South India Recipes – Hyderabadi Biryani

Ingredients (Serves 4)

• 2 lb of boned leg of lamb, cut into ¾ inch cubes
• 1 large white onion thinly sliced and deep fried in oil until light golden and crisp
(refined peanut oil is recommended but sunflower will do)
5 tbsp whole Greek yoghurt
• juice of 2 lemons
• chopped fresh herbs – equal quantities of mint (handful) and coriander (handful) mixed with 2 green chillies (finely chopped).
• ghee (clarified butter) or oil
• 1 tsp saffron (or 10 threads of fresh saffron), boiled in ¼ litre milk
• rice (long grain or basmati)
• simple pastry dough mixture for the top – mixture of plain flour, butter and water with a pinch of salt. Alternatively a lid can be used to seal the dish.

Spices for Marinade

• 1 tbsp papaya paste (tenderising agent)
• 2 tbsp Ginger / Garlic paste
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp turmeric
• 2 tsp red chilli powder
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 cloves
• 10 cardamom pods with shell on


1. First, marinade the meat in the spices. This is a great recipe to get your fingers mucky:
Get a flat copper dish and lay the juicy tender lamb pieces flat to cover the bottom of the dish. Add all the spices for the marinade to the meat in the above order and mix in to the meat with your hands.

2. Crush the fried onions onto the meat and mix with hands. Add yoghurt and mix again. Add temon juice, fresh herbs and 2 tablespoons of the oil which is leftover from the onions.

3. Leave to marinade for 40-45 minutes for the flavour to develop.

4. Meanwhile, par boil the rice. When the rice is still crunchy in the middle, cover the meat with it.

5. Pour over the top the Ghee (or 3 tablespoons of oil) mixed with ½ litre of the water from the boiling rice.

6. Place the saffron on top of the rice.

7. With pre-made plain flour & water pastry, roll a tick tube and stick to the copper pan. 7.
Roll out the remains of the dough and stretch over the top of the dish to act like a lid. Alternatively you can place a lid over the dish, but do not remove it until completely cooked.

8. Cook in oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 40 minutes.

Serve hot with Nan bread and salad.