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Lamb Biryani

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This lamb biryani recipe from Sheba is now a family favourite.

I’m visiting my hometown of Turlock California at the moment and decided to try out my new lamb biryani recipe on the family.

My parents have a large wood burning pizza oven in their back garden and I love firing it up and experimenting with my recipes. Last night I cooked this lamb biryani recipe that was sent to me by my friends at Sheba Brick Lane. Talk about gorgeous!

My favourite lamb biryani recipe

Biryani fit for any occasion

This famous lamb biryani is only available on Mondays 

at Sheba in Brick Lane

I first tried this lamb biryani at an event at Sheba in Brick Lane.

I’ve tried a lot and for that matter cooked a lot of biryanis but theirs has to be my favourite lamb biryani recipe to date. There aren’t a lot of spices in it but believe me… the freshly roasted and ground spices make all the difference.


lamb biryani

Biryani – ready to be uncovered at the table

Lamb biryani

Biryani party time

Ready for lamb biryani

Katy ready to dig in

The importance of the rice.

Biryanis are of course rice dishes so it is important to find the best quality, aged basmati rice you can get your hands on.

You only want to boil the rice for about seven minutes until it is about half cooked as it will finish cooking with the meat.

Notice the dough around the pan in the picture. This is done to keep all the steam in the pan so that when lifted at the table, the steam wafts up and fills the air with the most amazing aroma.

The Kacchi Biryani

There are at least 26 different types of biryani. This is a Kacchi style biryani where the meat is first marinated and the placed raw in the bottom of the pan with the marinade.

Rice is then layered over the meat and then the pan is sealed with dough and slow cooked. The dish is very popular in the Indian Sub-Continent and often served on special occasions.

You are going to love this one!

If you like this lamb biryani recipe, you might like to try some of these recipes too…

Railway lamb curry
Keralan lamb curry
Goan lamb curry

Yield: 6-8

Lamb or Mutton Biryani

Lamb or Mutton Biryani
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • Preparation for the lamb:
  • 1kg lamb or mutton cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
  • 11/2 cup plain whisked Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 fried Onion(crushed)
  • Preparation for the Rice:
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • whole garam masala (cinnamon stick, 10 peppercorns, bay leaf)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Getting the fragrance:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/2 cup fried Onion


  1. Marinate the lamb/mutton for at least two hours with all the given ingredients (the longer marinate the better). I marinated my meat over night.
  2. When ready to cook, start by making the saffron infused milk.
  3. Heat the milk until hand hot but not boiling.
  4. Add the saffron, rose water, ghee and fried onion and cover to infuse. Set aside.
  5. Moving on, bring a pot of 750ml water to a boil with all the whole garam masala, cumin powder, salt and vegetable oil. When boiling, add the rice.
  6. Cook the rice for about 7-10 minutes but make sure the rice is only half cooked. Once this is done put the rice aside.
  7. Now, in another pot (main biryani pot) put all the marinated lamb/mutton and cover it with a layer of the half cooked rice.
  8. Next layer the rice with the fried onions, 2 tablespoons ghee, 3 tablespoons water and sprinkle it with some saffron milk.
  9. Then put another layer of rice over the fried onions and sprinkle it with ghee, water and the rest of the saffron infused milk.
  10. Cover the rice with aluminium foil and then cover the pot tightly with a lid. You could also do this the traditional way as I did with a seal of dough.
  11. Put the pot over high flame for about 15 min then lower the heat and cook for 45 min to an hour.
  12. Let the biryani cook and do not stir at all.
  13. Once its ready you should start smelling the lovely fragrance.
  14. Remove the pot from heat and slowly mix bottom layer with the top layer to give it some colour. Do not mix it completely.

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 I served the lamb biryani with my coriander and mint raita.


Friday 28th of January 2022

Hi Dan, I'm new to your recipes was wondering what cut of lamb (UK) would you recommend and hung yoghurt?? Is there a substitute in the UK or is it something I need to make.

Really looking forward to start cooking!

Dan Toombs

Friday 28th of January 2022

Hung yoghurt is what they use in India so use whisked Greek yoghurt. I use leg of lamb but you could use shoulder, it would just need cooking longer. Thanks Dan

Steve Ashdown

Thursday 26th of October 2017

Hi Dan. Do you have to de-starch the rice, or just add straight from the packet?? Cheers again. Steve.

Dan Toombs

Friday 27th of October 2017

Hi Steve

Looks like I left that part out. Sorry. For best results, wash the rice several times with cold water. Then let it sit in clean water for about 30 minutes. Some will say not to de-starch Basmati but I find it turns out better.

Thanks, Dan


Saturday 24th of October 2015

The flavors here were all great, but I found that in a clay dutch oven on an electric stove, having it on high for 15 minutes was too long and the meat got pretty burnt on the bottom layer. I will do it again and maybe add a bit more liquid to the marinade after letting it sit over night. Plus I will reduce the time on high to around 8 minutes.

Dan Toombs

Sunday 25th of October 2015

Thank for the info Clair. I hope you are able to perfect the recipe on your stove. You'll get there.

Thanks Dan

Simon Murphy

Friday 9th of October 2015

Thanks Dan, another great recipe! Biriani is a hard one to nail and this one really does just that, my family loved it. I have had your BIR book now for about a year and I am hooked, myself and my family love a good curry and I've used it for three out of four Saturday curry nights of early every month ( much to the disappointment of my local takeaway) . How is the Indian / Bangladeshi curry scene in the states? R they into it in the same way u r?

Dan Toombs

Saturday 10th of October 2015

Hi Simon

Great to hear. Thanks for purchasing my ebook and I'm glad you like the recipes. There is no real Bangladeshi curry scene in the US that I know of. There are a lot of new Indian restaurants but they serve more authentic Indian food that is quite different to the curry house food here.

Thanks for stopping by.


Cooking Jar and Happy Accidents

Saturday 27th of July 2013

Can't say no to biryani rice!

Dan Toombs

Saturday 27th of July 2013

Nope. I love it too.

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