Mum’s Lamb Biryani

Serves 4
Time 1 hour


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

2 cinnamon quills

3-star anise whole

4 cardamon pods 

4 whole cloves

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

6-8 curry leaves fresh 

1 brown onion, chopped

Heaped tbsp crushed ginger

Heaped tbsp crushed garlic

3 heaped tbsp garam masala

1 heaped tsp turmeric ground

500g diced lamb

1 heaped tbsp stock powder 

Pinch of salt

1 fresh chilli deseeded, chopped

1½ cups basmati rice, washed

2 cups blitzed cauliflower – in a blender

1 cup frozen peas  – do not need to be thawed beforehand


Preheat oven to 180°C.

In an oven-safe pot, warm olive oil then place cinnamon quills, star anise, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cloves then add onion after 1 minute. Stir brown onion and combine for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, spices and combine then add lamb after 20-30 seconds. Stir to combine, add stock powder (and chilli if using).

Fry the meat and spices off – allow it to fragrant and glorious. You don’t want the spices to burn – add 2-3 tablespoons of hot water (boiled from the kettle) to line the bottom of the pan – and allow it to simmer.

Allow the pot to simmer gently for 12-15 minutes on gentle heat, stir occasionally so the spices do not burn. After 15 minutes – add the rice and a tablespoon of water and stir the rice through

Allow the pot to gently simmer again for 5 minutes then add 2 ½ cups of hot water into the pot and allow to simmer on the stove for 10 minutes. Add blitzed cauliflower and peas to the pot and stir through. Add another half cup of hot water – the entire rice, meat, the vegetable mixture should be covered in water as the rice needs this to cook and it will rise.

Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 22 minutes until rice is cooked through. Serve with fresh coriander on top.