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Biryani - Chicken, Lamb Or Prawn

2 1/2 pounds meat -- chicken, lamb, prawns
4 cups rice -- (ideally basmati)
10 cloves garlic
1 2 inch piece ginger
10 dried red chiles
3 large onions
3 large tomatoes
10 mint leaves
1 pinch saffron
6 large potatoes
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoons cooking oil or butter
6 cardamoms
6 cloves
1 4 inch stick cinnamon
salt to taste

An amount of water which is "correct". If Basmati rice, then it's 1.8 cups of water per cup of rice.

1. Make a paste of the garlic, ginger and chiles.

2. Chop the onions and the tomatoes (don't mix 'em up). The onions should be rings, ideally.

3. Peel, cut and wash the potatoes in 1.5" pieces.

4. Clean and wash the rice.

1. Clean and cut the meat into 1.5" pieces. If the chicken is bony (i.e., not boneless) ignore this step.

2. Fry the onions till golden brown. This is a long and painful process, but keep the faith. Remove the onions, drain of oil, and put 'em aside. Chuck the ginger-garlic-chilly paste into the same oil. Fry for 6 minutes. Put in the meat and fry for K minutes. If lamb, K = 10; otherwise K = 5. In either case, you want the meat to be half cooked before starting stage 3.

3. Add chopped tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, turmeric, mint leaves and salt and fry for 5 minutes. Add a little water and cook till the meat is 75% cooked. This will take a short while for chicken/prawns, and longer for lamb.

4. Now add the rice and potatoes. Add the rest of the water and cook (covered) till the rice is ready. A slow flame will work better than a powerful one. Stir occasionally.

5. Serve hot, garnished with the fried onions.

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