Lamb Biryani recipe from the SBS Food Safari.


  • 700g basmati rice
  • 1 kg lamb, diced
  • 250g fine-chopped garlic
  • 200g fine-chopped ginger
  • 200g yoghurt
  • 500ml oil
  • 1 kg onions
  • 5 green chillies, sliced
  • 1 tbspn garam masala
  • 1 tbspn chilli powder
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • the juice of 2 lemons
  • 200g tomatoes
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves
  • 2 bunches mint leaves
  • 5g cardamom
  • 5g cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 litres water
  • 1 g saffron
  • 100g cashew nuts, fried
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g butter
  • 100g ghee
  • 1 tbpsn rose water
  • 1 litre milk


Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in water for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, marinate the lamb with the yoghurt, ginger, garlic and salt to taste. Keep aside for at least one hour.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and fry the onions till brown. Take out about 100g of fried onions and reserve for garnish.

Add the marinated lamb to the onions, plus garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric powder, half the lemon juice and diced tomatoes. Simmer, covered, over a low heat until the meat becomes tender. Add chopped mint and coriander, bay leaves, cloves and cardomom. This becomes the biryani masala.

Bring water to the boil, add salt and lemon juice, drain the soaked rice and add to the boiling water. When rice is half-cooked, drain.

Taking another heavy-bottomed cooking pot, layer the lamb biryani masala and the rice alternately, finishing with a layer of rice. Top with fried cashew nuts, sultanas, rose water, saffron, butter and the milk.

Cover with a cloth and seal tightly. Cook for at least 25 minutes over a slow fire. When steam emerges from the pot, remove from the heat and mix together.

Serves with sarlas (see recipe below) and lime pickle.


1 Spanish onion, sliced
1 sprig curry leaves,
20g chopped ginger
2 green chillies, chopped
200g yoghurt
Salt to taste
Mix the onion, curry leaves, ginger and chillies together, then add the yoghurt and salt to taste. Serve as a condiment with biryani.

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