Khara Gos Ni Biryani by Cyrus Todiwala

Cyrus Todiwala - Lamb Biryani LR

Cyrus Todiwala OBE, DL is an Indian British chef proprietor of Café Spice Namasté and a celebrity television chef. He trained at the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces chain in India and rose to become executive chef for eleven restaurants within those hotels. He moved to the UK in 1991 with his family where he opened his renowned Café Spice Namasté restaurant.

Here he provides easy-to-follow instructions to bring this much loved dish within the reach of most home cooks.

  • Rice type: Basmati rice
  • Servings: 5-6
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 5cm stick cinnamon 
  • 3-4 cardamom pods, gently crushed
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 4-5 dried red chillies broken into pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 500g diced lamb
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tbsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 4 garlic cloves and 3cm piece of ginger, ground into a paste
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 500g basmati rice 
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Optional to serve – caramelised sliced onions and hard-boiled eggs


step 1

Preheat the oven to 130*C, gas mark ½

step 2

Add two tablespoons of the oil in a heavy casserole and heat it till it gets a haze on the top. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves as well as the red chillies. As soon as you see the spices swell and puff and change colour add the chopped onions and sauté until they are brown

step 3

Add the lamb, turning occasionally and browning it well. Mix the turmeric, coriander and cumin with a little water to form a thin paste and add to the lamb with the ginger garlic paste.

step 4

When the lamb and the masala are browned, add enough water to just about cover the lamb, close the pot with a tight lid and simmer for roughly 20 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking.

step 5

Meanwhile wash and drain the rice. Add to 1 litre boiling water (double quantity of water to rice) and stir then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 5-6 minutes or until the rice is just over half cooked, then drain into a colander or large sieve or strainer. Loosen the grains with a fork and let them cool a bit in the colander.

step 6

Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain and add to the lamb.

step 7

Cook the lamb for another 5-6 minutes and check to see if the meat is nearly cooked. Stir in the chopped coriander. 

step 8

Place 1/3 of the rice at the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish that has a lid, add half the lamb on top. Add 1/3 rice on top of that and the rest of the lamb. Place the rest of the rice on top now and spread it evenly. Add the saffron to a tablespoon of water and pour over the top, cover the pot and place it in the middle shelf of your oven, bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour

step 9