Hyderabad-inspired pakki biryani

Main Dish
4 servings
20 min
40 min
Very Easy


Number of serving: 4
1.5 kg goat meat, bone in

A little over 1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup fried onions

2 tablespoons green chili paste

2 heaped tablespoons of ginger-garlic paste

Half teaspoon mace powder

Quarter teaspoon cardamom powder

1 tablespoon coriander powder

Half teaspoon red chili powder

1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns

2 black cardamoms, crushed

2-3 green cardamoms, crushed

1 stick of cinnamon

4-5 cloves

2 bay leaves

Handful of coarsely chopped mint leaves

Handful of coarsely chopped coriander leaves

Quarter cup vegetable oil


For the Biryani rice are:

3 cups Basmati rice, washed, and soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained in a colander

One and half teaspoons shahi jeera/ black cumin

2 bay leaves

2 black + 2 green cardamoms

1 stick of cinnamon

Half teaspoon grated nutmeg

Half tablespoon desi ghee


For Layering are:

2 medium size red onions, very thinly sliced

1 or 2 potatoes, boiled and peeled

Fresh mint leaves, torn

Saffron strands, soaked in warm water

Few drops of Kewra essence

Oil for frying the onions


  • Ask your butcher to cut the goat meat in bigger than regular curry pieces. Lean mean is not needed for biryanis, so its okay to keep some fat on the meat pieces.
  • Marinade the meat with all the ingredients except salt and leave it overnight in the fridge. Find a heavy-bottom pan from your kitchen and transfer the marinated meat into it. Place it on low-medium heat and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  • Once the heat spreads to the pan and the meat starts to show signs of being cooked, crank up the heat. This way the yogurt in your meat will not curdle. Add salt.
  • Cover and cook the meat till it starts falling off the bones. It should take you about 45 minutes to get your meat cooked on medium heat. While the meat is getting done, we will simultaneously do the rice for the Biryani too.
  • For the Biryani rice are:
    Heat water in a big saucepan. Add the whole spices shahi jeera, bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon, nutmeg, ghee and salt. Boil the water with the spices for about 5-7 minutes and then add the rice. The idea is to extract the fragrance from the spices and infuse it with our rice. The rice takes very little time to cook. Make sure you are stirring it and watching over it all the time. Check a few grains to see if its done. Drain in a colander and keep aside.
    Since a pakki biryani is typically layered, we will ready the ingredients ahead in time and not wait till the meat and rice is done. The essential item for layering any biryani is crispy fried slivers of red onion. Some biryanis also have boiled potatoes and eggs in between.
  • For Layering :
    Slice the onions and deep fry them in hot oil to get a caramelized color on them, remove with slotted spoon. Boil the baby potatoes, peeled and fried them for a couple of minutes in the same oil the onions were fried. The layering of the biryani is the most interesting part of the post-cooking phase.
    The thumb rule to layering in pakki biryani is that the base and the top layers always have to be rice. Complete the layering when you have used all the meat and rice. Remember to garnish with mint leaves and fried onions and saffron and drops of kewra on the top. Save the gravy to be served with the biryani later. Keep covered. You can heat the biryani vessel on your stove top by place a pan or a tava at the bottom, so that the base of the vessel does not come in direct contact with heat. If the bowl is microwaveable, you can of course microwave.


Hyderabad-inspired Pakki Biryani, photo 1
Hyderabad-inspired Pakki Biryani, photo 2
Hyderabad-inspired Pakki Biryani, photo 3





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