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Savory Lamb Biryani – Fragrant Indian Rice Dish

Ti 1 hour Cook
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Biryani, a fragrant and flavorful Indian rice dish, is a culinary masterpiece that has delighted palates for centuries. This exquisite dish is a union of aromatic basmati rice, succulent lamb, and a symphony of spices. Its history traces back to ancient India, where it was believed to be a favorite among the Mughal emperors. Biryani has since traveled far and wide, delighting people across the globe. In this article, we’ll explore the preparation of Savory Lamb Biryani, a dish that will transport your taste buds to the heart of India.

Historical Context: The roots of biryani can be traced back to the Mughal Empire, where it was considered a princely dish. It was known for its rich flavors, use of aromatic spices, and tender meats. The word “biryani” itself is derived from the Persian word “birian,” which means ‘fried before cooking.’ The Mughals introduced this preparation method to India.

Over the centuries, biryani underwent regional variations in India. Each region put its own unique spin on the dish, resulting in numerous delectable versions. The Mughal influence is still prevalent, with the use of fragrant spices like saffron, cardamom, and cloves.


1. Marinate the Lamb:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, red chili powder, and salt.
  • Add the lamb chunks to the marinade and coat them thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for the best results.

2. Prepare the Rice:

  • Wash the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add the rice, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, and salt.
  • Cook the rice until it’s about 70% cooked (it should still have a slight bite). Drain and set aside.

3. Fry the Onions:

  • Heat a generous amount of ghee and vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  • Add the sliced onions and fry them until they turn golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove half of the fried onions for garnish and drain them on paper towels.

4. Cook the Marinated Lamb:

  • In the same pan with the remaining ghee and oil, add the marinated lamb.
  • Cook until the lamb is browned on all sides and nearly cooked through.
  • Remove the lamb from the pan and set it aside.

5. Layer the Biryani:

  • In the same pan, add a layer of half-cooked rice.
  • On top of the rice, add the cooked lamb, chopped tomatoes, green chilies, fresh coriander, and mint leaves.
  • Drizzle some saffron milk over the layer.
  • Add another layer of rice on top.

6. Dum Cooking:

  • Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid or seal it with aluminum foil to create a tight seal.
  • Place the pan on a low flame and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes.
  • This slow cooking process, known as “dum cooking,” allows the flavors to meld and the rice to absorb the aromas of the lamb and spices.

7. Garnish and Serve:

  • After 20-25 minutes, remove the biryani from the heat.
  • Gently fluff the rice with a fork, mixing in the layers.
  • Garnish with the reserved fried onions.
  • Serve your Savory Lamb Biryani hot with raita (yogurt dip) or a side salad.

Conclusion: Savory Lamb Biryani is a timeless classic, where the art of spice and marination meets the perfection of dum cooking. This fragrant Indian rice dish has a rich history that has evolved into countless regional variations, each with its unique charm. Whether enjoyed at a grand banquet or a cozy family dinner, the aroma and flavor of biryani continue to captivate food enthusiasts worldwide. With its tantalizing blend of spices, tender lamb, and aromatic rice, this biryani recipe is sure to become a beloved addition to your culinary repertoire. So, prepare your ingredients, fire up the stove, and embark on a culinary journey that will transport your taste buds to the heart of India.


prep time
30 minutes
cooking time
Ti 1 hour
total time
1 hour 30 minutes


  • Large mixing bowls

  • Heavy-bottomed pan with a lid

  • Slotted spoon

  • Wooden spoon

  • Aluminum foil

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Grater for ginger and garlic

  • Knife and chopping board


  • For the Lamb Marinade:

  • 500g boneless lamb, cut into chunks

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder

  • Salt to taste

  • For the Rice:

  • 2 cups Basmati rice

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4-5 green cardamom pods

  • 4-5 cloves

  • 1-inch cinnamon stick

  • Salt to taste

  • For Biryani:

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads soaked in 2 tablespoons of warm milk

  • Ghee (clarified butter) for frying

  • Vegetable oil

  • 2-3 tablespoons of fried onions for garnish

  • 1/4 cup warm milk


Marinate the lamb.
Prepare the rice.
Fry the onions.
Cook the marinated lamb.
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