Goat or Lamb Biryani

This dish is always a crowd pleaser in the best Indian joints I frequent. Only once did I see it presented traditionally with the chapati crust. Reading many recipes, I decided this was an amazing challenge to make authentically with the crust and the goat meat that it would traditionally be served with.

I have made this dish with both goat and lamb and both are delicious. If you can get your hands on goat, I would definitely try the original version. Goat is delicious, especially when cooked on the bone. Indian and Moroccan cultures use goat meat heavily, but for some reason, it is less popular in Europe. There is a Berber saying that goes something like “no land without stones, no meat without bones.” However, if you cannot find the goat (try a Halal market or Asian market), lamb makes a beautiful alternative. If you go for the goat, use a bit extra meat. I use 3 1/4 pound for bone meat and 2 1/2 for boneless.

You will need a very large Dutch oven to accommodate this dish. I use a 7 quart Staub for the goat and a 6 quart Staub for the lamb dish.

The crust is very important in this recipe, so don’t skip it, or if you do, use a very tight sealed lid. The rice is not cooked all of the way through before baking, it finishes cooking from the steam trapped in the dish during baking.

Lamb or Goat biryani

Lamb Biryani from Daria Souvorova on Vimeo.

spice mixture:
2 star anise
2 1/2 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 1/2 tbsp cumin seed
3 tsp peppercorns
10 ground cloves
2 inch cinnamon stick, crushed

curry:
5 large onions, thinly sliced
2 inches ginger, minced
10 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/4 bone in goat OR 2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb or goat, 1 inch cube
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder
4 tbsp yogurt
4 tbsp tomato paste

biryani:
2 3/4 cup basmati rice, triple rinsed, soaked in water
2 tsp rose water
pinch saffron in 1/2 cup hot milk
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

chapati crust:
3/4 cup chapati dough OR
3/4 cup chapati flour (1/2 wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour)
1/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp. oil, canola or olive

  1. Put oil in your large Dutch oven. Sear the goat in small batches until it is golden.
    Set aside on a plate.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the same Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook for 8-10 minutes.
    Meanwhile, grind all of the spices (in list above onions) in a grinder. Set aside.
    Remove half of the onions and reserve for later.
    Add the garlic and ginger to the remaining onions, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ground spices, turmeric, and chili powder to the onions.
    Stir regularly as the mixture may start to burn a bit. Turn down the heat if needed.
    Add the meat, yogurt, tomato paste and stir.
    Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil.
    Move to a back burner and turn down to lowest simmer. Cover and cook for at least an hour. 1 1/2 hour would be best.
  4. While the goat is cooking, drain the rice, which you should have left in cold water up until this point.
    Place in a different Dutch oven or pot and cover with a few inches of water.
    Bring to a boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. Fry the reserved onions in a small pan for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  6. Once the meat is falling apart, season and remove from heat.
  7. Place half of the goat on the bottom of the large Dutch oven.
    Add half of the onions.
    Add half the rice on top and smooth out.
    Repeat with the remaining goat, onions, and rice.
  8. Sprinkle with the rose water and the saffron milk. Top with cilantro.
    Cover with lid until ready to bake.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    A half hour or hour before serving, roll out the chapati dough and use it to completely seal the top of the Dutch oven.
    Bake for 20 minutes.
IMG_0063
Lovely guests awaiting the cracking of my Goat Biryani at our first Indian Dinner!

Total cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes

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