauce still remains in the pan. Add a little more water, if needed.

To assemble, spread an even layer of the rice over the cooked meat and sauce, sprinkle the saffron milk, rose water, fried raisins and walnuts, cranberries and mint over the rice and add the remaining ghee on top.

Cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook over a medium–low heat for 10–15 minutes, until the dish is hot through. Set aside for another 5 minutes, then open the pot and serve.

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