Lamb Biryani and Raita

In the past, when I have a dinner party, I have a tendency to over-cater. I almost always regret it. Over the last 10 years, I have come to realise that the overwhelming amount of food does tend to put people off, and that’s why I am left with so much leftovers.

So for this dinner, I had to completely rein it in – the main was a lamb biryani accompanied by a refreshing raita.

The lamb biryani incorporates my famous Lamb curry and the rice cooking technique that I use for my Hainanese Chicken Rice. Not a difficult recipe, and it can be made over a couple of days, and heated up just before serving. I made the lamb curry the day before, and then made the rice and assembled on the day of the party.

Think of it as an Indian lasagne.

Best of luck!

Serves: 8-10 people

Prep time: 1.5 hours

Cooking time: 2 hours


Biryani curry

2.5kg lamb leg, cut into 2cm x 2cm x 2cm cubes

3 tbsp oil/butter

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tomatoes, medium dice

1 medium red onion, medium dice

4 cloves of garlic, remove skins and press with flat of knife to split the clove and release juices

2 tbsp Baba’s meat curry powder

1 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tsp minced garlic paste

1 tsp minced ginger paste

salt and pepper to taste


Biryani rice

4 cups basmati rice

6 tbsp ghee

4 smashed cloves of garlic

4 slices of of ginger

80g sultanas

80g cashew nuts

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves

6 cardamom

10 strands of saffron

6 shallots, finely sliced

coriander for garnish


2 cups Jalna Natural Yoghurt

1/2 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced on the round, then cut into fine batons

1/2 carrot, finely sliced on the round, then cut into fine batons

salt to taste

Water to loosen


  1. Biryani curry:
    • In a large pan, heat up 3 tbsp of oil/butter, fry fennel and cumin seeds until fragrant
    • Add tomatoes, red onion and garlic. Fry until onions are translucent and tomatoes have blistered and skin pulling away from the meat
    • Add meat curry powder, chilli powder, garlic and ginger mince paste, salt and pepper to taste and 2 cups of water to cook down. Mix well.
    • Cook and stir the mixture until bubbles start to form in the paste. Keep stirring every 3 minutes to avoid the bottom sticking.
    • Once the oil has started to separate from the mixture, turn off the heat, and put the mixture in the blender. Add 1 cup of water to loosen up the mixture and blitz well.
    • In a new pan, add oil, and fry off the lamb to seal it’s surfaces. Place sealed lamb in the pressure cooker as well as the curry mix (from the blender). Let the lamb cook on medium high heat for 5 sounds, then turn off the heat and leave it on the stove for 1.5 hours.
    • Open pressure cooker and pour curry only (not the meat) into a large surface area pan to cook down into a thick curry. Cover the meat and set aside for assembly later. Set aside curry for assembly.
  2. Biryani rice:
    1. In a large surface area pan, put 4 tbsp ghee. When melted, pop in garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, cashews, saffron and sultanas. Fry until fragrant. Add 4 cups of rice to the pan, and fry until rice grains turn a bit brown and caramelised. Put rice mix into the rice cooker with 6 cups of water.
    2. In a new pan, place 2 tbsp of ghee, and fry off sliced shallots until they turn dark brown, but not burnt.
    3. Assembly: In a large serving bowl/container, place some meat and a couple of ladles of the curry. Place rice layer next. Meat and curry again. Rice again. Repeat until all meat, curry and rice is in your container. Top off dish with scattering of fried shallots on top.
    4. Cover dish with aluminium foil and place dish in the oven at 100°C for 1 hour prior to serving.
    5. Sprinkle with chopped coriander for garnish.
  3. Raita:
    • Mix yoghurt, cucumber, carrot and salt together in serving bowl. Add a little bit of water to loosen up the mixture.
Yum, biryani



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