Yakhni Biryani is one of the most relished and favoured variations of the biryani family. Mutton is cooked in a rich stock full of aroma and spices, which is then used to cook the rice. Kewra water and saffron along with fried onions add an elegant touch to this dish.


Preparing Yakhni

 1. 2 kg Goat meat (Leg and shoulder cut), washed and drained 

2. 100 grams of ginger paste

 3. 10 garlic cloves, grounded 4– 5 Bay Leaves

4. 4– 5 whole dry red chillies 

5. 5– 6 cloves

 6. 5– 6 green cardamoms

7. 2 star Anise

 8. 2– 3 Mace

9. 2 medium cinnamon sticks 

10. 10– 12 black peppercorns

 11. 1 tablespoon cumin powder (roasted) 

12. 2– 3 tablespoons garam masala powder

13.  ½ teaspoon nutmeg powder 

14. 2 tablespoons red chilli powder

Preparing Saffron mix

 1. 1 cup milk

 2. 2 teaspoons pure saffron

 (medium strands)

3.  ½ cup Kewra water

 (Screwpine water) 

4. ½ cup rose water 

Par-boil the rice

 a). 2 litres of water, sufficient enough for the rice

 b). 1 kg Extra-long Basmati rice, washed and soaked for an hour 

 c) 3– 4 cloves

 d) 3– 4 green cardamoms 

e)3– 4 black peppercorns 

f) Juice of 1 Lemon 

Preparing the meat

a)6– 7 onions, sliced 

b)1 tablespoon cumin powder

 c) 2 tablespoons garam masala powder

 d) 1 tablespoon red chilli powder

 e) 1 cup milk 2 potatoes, boiled and cut in 4 pieces

Method-Yakhni Biryani

Prepare the Yakhni

a) Boil around 2– 3 litres of water in a large vessel. Add salt, ginger, garlic and stir well. Add in the whole spices (bay leaves, whole red chillies, cloves, cardamoms, star anise, mace, cinnamon sticks and black peppercorns) and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Thereafter, add the ground spices (roasted cumin powder, garam masala, nutmeg powder and red chilli powder).

b) Mix well and then add the meat pieces along with Kewra (Screwpine) water and rose water. Cover it with a lid and let it cook for a couple of hours till the meat tenderizes.

c) Once the meat has cooked, remove from flame and separate the mutton pieces from the stew. Strain the remaining stock with the help of a sieve and keep it aside. Discard the whole spices.

Prepare the saffron mix
a) Add the saffron strands to one cup of milk and mix in the rose water and Kewra water. Leave it to refrigerate.

Prepare the onions
Heat some ghee in another vessel and add the sliced onions to it. Fry them till they turn brown. Once done, take it off the flame and keep them aside.

Par-boil the rice
Wash the rice well and let it soak in water for 40–50 minutes. Thereafter, boil some water in a large vessel and add the whole spices (cloves, peppercorns and cardamoms) along with lemon juice. As it starts to boil, add in the remaining Yakhni and cook the rice in it till it is two-third cooked. Once done, drain the rice and spread it over a side dish.

Prepare the meat

a) Heat some ghee in a Degchi and add the fried onions followed by the lamb pieces. Pour in the Yakhni (reserve a cup for later use) and then add the remaining powdered spices. Stir well.

b) As the ghee starts to show on the edge, stir in the milk. Once a thick consistency is reached, add the boiled potatoes and stir. Take the vessel off the heat and keep it covered.

Layer the dum

a) Once the rice is cooked, put the vessel with the mutton curry back on reduced flame. Place a layer of cooked rice on it and spread it evenly. Pour the milk-saffron-rose-kewra water mix on top of the rice along with some ghee (optional).

b) Cover the vessel with an aluminium foil and fold it across the edges so that the steam is unable to escape.

 Place the lid on the aluminum foil and cook it over dum for 30– 40 minutes. Once done, remove the lid and serve hot Yakhini Biryani.