This recipe for biryani is a marvellous creation of layers of perfectly cooked goat curry, beautiful rice and a fresh mix of tomato, herbs and chilli, all decorated with nuts and onion rings. This is a feast in its own right, but Sonya likes to serve it with a chopped salad, called a cachumbar, containing tomato, red onion, lettuce and vinegar, and with a yoghurt raita containing mint and cumin.






Skill level

Average: 4 (127 votes)


  • vegetable oil 
  • 3 medium onions, finely sliced 
  • 1 kg boneless goat meat, cut into large cubes 
  • 3 tbsp grated ginger 
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic 
  • 100 g natural yoghurt 
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder 
  • 2 tsp turmeric 
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika 
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander 
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cumin 
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 10 cloves 
  • 4 cinnamon sticks 
  • 14 green cardamom pods 
  • 3 brown cardamom pods 
  • 5 bay leaves 
  • 10 dried plums 
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 8 peppercorns, ground 
  • 4 long green chillies, 3 left whole, 1 finely sliced 
  • 3 medium potatoes 
  • 500 g basmati rice rice, soaked for 30 minutes 
  • 1 tbsp saffron threads, soaked briefly in milk 
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into thin wedges 
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped 
  • 1 bunch mint, chopped 
  • onion rings, fried until dark brown and caramelised
  • 25 g sultanas
  • 25 g slivered almonds
  • 25 g walnuts
  • 25 g cashew nuts

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat a little vegetable oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the goat and fry for a few minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic, then add the yoghurt, ground spices, whole spices (reserve 8 green cardamom pods for the rice), bay leaves, dried plums, salt and pepper. Add the whole chillies and 250 ml water. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes whole until tender, then drain and cut in half. Keep warm. Drain the rice and boil with the reserved cardamom. When cooked, drain and put half into a bowl. Add the saffron milk and stir until the rice is evenly yellow. Keep the plain and saffron rice warm.

Combine the tomato, coriander, mint and sliced green chilli. Add one-third of the tomato mixture to the goat curry. Cover and cook for a further 5–10 minutes.

Spoon half of the plain rice onto a large serving platter. Top with the goat curry. Spoon over half of the saffron rice and scatter with half of the remaining tomato mixture. Scatter with the boiled potatoes, then add final layers of plain rice and saffron rice. Scatter with the fried onion. Top with the remaining tomato mixture then sprinkle over the sultanas and nuts. Serve immediately.


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