Easy, One-pot Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani (Gosht Biryani)

one-pot lamb biryani

Biryani is THE dish of Hyderabad, so after we got the crowd-pleaser Butter Chicken done and dusted, it made sense to make it session #2 for the Indian Home Cooking Lesson we gave last week.

I’m still perfecting my recipe and method (pressure cooker vs rice cooker vs dutch oven vs combo ….), but last night was great so not only am I definitely writing it down, I’m sharing it.  It makes a enough for 2 hungry families of 4, and if you have other dishes along side you may end up with leftovers (which will be even better the next day…).

[Update 17Nov17: I’ve updated this to reflect the perfected recipe, later posted again here as part of a Culture Capsule.]



  • 5 tbsp ghee (or 5 tbsp of butter, nearly browned)
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1 lg cinnamon stick, broken into a few pieces
  • 5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (homemade best, in 1:1 ratio)
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 3 lbs leg of lamb, chopped into 1-inch pieces and cooked along w/ bone
  • 2.5 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • optional accompaniment: raita or plain yogurt


  1. Prep: Finely chop onions (by hand) and tomatoes (by food processor, if desired), cut up lamb (if you forgot to ask the butcher to do it for you, as we sometimes do), and put all spices & salt in a small bowl to keep at the ready.
  2. In a large pressure cooker*, melt the butter over medium heat, and when bubbling stops, add the onion.
  3. Cook the onions until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  4. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for about 45 seconds, then add spices and fry for a minute, scraping up any browned bits.
  5. Add tomatoes, continuing to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pressure cooker pan. Cook until tomatoes start to break down and some water evaporates.
  6. Add lamb and sort of brown a teeny bit, mainly getting it covered in the onion/tomato/spices.
  7. Add 2 cups of water* and give it a stir to combine.
  8. Cover/lock pressure cooker and increase heat to high until it come up to pressure, then lower it without losing the pressure.  Cook for 6 minutes, then turn off the heat and quick-release the pressure.
  9. When pressure is released, open the cooker, add 1 cup of boiling water, and give it a stir.  Then add the rice, but only stir it enough to barely get rice covered (not to get it to the bottom where it will stick.
  10. Cover/lock pressure cooker a second time, and increase heat to high until it come up to pressure, then lower it without losing the pressure.  Cook for 3 minutes, turn off the heat, and allow it pressure to release naturally (another 10 minutes or so).
  11. When it is time to open it, I hope it’s perfect like our was. Give it a gentle stir.  If any rice is stuck to the bottom it may need a tiny bit more water mainly to just scrape any tomatoes or rice that may be sticking to the bottom.


  • I don’t have any relationship w/ Fagor but I do highly recommend their pressure cooker.  I bought it 5 years ago after seeing it reviewed on Cooks Illustrated.  I’d definitely recommend the 8 quart size so that you can make big batches of things and freeze some. The book it now comes w/ via the above Amazon link is great, too.  The mac-n-cheese recipe was life-changing.
  • I resisted the urge to brown the lamb (I again checked that no recipes that I consulted did so) and I’m finally satisfied that it’s not needed.  I have a mental note to look into browning of lamb vs beef, and browning in this sort of usage.  Will report back!
  • I again tried my food processor to speed along the chopping.  I found that the grater was good to get the tomato small but not puree, but the grater wasn’t as good an idea for the onions because it released too much liquid from the onions which took longer to brown (I think this could have been under an hour otherwise!) . That said, I may play one last time w/ the slicer on the food processor, then maybe pulsing a time or 2… Again, I’ll report back!

We’d love to hear how this tasted… and send us a photo!  SOMEday I will get in the habit of taking photos of the food we cook…