This easy lamb biryani is another tried and tested recipe from the Tooting Mama recipe canon. I love a good biryani, and there is nothing better than a homemade version of this classic Indian rice recipe. This one pot, easy lamb biryani recipe is so delicious, you’ll never want to have take-out again!
This easy lamb biryani, meat cooked in rice, the perfect combination
Perhaps it’s the marinaded meat in spiced yoghurt, perhaps its cooking the lamb on a low heat for an hour, perhaps it’s the rice soaking up the meat juices that makes this lamb biryani recipe so damn lip-smackingly good.
The biryani legends – from a Mongol conqueror to the Queen of the Taj Mahal
Biryani is a dish with a long history, a dish that is over 1000 years old. There are many stories that recount the origins of biryani. Many seem to read like folktales.
One legend tells of Timur the Turco-Mongol conqueror who brought an early version of this dish to India. This rice-based dish fed his army. Made in an earthenware pot, filled with rice, spices, using what meat was available, buried and cooked in a hot pit before being dug up and served to his troops.
Another legend tells of the dish brought to the southern Malabar coast, south India by Arabian merchants. Records from around 2 AD recalls a dish made from rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, used to feed military warriors.
The Indian queen, Mumtaz, the inspiration for the Taj Mahal visited an army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking tired, weak and malnourished. She asked her chef to make to fortify the soldier using meat and rice, which resulted in biryani.
And there are many types of biryani from each corner of the country, up to 50 different types! My humble version is made from lamb, but feel free to try chicken, beef, goat, prawn or vegetables.
I have a version that I make with leftover roast chicken.Print
- 90 mls greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 crush, dried red chilli
- 1kg lamb, trimmed of fat, and cut into small bite-sized pieces
- A generous pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper
- 400g basmati rice
- 4 cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 cm cinnamon stick, crushed
- 1 yellow onion
- 500mls vegetable stock
- Salt & pepper
- In a large bowl mix the yoghurt, ground spices and chilli before adding the meat
- Mix the lamb into the yoghurt making sure each morsel is covered with the yoghurty marinade
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm before placing in the fridge for an hour
- Place the basmati rice into another bowl, cover with water and soak for thirty minutes. Once soaked drain and set aside
- Pour three tablespoons of olive oil into a high-sided stovetop casserole dish, heat on a low flame
- Add the cinnamon and bruised cardamom pods
- Add the sliced onion and gently cook, stirring continually until the onions are translucent and just starting to turn brown. This can take around 15 minutes
- Now add the lamb, stirring until the lamb starts to brown
- Add the salt and pepper
- Cover this dish with a lid and cook for an hour. Keep an eye on the meat, you don’t want it to dry out or burn. If the meat looks a little dry, just add a little water or lower the heat
- After an hour, pour in the stock followed by the soaked rice
- Cover, and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes
- Serve with vegetable curries – dhal, spiced courgettes and or aubergine curry all work well with this lamb dish
- Note prep time doesn’t include marinating / soaking time
Keywords: Easy lamb biryani