Sindhi Biryani (Spiced Goat and Rice Pilaf)

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


The recipe for this spiced rice dish from Pakistan's Sindh province was given to us by Karachi home cook Najma Awan. This recipe first appeared in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue along with Felicia Campbell's article Sindhi Biryani.


  • 2 cups cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 10 small green chiles, stemmed
  • 1 (1") piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 12 cups canola oil
  • 5 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 lb. bone-in goat shoulder or beef chuck, cut into 2" cubes
  • 3 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 40 whole black peppercorns
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 12 whole black cardamom pods
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon, broken in half
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 6 dried Turkish apricots, quartered
  • 14 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 12 cups basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 10 drops orange food coloring


Step 1

Puree cilantro, mint, garlic, chiles, ginger, and ¼ cup water in a food processor; set paste aside. Heat ½ cup oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 sliced onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside.

Step 2

Heat remaining oil in a 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining onions; cook until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Season goat with salt and pepper; add to the pan. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add reserved paste, ground coriander, half each of the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, bay, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until paste is caramelized, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, stir in yogurt; continue to cook until meat is tender, about 1½ hours. Add apricots and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Heat remaining peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, bay, and cinnamon in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add rice, salt, pepper, and 4 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook rice until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain rice, and set aside.

Step 4

Transfer half the curry to a bowl; set aside. Spoon half the rice over curry in pot. Mix food coloring and ½ cup water in a bowl; drizzle half over rice. Sprinkle with half the fried onions. Top with remaining curry, rice, food coloring, and onions; cover, and cook over low heat until rice is tender, 8-10 minutes. Mix rice and meat; serve.

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