Gosht ki Biryani

Lamb Biryani cooked in layers with saffron, butter and whole spices


Biryani eating in Hyderabad and Delhi is like no other place with some of the finest plates and the most delectable flavours. Awadhi community has their own unique take on biryani too. More than anything the variety of biryanis in Indian cuisine can be mind boggling. From basic meat/ chicken to kheema, kofta biryanis and even those cooked using game. My preference has always been chicken or mutton biryani as it’s something I grew up eating. I also like it with chunks of potato tossed with the rice and meat which isn’t something I have commonly seen served at restaurants in the UK.

Like most Indian girls who grew up never learning to cook (including myself!); I hadn’t quite mastered the art of making a decent cup of Indian tea so the idea of making biryani seemed like a milestone which I would only cross in my dreams! It was all about the recipe secrets, spicing, slow cooking and layering. Far too daunting if you ask me. But learn I did and after a few attempts on various Indian recipes I can proudly say I cook this dish to rave reviews from clients & friends. The key to cooking good biryani undoubtedly has to be balance of flavour with the meat and the rice but more than anything separated, fluffy rice grains is a must. Getting your rice cooking timings perfect is crucial to make sure it doesn’t overcook which can yield broken & sticky grains. With this recipe below; it is simple to cook and one that would result in a delicious dish that’s a meal in itself.

There are various communities in India that make finger licking biryanis with recipes handed down through generations and are renowned for melt in your mouth slow cooked pots of meat & rice ensuring the juices are soaked in by the rice grains. Sealed pots ensure the moisture is intact and opening dish at your dinner table serving out the biryani with the steam and aromas wafting through make for a delightful meal.


  1. In a mixing bowl add the lamb, turmeric powder, Greek yoghurt and salt. Mix well making sure all the pieces are well coated. Set aside and leave to marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based pan and add all the whole spices. As they start to crackle add the onions. Sauté the onions on a medium heat for 10-12 minute until they soften and turn light brown. Add the garlic and ginger paste and fry stirring well for a couple of minutes. Add the powdered spices and cook for a further two minuteslamb-biryani-2

  3. At this stage add the marinated meat stir well making sure to mix the spices with the lamb pieces. Tip in the tomato puree and fry sealing the lamb cubes for a 3-4 minutes. At this stage add the water. bring to a simmer and cover the sauce pan cooking the lamb for 60 minutes. Give it a stir half way through making sure the lamb is tender and the masala thickens. The masala should reduce and coat the lamb pieces.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180c (Gas mark 4). Ten minutes before the lamb is ready bring a large sauce pan with a litre of water to boil. Add the rice, bay leaf, cardamom pods and salt. Bring to a boil and cook the rice for 7-10 mins until three quarters done (the rice grain if broken should have a slight bite to it) Drain the rice and set asidelamb-biryani-3


  5. Brush the base of a deep casserole with melted butter. Cover the base with a layer of rice about a third followed by a third of the lamb along with its sauce followed by another layer of rice and a teaspoon of the saffron water. Repeat each layer finishing off with a layer of rice and a drizzle of saffron water, chopped mint and leftover melted butter. Cover the dish with grease proof paper and a tight fitting lid. Place the dish in the oven for a final cooking time of 20-25 minutes. Once done fork the rice gently, garnish with coriander and serve warm with onion rings, mint chutney and lemon wedges.

  • http://yourcookerybook.com/ Your Cookery Book

    Your recipes are easy and uick to follow. I assume you are from UK, me too.

    Happy Blogging and cooking.

  • Iqbal Mulla

    I am going to give it a try as your recipe is very comprehensive.

  • http://www.whatsforlunchhoney.net/ Meeta

    I adore biryani and the Hyderabadi one is my favorite of all. I have a recipe on the blog too. Like you I grew up not learning to cook. So several years ago when I told my mother I would make biryani – she looked rather perplexed at me! But I surprised her on that. LOL! Great stuff Maunika!

  • kerneljack

    Hi Maunika, I don’t have an oven unfortunately, so is there a way to do the last step without it? I have an electric hob, but not sure if turning down the heat all the way will work, or will that just burn the rice at the bottom?

    Thanks for a great recipe, I’d like to try it as you can see 😉

  • http://www.clementinebuttercup.blogspot.co.uk Clementine Buttercup

    I’ve been trying to recreate the mutton biryani’s I remember from South Africa. I’m going to give this a go. Thanks!

