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A plate of biryani, ¾ view, sliced cucumber and onions in a small bowl in the back

Beef Biryani

Course Main Course
Cuisine Pakistani
Keyword Biryani, beef Biryani, Instant Pot
Servings 6
Author Sarah Mir


For the Meat Masala:-

  • 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

For the Rice:

  • 3 cups rice
  • 3 tablespoons salt (see notes)

For the finishing touches:

  • 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.

Meat Masala

  • 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.