How To Make Sindhi Lamb/Mutton Biryani – A Traditional Pakistani Favourite!
A good ol’ Biryani pretty much speaks for itself. It doesn’t need an introduction or a prompt to notice it – it does all of things simply by being itself. It’s what a Pakistani woman’s cooking skills are judged by and what you’ll often find served as the star of the show at an Asian dinner party. It isn’t humble by any means; a Biryani is pompous, showy and majestic, with its pop of colour, its many layers, its distinct, sharp flavour and its vast array of spices, some of which only leave the spice cabinet when it’s ‘time to cook Biryani’. Unlike it’s more mature and subtle brother, Pilau, a Biryani is loud, fiery and fierce.
A Biryani is nothing to be taken lightly.
It’s a lengthy process, but oh so worth it in the end!
There are many different types of Biryanis including Hyderabadi Biryani, Bombay Biryani, Bengali Biryani, Kachhi Biryani – Biryani even spans to other cultures too and there are even Arab Biryanis! Biryani can also be cooked with chicken, fish, prawns, vegetables – it truly is a unique and versatile dish!
Today, I’m sharing my favourite kind of Biryani – a Sindhi Lamb Biryani. I love the soft and floury potatoes in this particular Biryani – it’s probably what has won me over. Tender chunks of lamb, tangy dried plums, heapings of fresh mint and coriander and zesty slices of lemon also help. I was born and spent a few months of my younger days in Karachi, Sindh, and I may also have a bit of a bias towards Sindhi Biryani due to this.
I’ll be very honest with you all and say I’m not a fan of a spicy Biryani. Give me a mild Biryani which is heavy on the cardamom, mint and lemon and I’ll show you a plate wiped clean! But that aside, 95% of the Asian population love a hearty Biryani with a heavy hand on the spice and I’ve kept this in mind whilst making this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of the heat like me, taste adjust the red chilli and black pepper to your liking.
Enjoy this Biryani with a cooling raita and salad. I was low on salad veggies the day I cooked this, so I served it with some red onions in a bit of vinegar. I have heard that the most authentic of Sindhi Biryanis also contain raisins and cashews. I’ve personally never come across such a Sindhi Biryani, but I love me some raisins and cashews, so I fried some and served them too.
Enjoy, with love x
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For the Biryani masala
1tbspfreshly minced ginger
0.5cupfull fat yogurt
500gramslamb or mutton, bone in
1medium sizedcinnamon stick
1tbspred chilli flakes
For the rice
2cupswhite basmati rice
For the garnish
a fewpinchesorange/yellow food colour
For the potatoes
Simply cut your potatoes into your desired shape/size, boil or steam them till al dente and then deep fry them till they are golden and crisp on the outside. Set aside. You can do this at any point before the curry is finished. Here, I've reserved them with the fried onions you'll be making in the next step
For the Biryani masala
In a deep pot, heat the oil and add all the onions. Fry these on medium/high till they are golden brown. Remove 75% of these onions and set aside
In the pot with the remaining onions, add the minced garlic and ginger and cook till they turn golden
Add the lamb/mutton. Sear in the oil on high heat till it no longer remains pink
Add all the yogurt and the spices. Saute this on high for a few minutes, then add about 3-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and then cook for 1-1.5 hour, till the lamb/mutton becomes tender. Mutton may take up to 1hr 45 minutes to become tender, but keep checking to make sure it doesn't become too soft and starts falling off the bone.
Once the meat is tender, add in half a bunch of chopped mint, half a bunch of chopped coriander and the potatoes. Stir in and turn the heat off.
For the rice
In a separate pot, bring water to a boil alongside all the whole spices and the oil. There isn't a set amount of water - just enough for the rice to cook in. Once the water is at a boil, add in the rice and boil rapidly for 5-7 minutes, till the rice is 75% cooked. Drain in a colander immediately
Assembling the Biryani
In a pot, layer half of your Biryani curry
Then add half of your rice
Sprinkle over 2-3 pinches of food colouring and 1/2 tsp kewara water
Half of the reserved fried onions
3 slices of lemon and 3 slices of tomatoes
1/4 bunch of chopped mint and a 1/4 bunch chopped coriander
Repeat that order again
Now, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the Biryani and allow it to steam on low for about 15-20 minutes. Once steamed, allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with raita and salad. I also like serving my Biryani with fried raisins and cashews. Enjoy and lap up the compliments!
You can grind the Biryani masala spices into a powder to avoid having lots of whole spices in your rice. Who likes biting into a clove? Yuck!