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Goat (or lamb) biryani

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Every culture has a special dish with rice, paella for the Spanish, risotto for the Italians, fried rice for most of Asia, pilafs for the Mediterranean and Middle east, and of course biryani for India. And, In my opinion, biryani rules them all.

Long grain basmati rice cooked with spices, layered with an aromatic "korma" or curry of meat or vegetables come together in an amazing dish. The briyani was brought down to India by the Mughals who cooked rice with lentils and meat. While the Mughals ruled India, the local Indian spices and cooking techniques influenced the dish to transform it to what is today known as biryani.

A biryani is almost always layered, a layer of "korma" between two layers of rice. In Hyderabad, a city renowned for its biryanis, the dish is sealed and cooked over a slow fire, for as long at 12-15 hours to seal in all the flavors. Making a biryani is an art form!

We always serve a biryani with a raita, a yogurt sauce. A raita allows you to cool your palate from all the spices in a biryani, and also refreshes your palate from fatigue.

You can get two excellent recipes for Mango raita and Pineapple raita on this blog.

I also serve every biryani with the extra-spicy Dahi mirch (read more here). This condiment is chile peppers that have been soaked in salt and yogurt and dried, fiery, salty and delicious.

This is a a wonderful cookbook, although one that does have very involved recipes. Each recipe that I have cooked from here, and I have cooked quite a few, always turns out delicious, and honors traditional flavors. This recipe is one that is phenomenal.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


Goat (or lamb) korma:

1 quart plain yogurt, full fat preferred

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon ground coriander seed

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 whole green cardamom pods

4 whole cloves

1 inch cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 large bay leaf, cut into two

1 large yellow onion, finely sliced

3 teaspoons garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

3 Thai green chilies, diced fine, or to taste

1 flake of mace, ground into a powder

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 lb goat meat with bone (or lamb)

Salt to taste

1 deep Pyrex dish or oven proof dish (9X9)


3 cups basmati rice

1/2 cup whole milk

1 pinch saffron threads

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon kewra (screwpine) water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 whole green cardamom pods

3 whole cloves

1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf, halved

Salt to taste


1/2 cup whole milk

Fried onions

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced

Dahi mirch

To make the "korma", In a bowl add the yogurt, turmeric, coriander powder, ground cayenne and whisk till smooth. Set aside. In a deep pot heat the oil and add the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and bay leaves. Cook on medium heat till the cumin turns golden. Add the onion and saute till the onions are well browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger pastes and cook for 1 minute. Add all the rest of the spices, cardamom powder, garam masala, mace, salt, and green chiles and cook for 1 minute being careful not to burn the powdered spices. Add the yogurt mix and cook on medium heat till it begins to bubble. Add the goat pieces and fold into the gravy. I usually cook the gravy with a splash of water in an Instapot for 50 minutes. Alternatively, you can simmer on the stove for 1.5-2 hours, adding some water if required to keep the ingredients from burning, till the meat is fork tender. The resulting "korma" should be thick, the sauce coating the meat heavily, and the oil should have separated from the curry. Set aside to cool.

To cook the rice, add all the ingredients, mix well and cook either in a rice cooker or on the stove. If you are cooking on the stove, stir the rice occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

To assemble the biryani, in an oven proof dish or Pyrex dish add an even layer of rice using about half the rice. Layer the '"korma"over the rice and pat down to make an even layer. Add the final layer of rice on top. Pour the milk on to the biryani and sprinkle with fried onions and cilantro. Add a coupe of dahi mirch as decorations. Cover with a tightfitting lid or foil sealing all the sides, and set aside till ready to bake.

To serve:

Heat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the center of the oven. Place the sealed dish in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. Remove, open at the table so the guests get their first whiff from the steam from the briyani, and serve. Have extra dahi mirch on the side at the table.

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1 Comment

Vinay Radhakrishnan
Vinay Radhakrishnan
Jul 19, 2020

Will definitely try. My kids love Biryani.

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