Lamb Biryani


 More Amazing Lamb Recipes

Lamb Biryani
Photo: © Melanie Acevedo


  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 pound boneless lamb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 onion, cut into thin slices

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground coriander

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

  • 5 cloves

  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, preferably basmati

  • 2 3/4 cups water

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the garlic, cayenne, cumin, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Stir in the lamb.

  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cardamom, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, rice, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

  3. Add the lamb mixture to the pan. Stir in the water and raisins. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the rice and lamb are almost done, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, until the rice and lamb are just done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cashews.



Other nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, can easily stand in for the cashews.

Suggested Pairing

The spices here immediately indicate a Zinfandel from Napa or Sonoma, classic examples of which are redolent of the very same spices. The full body of these wines will match the intensity of the biryani nicely.

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