RECIPE: Lamb biryani with apricots & cashews

Lamb and apricots are a winning combination, so you know this fragrant Indian rice dish is bound to be scrumptious

03 August 2017 - 13:52 By Andrea Burgener
Lamb biryani with apricots & cashews.
Lamb biryani with apricots & cashews.
Image: Roelene Prinsloo

Serves: 6


250ml (1 cup) canola oil

3 large onions, thinly sliced

30ml (2 tbsp) garam masala

5ml (1 tsp) crushed red chilli flakes

2.5ml (½ tsp) turmeric

18 black peppercorns

9 pods green cardamom

2 cinnamon sticks

6 cloves garlic, minced

6 tomatoes, cored and minced

5 Thai chillies, remove stems and mince

4cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1kg trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 5-8cm pieces

Salt to taste

125ml (½ cup) plain yoghurt

60ml (4 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander

Salt, to taste

1 cup roughly chopped coriander

20 saffron threads, crushed

500g (2 cups) white basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained

2.5ml (½ tsp) cumin seeds

2 bay leaves

100g (1 cup) roasted salted cashews

100g (1 cup) slivered dried apricots


1. Heat ¼ of the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Set aside.

2. Heat remaining oil in clean pot over high heat. Add garam masala, chilli flakes, turmeric, 10 peppercorns, 5 cardamom pods and 1 cinnamon stick; cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Add garlic, tomatoes, chillies and ginger. Cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes.

3. Add lamb, season with salt, and cook until lightly browned. Cover and cook over medium heat until lamb is tender, about 1 hour.

4. Add fried onions, yoghurt, and 30ml (2 tbsp) coriander. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes more and set aside.

5. Put saffron in a bowl with ½ cup hot water.

6. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add remaining peppercorns, cardamom, and cinnamon, along with the rice, cumin, bay leaves, cashews and apricots, and season with salt. Cook rice until slightly al dente. Drain excess water and mix saffron water into the rice.

7. Transfer half the curry to a new, larger pot. Top lamb with half the rice. Top with remaining lamb curry and remaining rice. Steam, covered, until rice is tender. Garnish with remaining coriander.