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Shahjehani Biryani

Shahjehani Biryani


Biryani a la cuisine royale


Prep Time45 minutes


  • 2 kg lamb, deboned, cubed
  • 100 g ghee
  • 225 g onion paste
  • 36 g ginger (adrak) paste
  • 36 g garlic (lasan) paste
  • 25 g poppy (khuskhus) seed paste
  • 12 g dry red chillies (sooklii lal mirch), ground to a paste with water
  • 60 g almonds (badam), blanched, peeled, ground to a paste
  • 4 1⁄2 g cumin (jeera) powder
  • 3 g green cardamom (choti elaichi) seed powder
  • 3 g cinnamon (dalchini) powder
  • 1 g nutmeg (jaiphal) powder
  • 3 g clove (hung) powder
  • 4 g black pepper (kali mirch) powder
  • 100 g yoghurt (dahi)
  • 1 kg basmati rice, washed, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained
  • 1600 ml water
  • 2 cinnamon (dalchini) sticks, 1" each
  • 8 green cardamom (choti elaichi) pods, cracked
  • 5 ml vetiver (kewda) essence
  • 1⁄2 g saffron (zafran) strands, soaked in 1/2 cup of hot milk
  • 150 ml cream
  • 2 g cumin (jeera) seeds
  • 2 onions, large, sliced, fried until golden brown
  • 60 g raisins (kishmish), fried


1. For the lamb, heat the ghee; add the blended mixture of the pastes and spices for the lamb, stirring constantly until an aroma rises and the ghee separates. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer until it evaporates.
2. Add the salt. Stir and coat with the paste evenly. Cook until the lamb is well browned, adding 2 tbsp water as and when required to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the yoghurt and water Cook until the lamb becomes tender and a very thick gravy remains,
3. Forthe rice, put the rice in a pan and add the water cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, and vetiver essence. Bring to the boil; reduce heat and cook until the rice is almost tender and the water is absorbed.
4. In a heavy, greased, ovenproof casserole, spread half the rice. Pour half of the saffron liquid, cream and black cumin seeds over it. Then spread the cooked lamb evenly. Repeat this process a second time.
5. Cover the dish tightly, pressing down with an aluminium foil. Put a lid and bake for 35 minutes in a preheated oven (170°C / 325°F).
6. Serve garnished with fried onions and raisins,