Mughal lamb pilau rice

Mughal lamb pilau rice


1 person made this

About this recipe: A traditional lamb pilau rice dish from India, which is always a keen favourite, made during Islamic celebrations and holy days such as Eid and Ramadan. It's a very spicy, yet subtle dish, mouthwateringly tasty and full flavoured. Very easy to make.

Serves: 4 

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 1/2 medium white onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced root ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2cm piece cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 3 green cardamom pods, split
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 large pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 pinch saffron, infused in 125ml hot milk (optional)
  • 1kg bone-in lamb, such as shank or shoulder
  • salt to taste
  • 600g basmati rice

Prep:25min  ›  Ready in:25min 

  1. In a large saucepan or casserole, cook and stir the onions in hot oil until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and green chilies, and cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add all spices, apart from the saffron, and allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the seeds crackle. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes.
  3. If using, add saffron strands and milk, and then immediately add the meat. Add salt and mix everything using a wooden spoon. Place lid on pan. Allow the meat to cook on medium heat thoroughly for 40 to 60 minutes, till tender and no longer pink at the bone. Stir occasionally whilst cooking and add hot water as needed, especially if you find it drying up.
  4. Wash the rice in fresh cold water three or four times, till the water is nearly clear. Add to the meat with hot water, covering the top of the meat and rice by 1.5cm. Stir well. Now taste the water for salt; if more salt is needed, add now.
  5. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and place lid on the pan and allow to gently cook until all water is absorbed and the rice is tender.


The same recipe can be used with chicken, mutton or beef. Allow extra cooking time for both beef and mutton.

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