Biryani has a special place in South Africa’s National Cuisine. Mixed with a variety of spices and meat, Biryani is a celebration of aroma, colour, and flavour. Perfectly cooked, grains of basmati rice layered with tender chunks of spiced lamb and marinated in a spicy yoghurt sauce, mixed with saffron threads the end result is a highly aromatic and flavourful dish of meat, rice and potatoes.

lamb biryani recipe

  • 1 Kg Lamb Pieces On The Bone
  • 1 Cup Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger/Garlic Paste
  • 4 Pcs Stick Cinnamon
  • 4 Whole Cardamom Pods
  • 4 Whole Cloves
  • 4 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Tsps Whole Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbles Lemon Juice
  • 3 Whole Green Chillies
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Mint
  • ½ Cup Chopped Coriander
  • 3 Large Onions Fried Until Crisp or 1 Cup Readymade
  • 2 Tomatoes Skin Removed And Pureed
  • 1 Cup Tomato Puree
  • Salt to Taste
  • A Good Pinch of Saffron Strands
  • 3 Cups Basmati Rice
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • Salt
  • Egg Yellow Food Colouring
Other Ingredients
  • 8 Medium Sized Potatoes Halved and Fried
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • ½ Cup Ghee (Divided)
  • 2 Cups Lentils Parboiled in Salted Water
  • A Few Saffron Strands Mixed With A Cup of Warm Water
  1. Slice the onions into thin slices. Add half a cup of oil to a pan and fry the onion until golden and crisp. Drain on a paper towel. (If using ready-made fried onions, skip this step)
  2. In a large bowl marinate the lamb with all marinated ingredients leaving a little bit of the fried onion for the top of the biryani.
  3. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least for a few hours
  4. Boil the rice with all the ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes until almost done.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, drain.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of the egg yellow food colouring on top of the rice and mix through lightly until you have a two tone colour. Cover and set aside.
  7. In a large flat bottom pot, heat the oil and half of the ghee mixture.
  8. Add marinated lamb and a cup of water and cook further until lamb is almost tender.. Once lamb is cooked mix through the lentils. Place the potatoes on top. Spread the rice over. Sprinkle the left over onion over and place the blobs of the remaining ghee all over the rice. Pour the cup of saffron water over the top and cook in the oven at 180°C for an 1 hour.
  9. Serve hot with spiced yoghurt.
  1. Lamb on the bone is preferred as it does add more flavour but you can use boneless lamb if you so wish.
  2. Readymade fried onions are available from most good spice shops.