A pour and cook recipe for lamb biryani?! It’s possible and it’s amazing!
Mix raw lamb with yogurt and spices and put it at the bottom of an instant pot. Add rice and water on top. Press a button and cook.
The result: tender pieces of lamb with perfectly cooked, separate grains of basmati rice.
What is Lamb Biryani?
There are so, so many different types of biryani out there. Every region, heck every household, makes its own version of this dish.
What many traditional recipes seem to have in common though, is that they’re all fussy.
Cooking biryani is way more complicated than it needs to be. I’ve watched family members spend hours making this dish, using lots of pots to partially cook the rice or meat then layering and baking it or cooking it together over low heat. So much fuss.
A Fuss-Free Instant Pot Biryani
I certainly have an appreciation for traditional cooking methods and doubt my streamlined recipe can surpass your great grandma’s beloved biryani, but there’s a time and place for that. That place is not here on my blog. Mom of two here. 🙋🏽♀️
I do not have six hours of spare time to spend making biryani. You know what I do have? 5 minutes.
So that’s what I’m working with. This pour and cook biryani recipe requires just 5 minutes of hands-on time.
You know that proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention”? Well, what’s necessary to me, a mother of two littles, is to feed my family healthy, homemade Indian food while reserving what limited energy I have left to play dinosaur chase with my two little boys. 🦕🦖👦🏽👶🏽
(Dinosaur chase… you know, when you pretend to be a dinosaur and roar at your children while they run/waddle away from you while squealing with both fear and delight).
How to Cook Lamb and Rice at the Same Time
Prior to coming up with this recipe, I shared another lamb biryani recipe which calls for brown basmati rice. Brown basmati rice requires a longer cook time which works well with red meat because both the rice and meat can cook in the same amount of time.
The thing is, I also want a lamb biryani using white basmati rice. So I came up with this one, which calls for briefly marinating the meat with yogurt and lemon juice (both are acidic), which help to tenderize the meat. We’re also cutting the meat into bite-sized (1-inch) pieces. This is how we can get away with a 6 minute cook time with a natural release.
The natural release takes around half an hour, which is also why I suggest rinsing the basmati rice rather than soaking it beforehand. I use and love aahu barah basmati rice for my biryani recipes. The type/brand of basmati that you use can make a big difference – this brand keeps its shape, remains separate, and is wonderfully fragrant.
Can I use Goat Meat instead of Lamb?
Now, I know some of you might be wondering if you can substitute goat meat for lamb. I haven’t tried but my guess would be no. Goat meat requires a longer cook time than lamb. I highly doubt goat meat will work in this recipe.
I hope you love this fuss-free biryani. I hope you think it’s the best biryani you’ve ever had. One thing is for sure, it’ll be the easiest biryani you’ll ever make.
- 2 pounds boneless lamb stew meat cut into 1-inch bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 onion diced
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1-2 green chilis minced, to taste
- 4 teaspoons coriander powder
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground fennel
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups long-grain basmati rice rinsed (we’re cooking longer, no need to soak)
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped, to test
- ¼ cup mint chopped, to taste
Ghee-Coated Cashews and Raisins:
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- ⅓ cup of halved cashews
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- Add the lamb and all of the ingredients listed under “marinade” together in the bottom of the instant pot and mix well. Let this sit on the counter for 20 minutes. (20 minutes is enough time for the lamb to marinate and it will also allow the meat to come to room temperature).
- Spread the rinsed rice so that it is in a thin layer overtop the marinated meat. Pour the water into the pot, pushing down the rice if needed so that it is submerged. Do not mix.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure (this will take approx. 30-35 minutes).
- Mix well then sprinkle mint, cilantro, and ghee-coated cashews and raisins before serving.
To make ghee-coated cashews and raisins:
- Melt 2 tablespoons ghee in a small pot over medium heat, add ⅓ cup of halved cashews, stir-fry for a minute or until lightly golden, then add 2 tablespoons raisins and stir-fry until they plump up.
- You can marinate the lamb longer if you’d like – just let it come to room temp for 20 minutes prior to adding the rice and cooking.
- You cannot substitute goat meat for lamb. Goat meat requires a longer cook time than lamb.
- I use and love aahu barah basmati rice for my biryani recipes. The type/brand of basmati that you use can make a big difference – this brand keeps its shape, remains separate, and is wonderfully fragrant.