Some dishes are so established that they defy tradition. Sometimes, there simply isn’t just one way to make it. When it comes to Briyani, especially, there are hundreds of ways to make it. If you’re not using lamb or beef, you can use chicken, fish and even vegetables. But this lamb briyani is just such a treat for one of those Sunday family feasts. If you’ve never tried it this way, go for it. I know you’ll love it!


marinate: 2 hours | cooking time: 4 hours | serves: 8 – 10


for the marinade

4 tomatoes

8 ml ground ginger

3 gloves garlic, finely chopped

6 ml dried chili flakes

15 ml garam masala

15 ml ground cumin                     

15 ml ground coriander

10 ml turmeric

5 ml ground cardamom

350 ml full cream yoghurt

salt and freshly ground black pepper


12 lamb knuckles

1 cinnamon stick or 5 ml ground cinnamon

3 bay leaves


for the rice and lentils

 350 ml SPEKKO Basmati Long Grain White Rice

250 ml dried brown lentils

salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the crispy fried onions

8 small pickling onions, peeled

500 ml sunflower oil

for the turmeric water

500 ml boiling water

10 ml turmeric


for the marinade

Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Place the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilli, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cardamom in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


for the lamb

Place the lamb in a large bowl and pour the marinade over the meat. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon, then cover and place in the fridge to marinade for 2 hours.


for the rice and lentils

Boil the rice according to the instructions on the packet, drain and let it cool to room temperature.

Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the packaging. Drain and let the lentils cool.

Season the rice and lentils with salt and pepper.


for the crispy fried onions

Slice the onions very thin, with a mandolin slicer if you have one.

Heat the oil until it reaches 160 – 170 °C. Fry the onions in batches until golden. Spoon the onions out with a slotted spoon onto a kitchen towel to drain.

layering your briyani

Heat the oven to 180 °C. Take the meat out of the fridge. Scrape most of the marinade off the meat, but keep the marinade to one side.

Heat a little sunflower oil in a saucepan. Fry the meat until brown.

Start layering the briyani. Spoon the rice into a large cast-iron pot. Spoon the lentils on top. Arrange the meat on top and then add a layer of the fried onions, making sure to keep some of the onions to serve with the briyani. Spoon the marinade on top.

Repeat the layers but make sure you end with a rice layer.

for the turmeric water

Mix the water and turmeric together and pour over the briyani.

Place a piece of tin foil directly onto the rice. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours.

Take out and serve with extra fried onions, raita and tomato sambal.


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