Lamb Yakhni Biriyani


by: Reshmi Ahmed

Lamb Biriyani is an important main course in Indian Cuisine especially among the Muslim population. Be it an Eid festival or a wedding or a get-together or any special occassion, Biriyani is there! The main ingredients being rice and lamb or chicken. There are different ways of preparing it depending upon the region where you come from and every house has a signature Biriyani. Generally, the lamb pieces are cooked in an aromatic spicy yogurt broth and this broth is called Yakhni. Then Yakhni is layered with cooked rice and is given to dum (steaming). I used to give this dum over a normal hot plate until one of my friends gave me this great idea of giving "dum" in an oven! Believe me, it tastes wonderful with a typical smoky aroma which a characteristic of this Biriyani. So here goes the recipe.


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serves: 6

4 cups Basmati rice

5.5 cups Water

1/2 cup Oil

2 stick Cinnamon, inch sized

3 Cardamom

1/2 cup Mint leaves

2 tsp Salt

1 kg Lamb

1.5 cups Oil

8 Onion (medium sized, sliced)

1 tsp Cumin seeds

3 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste

4 medium Tomatoes, sized, chopped

3 cloves

2 stick Cinnamon, inch sized

3 Green Cardamom

1 tsp Chilli powder, or to taste

6 tsp Coriander powder

500 g Yogurt

1 c Fresh Mint leaves, chopped

1 c Fresh Corriander leaves, chopped

1/2-1 tsp Salt

1 cup Corriander leaves, chopped

Lightly Oil Roasted Nuts

20 Nuts(Raisins, cashews, chopped Almonds, lightly roasted in a teaspoon of oil)- gms each

20 g Raisins

20 g Cashews

20 g Almonds, chopped

1 t Oil

1/2 cup water, in Saffron or Food colorant, orange red color and/or yellow color

1 large Lemon, juice

Nutrition Facts
Lamb Yakhni Biriyani

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount per Serving

Calories: 1350

  • Total Fat: 74.4 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 22 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 132.5 mg
  • Sodium: 1170.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 126.7 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 11.4 g
  •     Sugars: 16.2 g
  • Protein: 46 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  For the preparation of rice, cook the basmati rice in water together with the ingredients cinnamon, cardamom, oil, mint leaves, and salt. It is easier to cook it in an electric rice cooker. If you wish to cook it in a normal pot, take care that you don't stir the rice often and that it is not burnt. The point is, the rice should be a little more than half-cooked and the grains are not broken.

2.  For the preparation of yakhni, heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and saute the onions until golden brown.

3.  Add the ginger garlic paste and keep stirring until it mixes with the onions and leaves the bottom easily.

4.  Add the lamb pieces and mix them well until they are covered with onions all over them. Fry for about 5 minutes.

5.  Now add the tomatoes, chilli powder, salt, coriander powder, chopped mint leaves, coriander leaves and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes.

6.  Beat in and add the Yogurt. Mix well. No need to add water. Cover the lid and pressure cook until the lamb is fully cooked and is soft.

7.  You will see a thick layer of oil on the top of the yakhni. Do not mix the yakhni now. Carefully remove the excess unhealthy oil from the surface using a big spoon. Then mix then yakhni well.

8.  Layering

9.  Take a large tray preferably a deep bottom, suitable for use in oven.

10.  Spoon the yakhni together with a few lamb pieces covering the bottom of the tray.

11.  Then cover the yakhni layer with a layer of rice. Sprinkle the food colorants here and there. Add a tablespoon of coriander leaves, and sprinkle a tablespoon of lemon juice. Please do not mix the rice now.

12.  Now comes the third layer of yakhni over it. No need to cover the rice layer completely. Just place it here and there.

13.  For the fourth layer, add the rice and repeat the process of sprinkling food colorant, coriander leaves, and lemon juice.

14.  Repeat the layering until all the yakhni and rice is used. If you find excess yakhni remaining, keep it in a fridge and you could use it as a gravy with breads and rotis for the next day.

15.  Finish off this layering with the top layer being yakhni.

16.  Cover the tray with an aluminium foil and place it in a preheated oven at 200 °C for 10 minutes.

17.  Lower the temperature of the oven to 150°C and dum the biriyani for another 10-15 minutes.

18.  For the garnishing, just before serving, mix the layers well and finally garnish with the roasted nuts and coriander leaves and serve warm with raita or yogurt sauce.

Cooks' note:
1.You could use many layers depending upon your depth of the tray used. But care should be taken to make sure that the first and the last layer should be a yakhni layer otherwise the rice may get burnt during dum.
2. Stays good for 2 or 3 days in a refrigerator.

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