Lamb Pilau (Akni or Yakhni)

Akni is a delicious pulao made from lamb and rice. Different to biryani as it is made by cooking the rice in the spicy lamb stock!

PREP TIME 30 minutes

COOK TIME 60 minutes


You will need a large pot to cook the meat. Preferably one with a tight-fitting lid!

Ingredients for Akni stock

  • 1 kilo lamb shoulder cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon each of ginger and garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons green chilli paste
  • 6 of each: cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns
  • 1 litre cold water

Ingredients for Akni masala

  • 3 cups basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for at least 2 hours
  • Cold water to mix with the Akni stock to make 6 cups fluid
  • 100 ml rapeseed oil
  • 2 large onions finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon each of ground ginger and garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons green chilli paste
  • 5 of each: cloves cinnamon, peppercorns
  • 3 teaspoons whole cumin
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • Pinch of turmeric


In a pressure cooker or a large pan, add all the stock ingredients and cover with water. Cook for 3 whistles or simmer, covered for about 40 mins in the pan. Leave to cool down then remove the lamb pieces with a slotted spoon.

Pour the remaining stock into a jug and make up to 6 cups using extra cold water if needed

  • Heat oil in a large pan and when hot, add your whole spices; cumin, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns,
  • Let them sizzle for a few seconds (the should start to pop and expand)
  • Add the onions and fry for about 30 mins until they are a deep golden brown
  • Add the green chilli, ginger and garlic pastes and continue to cook until the raw smell has gone (about 10 mins)
  • Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until they have completely disintegrated.
  • Add the drained lamb to the masala.
  • Make 6 cups fluid using the stock from the lamb
  • Add the drained rice,bring the mixure to the boil then cover and simmer on a gentle heat for 10-15 mins.


I like to serve this dish with a simple raita.


  • 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

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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