  • http://maunikagowardhan.co.uk Beverley Byrne

    Making this for the second time my family loved it . Even the fussy one x

  • http://www.cookalane.fr Maïlys

    I made that for dinner tonight… It is so goood! It does take time but very worth it!! Thank you for this delicious recipe 🙂

  • John

    If making it with chicken (legs on the bone), would you change any of the other ingredients? I’d imagine a lot are common.
    PS. Pre-ordered your book today – can’t wait.

    • maunika

      Thank you! You can used the same recipe for chicken although just adjust cooking times. Enjoy!

  • John

    Tried this tonight and it was excellent. Best biryani I’ve made. Thanks for the recipe. Going to be making this one many more times

  • Linda

    Hi! i’ve just had a real bargain on a leg of lamb. Is it ok to use this rather than shoulder of lamb to make the biryani? Thanks, Linda

  • Suni

    I’ve made this recipe. Was so easy and really delicious.definitely going to make it again.

  • Scoopup Doggydogdo

    Maunika you are amazing! Lovely recipe that really worked. My wife is dairy intolerant so I used organic coconut milk yoghurt to marinade the meat. When I was layering I added crispyfried red onions, pistachios, rose water and coconut sugar added to the saffron water and ghee. Delicious!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you and glad you enjoyed it! Sounds amazing:)

  • Sharan

    will try your recipe this week, can I use (goat) mutton instead of lamb? And where you mentioned grease proof paper and casserole dish, can I cook this in a pot using a tea towel instead and putting over a tava for dhum. Or if I try in the oven, what kind of dish should I use, do I cover it with the paper and then secure lid on top? Love your recipes! x

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you! If using mutton adjust cooking times. Yes this can be done on dum over a tava. Enjoy!

      • Sharan

        Thanks so much! Would mutton take longer to cook? Sorry, am not an expert in desi food but working on it ? Thanks

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Yes it would! Hope you enjoy it:)

  • Neelam

    Love the biryani, cooked several times
    About to try it with fish (this weekend) unless you have a separate fish biryani recipe ? Many thanks

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Perfect with fish although cooking times will vary. Will be adding a fish biryani soon!

  • Neelam

    It certainly was … perfect with fish, thank you Will look forward to fish biryani recipe Your web site is great, but love having a book to hold as well … will be ordering yours
    Thank you x

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yay! Great to hear that. Hope you enjoy the recipes in my book too:)

  • Oana Clarke-Wills

    OMG! so far this is my number one curry from your website. I’ve tried 4 different ones but this …. this is curry heaven right here. I could easily eat this all day every day. I’m so happy I found your recipes and I will be ordering your book soon. Thank you ….

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you so much! Love a good biryani and glad to hear you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy the recipes in the book too:)

  • Ellen

    I just tried this recipe and it was wonderful! Not at all worth the time and effort and I plan to make it again. I was wondering, though, if you could offer a recipe for mint chutney, as you suggest this as an accompaniment but don’t seem to have a recipe for it on your website or app. Thank you.

    • Ellen

      Oh! So sorry. I meant to say the opposite – totally worth the time and effort!

      • Rosie

        Hi – a version of mint chutney I make :
        Bunch of fresh mint (remove leaves from the stalks, wash in a bowl of water and rinse)
        Bunch of fresh coriander (finely chop and rinse coriander with water through a sieve)
        A couple of green chillis
        Cumin seeds (1 tbs)
        1 tsp salt

        Add all the above ingredients into a grinder to mix to a paste, you might need to add a sprinkle of water to loosen the mixture. I then add a couple of tablespoons of the mixture into silicon cup cake cases and freeze. Once frozen, I remove them from the cases and add them to a freezer bag, ready to use whenever I make any Asian food.
        All you’d need to do when ready to use is add one block of mint to some yogurt (Greek or Bio), with a pinch of garam masala, check salt.

  • Ted Erler


  • Ben

    Whenever I search for Indian recipes I always use your site and this is by far the best lamb biryani I’ve ever eaten! I do have one question though, in many recipes I read they call for bay leaves; now Indian bay leaves are from the ‘Tej pata’ tree which is also known as the Indian cassia tree and its leaves tastes like cinnamon/cassia. Western bay leaves are totally different, from the Laurel family and taste almost like perfume/citrus and aren’t used in Asian recipes. Nothing like cinnamon. Why do so many chefs neglect this? I feel it’s an important taste in Indian cuisine and the Western bay leaf is no substitute for the Indian bay leaf and a stick of cinnamon or cassia would be a better substitute. Excuse the long winded nature of this comment!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      You need Indian bay leaves although leave them out if you dont have any! So glad your enjoying the recipes:)


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