Recipe: Instant Pot Kacchi Lamb Dum Biryani

Recipe: Instant Pot Kacchi Lamb Dum Biryani

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Urvashi Pitre
May 30, 2018
(Image credit: Courtesy of Rockridge Press )

Serving tender, aromatic lamb biryani for dinner (especially during Ramadan) just got easier, thanks to everyone's favorite kitchen gadget: the Instant Pot. Because the popular electric pressure cooker releases steam at the end of the cook time, it mimics the traditional Indian "dum" style of cooking, in which a protein (in this case, lamb) is cooked slowly in steam.

The result is homemade lamb biryani ready in a fraction of the time, served with fluffy basmati rice that cooks right along with it.

Why the Instant Pot Is a Smart Way to Make Biryani

"Traditionally, it takes about two to three hours to make right and dirties about six different pots," author Urvashi Pitre says. In addition to this version being a one-pot meal, it's hearty enough to stand alone as a main dish. "It's very filling, but the rice is gentle on your stomach after a long fast. It's also a good stand-alone dish, so there's no need to make anything else except a little raita on the side."

The combination of warm spices (garam masala, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves), fresh herbs (cilantro and mint), and tangy Greek yogurt make for a rich marinade that tenderizes the lamb and infuses it with bold flavor. While the lamb marinates, the rice softens and absorbs some of the water it's rinsed with, decreasing the total cook time and making it possible for the lamb and rice to cook together. A garnish of crispy onions adds a deliciously salty crunch.

If you're hoping to prep this dish ahead of time, allow the lamb to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Instant Pot Kacchi Lamb Dum Biryani

Serves 6

  • For the lamb and rice:
  • 1 cup

    basmati rice

  • 1 pound

    lamb shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 1-to- 2-inch pieces, all visible fat removed

  • 1/2 cup

    plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup

    yellow onion, minced

  • 1/2 cup

    cilantro, chopped

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh mint leaves, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon

    minced ginger

  • 1 tablespoon

    garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons

    garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    turmeric

  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cardamom

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 1

    serrano pepper, minced (adjust to taste)

  • 1 cup

    water

  • For the garnish:
  • 1

    onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon

    vegetable oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped cilantro

Rinse the rice and set it aside (this allows the rice to soften and absorb some water).

Prepare the lamb: In a large bowl, combine the lamb, yogurt, onion, cilantro, mint, ginger, garlic, garam masala, salt, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and serrano. Toss to coat and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the garnish: Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the sliced onion with the oil and salt and arrange on prepared pan. Broil, stirring halfway through, until browned, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Place the marinated lamb in the Instant Pot. Top with the rice, spreading it into an even layer. Add the water and, using the back of a spoon, gently push down the rice until it's submerged under water, being careful not to mix the lamb and rice together.

Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes, then allow it to fully release pressure naturally. Releasing the steam mimics the "dum" (steam cooking) part of the Dum Biryani. 

Serve lamb with broiled onions and cilantro. 

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre, copyright (c) 2017, Rockridge Press.

Find the Book:

Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre

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