kheema biryani Hyderabadi style

This post has been re-edited, re-published with new photographs as we had indulge into this once again and got some time to re-shoot it.

keema biryani rice

When I look back into the past, I recollect how the events in my life has chalked my destiny to become a food blogger one day, and now I realized it was no coincidence. Having lived in the gastronomical capital of India aka Kolkata for few years, which shaped my senses of taste and flavours, I moved to Hyderabad for work, exactly a decade back.

It was pre-blogging era, so what remains with me now are the warm food memories of the city. While in Hyderabad, you can ignore charminar (I know true Hyderabadis will not spare me for having said that) but you can not ignore Hyderabadi Biryani and the Hyderabadi lingo “aap ko kya hona ji ” translates to “what do you want”, but it sounds funny to people from hindi belt. It is very much written in the soul of the city. Just to emphasize my point a bit further.

Hyderabadi biryani is not only world-famous but has acclaimed a universal cult status and arguably “mother of all biryanis”. But this post is not about Hyderabadi biryani, it is about another legendary dish from the state, called “Keema biryani” or Keema rice / pulao. It goes by many name.

kheema rice pilaf

During my few years of stay in the city, I was very much part of this “biryani tribe” those who ordered biryani for every other occasion. But apart from the regular biryani, this kheema (yes with extra h) biryani at Malgudi (Begumpet) in Lifestyle building was my favourite too. It was truly phenomenal, and having lived just next door to such a  wonderful place, we were regular there for idiyaapam and more such South Indian delicacies, almost every weekend. One fine day we asked the manager to divulge the details, which fortunately he did, but without mentioning the proper ratios. Over the years Malgudi may have lost its charm to other upcoming restos but in those days it was the best.

Next onus was on me to nail the ratios of spices properly, and  after few trial and error methods, I have finally arrived at this. I so wished to peek into their kitchen… Over the years it has become our family favourite.

keema biryani

Fragrant and spicy minced lamb or goat cooked in range of aromatic spices, and the heavenly flavor of basmati rice cooked together in dum to make this fabulous dish called keema biryani. This is one of my favorite biryani, try this and am sure you will too fall in love with it.

keema biryani

Keema Biryani

kheema biryani Malgudi style
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Keema biryani is a fabulous dish made with fragrant minced lamb or goat cooked in aromatic spices and then cooked once more with scented basmati rice in dum preparation.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Hyderabadi (Indian)
Serves: 3
  • Basmati Rice: 250gm
  • Minced Lamb (Keema): 300 grams
  • Caramelized onion : 1 cup
  • Onion (sliced): 1 large
  • Cinnamon stick: 1" piece
  • Black Cardamom: 3
  • Cloves: 4-5
  • Green Cardamom: 3-4
  • Black pepper: 3-4
  • Bay leaf: 1-2
  • A few strands of Saffron
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1tsp
  • Nutmeg powder: 1tsp
  • Whipped Yogurt : 3 tbsp
  • Ginger – Garlic Paste: 1tbsp
  • Milk (warm): ¼ cup
  • Rose water and keora water: few drops
  • Clarified butter (ghee) or cooking oil: 100gm
  • Salt to taste
Preparing the rice
  1. Wash the rice thoroughly with few changes of water and soak it for at least 30 minutes. Cook the rice with one teaspoon of salt and three black cardamoms until it is just half done. Drain out the water and set aside in a large colander until last drop of the water drained out.
  2. Then spread the rice evenly on a large dish. Each grain of the rice should be moisture free.
  3. Meanwhile mix the saffron in warm milk and set aside till the color appears.
Flavouring the minced meat or keema:
  1. Heat the clarified butter or ghee in a skillet or deep pan; add the sliced onions and fry until it is translucent. Add the bay leaf and whole spices and allow spluttering.
  2. Mix in the minced meat, ginger-garlic paste and fry for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Once the lamb is fried to golden brown in color and leaves its aroma, turn off the hat and wiat for couple of minutes before adding the yoghurt.
  4. Mix in the whipped yogurt along with the red chilli powder and cumin powder; continue to cook over low heat for another 10 minutes. Turn off the flame and set aside.
Assembling the biryani for dum
  1. Prepare a bed of rice in dekchi or any heavy bottom pan with half of the cooked rice. Spread the cooked keema or minced meat over the rice along with the saffron milk, a few drops of keora and rose-water and sprinkle the nutmeg powder over it. Cover it with the rest of the rice.
  2. Finish it off with the caramelized onions.
  3. Seal the lid of the pan with dough so that the steam can not escape from it. Cook it in dum on slow heat for another 15 minutes or till done.
  4. Serve the hot keema biryani with your choice of accompaniments.

Until next