A one-pot layered rice dish, south Asian style – Briyani!. The layering technique is what differentiates biryani from other rice dishes. Biryani is a celebration of aroma, color and flavor, with perfectly cooked, fluffy grains of scented basmati rice and tender lamb spiced to perfection.

Make this classic Indian dish for deliciously moist lamb. Great for casual entertaining. It will be worth the effort. ❤️


  • 1 to 1.5 kilogram leg of lamb or lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat (you can leave whole or and cut into pieces).
  • 1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoon cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil or ghee
  • Lime juice from 1 whole lemon
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 2 to 3 large yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 6 to 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3 to 4 Bird’s Eye Chilli, minced
  • 1 canned tomato sauce
  • 5 to 6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • Handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 cups basmati rice, soaked for 10 minutes
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 to 8 cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 5 strands of saffron, soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • Handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped


1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the lamb marinade. Mix to combine and pour the mixture over the lamb. Coat the lamb well. Wrap the lamb in a foil or put in a large ziplock bag and leave it to marinade for 8 hours – overnight.

2. Preheat oven at 200C. Place the whole lamb onto a tray and cover with foil. Let it cook for 1 hour with the foil, then reduce oven to 180C and remove foil and let it cook for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.


3. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add ghee. Then add the onions, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize and turn dark brown (but not black), about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.


4. In the same dutch oven, add the caramelized onions, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, garam masala, Kashmiri chili, salt, sugar, cumin seed, Chilli and coriander seed (lightly crushed) and turmeric. Sauté just until spices become fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Then the tomato sauce, tomatoes and water. Reduce the heat to low, cover with lid and let it cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Once ready, add yogurt, fresh coriander and mint.

5. Once the lamb is ready, add it to the Briyani Masala and let it cook for another 20 to 30 minutes.


6. Meanwhile, as the lamb cooks, prepare the rice. Pick over the the rice for any debris, then place it in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water, until the runoff is no longer cloudy; drain well.

7. Place the rice in a rice cooker and cover with 3 cups water. Add all the spices and let it cook.


8. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the lamb from the Briyani Masala and sliced the lamb. Put aside.

9. Take a small sized dutch oven (24’) which will snugly accommodate the rice and lamb. Layer the bottom of the dutch oven with the Rice, Briyani Masala sauce and top with lamb. Repeat with the rest of the lamb, sauce and rice.

10. Sprinkle the rice with a dash of rose water and the saffron. Cover with foil before putting on the lid. Cook it in the oven for another 20 minutes. 

11. Garnish with reserved caramelized onions, coriander and mint. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Bon appétit!
If you’ve tried the recipe, don’t forget to tag us on instagram at #thespatulaandwok

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