Beef Biryani

This beef biryani is an incredible mix of rich curry flavours and sweet, aromatic rice.

Ingredients for the Beef Biryani

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 500g cubed stewing beef
  • 8 Green cardamom pods
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 3 tsp rose water
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Dried rose petals
  • Pistachio nuts, slightly crushed

For this Beef Biryani you will need – a large, heavy-based pan with a lid that can be used in the oven.


Heat the oil and ghee in the pan and brown the beef in batches – keeping the browned beef to the side. Add all the whole spices to the oil and allow their flavours to release into the hot oil.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sweat down for a few minutes with the spices. Return the meat to the pan and mix well. Add the turmeric, chilli flakes and then the tomatoes. Season a little at this point, cover the pan and slowly simmer for an hour or until the meat is just starting to break apart – it’s really important the meat isn’t still tough to bite through.

While the meat is cooking, rinse the rice well and allow to soak in salted water for 30 minutes. Rinse the rice again until the water starts to run reasonably clear. The rices goes in a pan of water that covers the rice by 2cm. Add salt and slowly bring to a simmer. Do not stir the rice. As soon as the water has nearly evaporated and small holes appear in the surface of the rice, take off the heat and cover.

Heat your oven to 180c.

Pour 1/2 a cup of boiling water over the saffron and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Check the beef – if the sauce is a little to watery, cook for 1o minutes or so uncovered. Check the flavour of the beef and sauce and adjust seasoning. Add a little more chilli flake if you need more heat.

Carefully spoon the rice over the meat in the pan.

Heat half a tablespoon of ghee in a small pan and pour over the rice so some of the rice takes on a rich, golden colour.

Sprinkle the saffron water and rose water over the water.

Use a sheet of foil to create a tight seal between the pan and the lid.

Cook in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or so.

Remove the lid and allow steam to escape – you’ll know the rice is good as the grains should be standing to attention. Add a squeeze of lemon, the rose petals and the pistachio nuts.

The Beef Biryani is ready to serve.