Kacchi lamb biryani

Kacchi lamb biryani

The Curry Guy

The simple stir-fried biryanis served at most curry houses simply don’t compare to this slow-cooked kacchi biryani. I first tried it back in 2013 at Sheba on Brick Lane in London. It was so good I had to get the recipe! This is my take on their delicious and hugely popular dish.


Quantity Ingredient
3 onions, finely sliced and fried, cooking oil reserved
1 leg of lamb, cut through the bone into 12 or more pieces

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons Garlic and ginger paste
420g plain yoghurt
2 lemons, juiced
2 fresh green chillies, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
30g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
10g fresh mint leaves, chopped

For the rice

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons sea salt
whole garam masala (1 cinnamon stick, 10 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds)
500g aged basmati rice
pinch saffron threads infused with 300ml hot milk
60g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
20g fresh mint leaves, chopped
6 tablespoons melted ghee
1 tablespoon rose water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dried rose petals (optional)


  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl with a quarter of the fried onions and 200ml of cooled reserved oil. Add the lamb and rub the marinade into it. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  2. To make the rice, when ready to cook, bring 1.5 litres water to a boil in a large pan. Add the salt, whole garam masala and rice, and simmer for 6 minutes. After the 6 minutes, remove half the rice from the water with a strainer and place in a small bowl. Cook the remaining rice for another minute and remove to a second bowl.
  3. Now spoon about 3 tbsp of the reserved onion oil into a large, heavy-based saucepan and tip in the marinated meat and all of the marinade. Spread the first batch of rice, including any whole spices, over the lamb. Cover with half the remaining fried onions and half the chopped coriander and mint.
  4. Add the second bowl of rice on top and then the remaining fried onions and herbs. Spoon the melted ghee over the top layer, followed by the saffron-infused milk, the rose water and a sprinkle of cumin powder. Scatter some dried rose petals on top, if using.
  5. Make a soft dough with water and flour, run it around the top of the pan and secure the lid tightly on top. Heat the biryani over a high heat for a couple of minutes. When you hear it simmering, reduce the heat to very low and cook for about 40 minutes. Don’t be tempted to lift the lid.
  6. After 40 minutes, your kitchen will smell amazing. Take your biryani to the table and unseal the lid. Lift it and enjoy the amazing aroma. Stir the meat from the bottom into the rice about three or four times and serve with your favourite raita.


  • Ask your butcher to cut your leg of lamb into pieces.
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