Lamb Biryani

Also known as ‘The Spice King’, Sriram Aylur is Executive Chef of St James’s Park’s The Quilon, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the world specialising in Southern Indian food.


Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known and is grown in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Bangladesh, but in my opinion the best comes from Sri Lanka. One has to be careful when using cinnamon as it can overpower a dish and delivers a very strong, bitter flavour.

It can be used in its bark state or powdered. If used in a bark state it is best to put it in hot oil to maximum flavour. It’s usually used with a mix of spices and has the unique ability of blending well with sweet and savoury dishes.

Like all spices cinnamon needs to be stored in an airtight jar in a cool place.

Lamb Biryani

The best beer to accompany this is Brewsters pale ale (lincolnshire, 5% abv), a fresh, and crisp pale ale with floral hop aromas that give way to a citrus grapefruit flavour.

Serves 4

  • 500g boneless lamb cubes
  • 300g Basmati rice

For the marinade

  • 2.5g fennel seeds
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5g chilli powder
  • 2g turmeric
  • 2g coriander
  • 10ml ghee
  • 10g ginger paste
  • 10g garlic paste
  • 75ml yoghurt
  • Salt

For the Masala

  • 4 slit green chillis
  • 300g sliced onion
  • 2 sliced brown onions
  • 100g sliced tomato
  • 10g chopped mint leaves
  • 2g shahi jeera
  • 100ml refined oil
  • 50ml ghee
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Wash and pat dry the lamb and keep aside. Dry roast the fennel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and grind to powder.
  2. In a clean bowl, put the above powder, turmeric, coriander and ginger garlic paste, ghee, yoghurt and salt and mix together.
  3. Marinade the lamb and keep in a cool place for four to six hours. In a clean pot bring the water to boil, add shahi jeera, a little oil or ghee, half of the chopped coriander and mint. Add washed basmati rice and cook till the rice is 3/4 done. Strain and keep aside.
  4. Heat the mixture of ghee and oil and top the whole garam masala, chilli and onion. Sweat the onion and add the sliced tomatoes and cook. Add the marinated lamb and cook till 3/4 done.
  5. Spread the boiled rice on top of the lamb evenly. Sprinkle chopped coriander, mint leaves and browned onions.
  6. Bake with a sealed lid in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 to 20 minutes or alternatively put on low flame griddle. Once the steam comes out remove from griddle. Gently mix and arrange on a serving platter, garnish with fried onion and coriander.

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