Keema Biryani Recipe

This is the biryani recipe from a lovely neighbour who I loved next door to while renting a house. She made this biryani for Eid and it was absolutely delicious.

You will need a largish 26cm cooking pot for the lamb and another for the rice. Both with a tight-fitting lid. Also, a casserole dish to serve.

PREP TIME 30 minutes

COOK TIME 60 minutes



Ingredients for the lamb

  • 6 tablespoons oil (rapeseed best)
  • 2 large or 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1.5 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons green chilli
  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 kilo lamb leg mince
  • Half a cup whole masoor dahl, soaked and boiled till just soft


  • 3 of each cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamom and bay leaves
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp haldi
  • 2-3 tsp red chilli powder (however hot you like it)
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 0.5 tsp ground cloves
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon

Ingredients to cook rice

  • 3 cups basmati rice, rinsed till the water runs clear and left to soak for at least 1 hour
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp whole cumin
  • 5 of each: cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons butter/ghee

Other bits

  • 1 tsp saffron (heat a frying pan, add saffron and switch off after 2 minutes. Grind to a fine powder using mortar and pestle, then add 4 tablespoons milk and leave aside


  • 1 tub natural yogurt (I like Onken)
  • 1 chopped tomato,
  • Half a red or white onion finely chopped,
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Half teaspoon of salt



  1. Heat oil in large pan and fry sliced onions till golden brown.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium and fry ginger and garlic paste for about 5-10 mins, until oil separates
  3. Add the dry ground spices: salt, turmeric, chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder
  4. (not garam masala and cloves/cinnamon powder). Fry for a couple of minutes
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until oil starts to rise (about 10 mins)
  6. Add the lamb. Stir and cook until the lamb changes colour.
  7. Cover and cook for about 40 mins
  8. At the end of cooking time add garam masala, clove and cinnamon powder.


  1. Heat oil or ghee in large pan
  2. Add whole cloves/cinnamon/cardamom/peppercorns. Once the cloves expand (about 10 secs) add the whole cumin. Sizzle for about 10 secs before adding water and salt
  3. Bring to the boil and add the washed/soaked/drained rice.
  4. Bring to the boil again (stir gently to distribute the spices) and then cover (leave lid slightly ajar) and simmer for 5 mins.
  5. After 5 mins cover tightly and do not open lid for at least 10 mins (rice will continue to steam)


  1. Put 1 tub of natural yoghurt into a bowl.
  2. Add 1 chopped tomato, ½ an onion (red or white), a handful of chopped coriander and a ½ tsp of salt.
  3. Keep in fridge tills service.


  1. Saffron - this can be prepped while lamb is cooking. Heat a frying pan. Add saffron and cook gently for 2mins before switching off heat. Grind to a fine powder using mortar and pestle then add a few tablespoons of milk and leave aside

In your serving dish:

  1. Put a layer of rice (roughly a third) followed by all the lamb.
  2. Add another layer of rice (roughly a third) sprinkle over the saffron milk, including all the strands of saffron.
  3. Finish with a layer of remaining rice. Cover tightly with foil (double layer) and heat through in oven for about 30 mins at 160 degrees
  4. Serve with Raita on the side.

Are you interested in a step-by-step masterclass on how to cook this recipe? Please fill out the form below and I'll be in touch!

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