This was the first recipe I ever posted. We have come a long way baby. Thankfully. I debated keeping that first photo for giggles, but then thought perhaps it is better if we giggle less and discuss the actual recipe more. So without further ado let's break down Beef Biryani ok?
Beef Biryani is a meat and spices pilaf. The best biryanis in Pakistan are often found in places which would not survive any health inspection, but have managed to produce the most delicious of biryanis for decades. From the famous Student Biryani to newer (and cleaner) places like Biryani Centre it is definitely a national favourite.
Although Karachiites will wax lyrical about these biryanis - the ones made in enormous deghs (pots) the Biryani I like best is this simple one. It has minimal "sticks" as my children call them, doesn't require any fancy spices and hits the spot every time in terms of flavor.
Ingredients in Beef Biryani
- 1 lb stewing beef / beef cubes
- green chilies
- whole spices
- basic spice powders (feel free to use a box mix instead)
- basmati rice
- ginger and garlic paste
- dried plums or lemon (my personal preference)
- biryani color
Why use the Instant Pot?
A Beef Biryani is only fun to eat when a gentle press breaks that flavorful meat. Pressure cooking the meat is a great way to both imbue it with flavor and save yourself time. That said I made this biryani stove top for many years by simmering the meat for 45-55 minutes.
I use the Instant Pot for the meat portion and not for the rice yet for one big reason. The first is that I find that with different brands of basmati the rice tends to cook in different amounts of time and when I share a time I would like to be perfect. Nothing worse than making a beautiful masala and then having your rice mushy.
How much should I cook the rice?
This is a question I get asked often. Here you will see I deviate from the norm. Traditionally you are asked to cook rice until it is a little al dente - the middle of the rice will have a white dot. I find that with this biryani that isn't necessary. I cook it a little further, just to the bottom where it cooks through, but it is not tender enough to eat. That reduces my 'dum' time by 20 minutes.
How do I give Biryani 'dum' in the oven?
The word 'dum' refers to the process where you basically steam the masala and rice together to combine flavours and create a cohesive dish. I truly believe that the best way to do this is in the oven. Simply layer the Beef Biryani in an oven safe dish, then cover it tightly with foil and put it in the oven at 300F for 25-30 minutes. Add five minutes if you have prepped it and refrigerated in advance. Added bonus: you can serve it right in the dish.
Want MORE Biryani Recipes?
Here are some other favourites
- Punjabi Chicken Biryani (with a fun flavor twist!)
- Turkey Biryani (can use chicken instead too!)
- Fish Biryani
Made this recipe? Do rate it below right on the recipe card! I'd love to see your recreations so feel free to tag me on Instagram @flourandspiceblog
- 1 pound stewing beef cubed
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 6-8 whole black peppers
- 3-4 laung (cloves)
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
- 1-1.5 inch piece cinnamon stick
- 2 medium sized onions (for 1 cup sliced)
- 2 thinly sliced green chillies
- 1 ½ tbsp ginger paste (measuring spoons)
- 2 tbsp garlic paste (measuring spoons)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½-1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1-2 medium tomatoes diced see notes
- 4-6 dried plums or aloo bukharay. can omit and sub with lemon juice (see notes)
- 2 medium potatoes cut into 1.5 inch pieces
- 3 cups rice
- 3 tablespoons salt (see notes)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped mint (optional)
- Juice of a lemon or lemon slices
- 1 tsp of yogurt mixed with 2 tbsp water
- Rang/Yellow coloring
- 3-5 green chilies
Wash rice to drain away excess starch and then soak and set aside
Boil the rice in salted water while your masala is cooking until it is just cooked, but not tender enough to eat as is.
Heat ½ cup oil in saute mode (medium heat) and add your whole spices
When they sputter and smell toasty add your onion and green chilies and cook till the edges of the onion are golden
Now add your ginger and garlic paste, saute for a minute
Add the spices, give it a quick mix
Stir in the beef, sauteeing until the beef cubes are evenly browned.
Stir in your tomatoes, dried plums (if using), and 2 cups hot water.
Pressure cook (manual) for 14 minutes
Quick release then add the potatoes and cook for another 3 minutes (4 if your potatoes usually take a long time to cook)
Quick release and then saute to dry up the excess liquid - I like to remove my potatoes here and add them back in later to avoid breaking them. The masala should be so dry that it starts to stick to the bottom and the oil rises to the top.
Taste and adjust seasoning - you want a little salty and a little spicy - if you have not used dried plums add lemon juice at this point.
Layer half the rice in the pot you used to cook it, then the meat masala, then scatter cilantro, mint and chilies over top and follow it by the remaining half of the rice.
Mix a little food color with yogurt and drizzle over top.
Cover the pot and cook on the lowest heat for 25 minutes.
Use a flat spoon or a small plate and gently mix it to avoid breaking the rice and serve with raita and kachumbar.
Rice: I cook and drain which is why I use so much salt, if you are cooking with the exact right amount of water then use a tsp per cup.
Using a boxed mix: omit all the spices (whole and dried) and sub with ½-1 of your favorite masala packet
Tomatoes: In season tomatoes have a punchy flavor and one is enough, out of season I use two. You can also always chop in one and use one to layer (with the chilies and cilantro)
Stovetop instructions: instead of pressure cooking simmer on low for 45-55 minutes until tender.
Prepping ahead: you can actually prep this whole dish ahead of time and save the 'dum' for half an hour before you serve it. Add another 10 minutes.
Aloo Bukharay vs Lemons: IMHO this Beef Biryani tastes best when you adjust the masala by adding lemon juice when it is cooked. I usually put 2-3 tbsp.