Lamb(Mutton) Handi Biryani

DSC_0301Biryani as I have mentioned before in my Chicken Biryani post is a ‘labor of love’!  The meat needs to be marinated perfectly and then cooked with the right blend of spices and then layered with rice and baked again for a perfect balance of flavors.  Now what do you do however if you want to make biryani but don’t have as much time? Then you can do the ‘one pot’ quick biryani.  I usually make chicken biryani this way but this time since I was hard pressed for time, I tried to make mutton biryani also as a one pot biryani although I needed to initially cook the mutton separately first since mutton/lamb is a tougher meat and takes longer to cook. For the marinade I decided to further do a short cut and use my home made ‘harissa’ paste which was quite similar to the cilantro-mint marinade that I usually make. The biryani turned out fabulous – the aroma of the biryani as it was being cooked made my family really hungry so much that I did not even get a chance to take a lot of pictures! In any case pictures cannot possibly do justice to the beautiful flavors. I made my baked spicy potato fries as a side. That and a simple yoghurt raita was a perfect complement to the spicy biryani and we all ate so much that we were not hungry for a very very long long time afterwards 🙂 I am bringing this extremely flavorful biryani rice over to Fiesta Friday and Foodie Fridays this week. Do check out all the fabulous recipes there! DSC_0300

Lamb(Mutton) Handi Biryani

  • Servings: About 4-6
  • Time: About 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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  Ingredients: Part 1:

  • 2 lbs goat meat/mutton or lamb, cleaned and cut into small to medium size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp home made harissa paste or harissa spice mix (use less for less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • Whole garam masala (4-6 black peppercorns, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 4-6 cloves, 2 bay leaves)

Part 2:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp Ginger chopped fine/paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped fine/paste
  • 2 medium Tomato chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (skip if you want less heat)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam Masala
  • Basmati Rice 2 cups
  • 3 cups water incl stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or per taste)
  • 6-8 strands of saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 3-4 drops biryani or rose essence


Take a pressure cooker and add the meat along with the spices,salt and yoghurt (Part 1 ingredients) into it and mix well using your hands such that the meat is well coated with the marinade.  Cover the lid and pressure cook (no additional water needed) for 3 whistles. Take off from heat and set aside for the steam to escape. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can alternatively cook it in a covered pot with some water added until the meat turns soft)

Wash the rice well 3-4 times in cold water. Then keep aside.

Now take a large pot with a thick and flat bottom and a tight fitting lid.  Heat the oil in it and then add the cumin seeds and after 30 seconds add the onions and the cardamom pods and sauté until onions turn translucent. Then add the garlic and the ginger. Saute for an additional 30 seconds and then add the chopped tomato and stir for another 2 minutes or so until the tomatoes turn soft. then add the turmeric, red chilli,coriander and the garam masala powder.

Next add the washed rice to this along with the precooked meat and the whole spices. Reserve the stock from the pressure cooker and add additional water to it to measure 3 cups and add this stock plus water mixture into the pot with the rice. Stir and add salt and adjust salt and seasoning per your taste. Let the water come to a boil and then lower heat to a low (no.3 setting) and cover the pot with the lid and cook for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, open the lid and stir the rice a little bit carefully.  If all water is gone and the rice still seems a little undercooked, add a couple tablespoons of hot water and fluff up all the rice using a spatula and then cover and cook for a couple more minutes. When all water is gone, take the pot off the heat and place away from heat.

Finally, add the saffron /milk mixture and the biryani essence/rose essence and again cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with toasted almonds and /cashew nuts and cilantro and baked potato fries!

Tips/Notes: 1. Make sure your cooking pot has a really tight fitting lid and that you cook the rice in a low setting. Also make sure you check at the end of 10 minutes to test the rice – if some of the grains look still uncooked then add a little more water and cook as suggested above. This is very important otherwise you will get grains of uncooked rice in your biryani.

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