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kheema biryani Hyderabadi style

This legendary Keema biryani is from city of pearl, Hyderabad. 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.

keema biryani rice

In early 2000 when I moved to Hyderabad for work, I was introduced to completely different set of flavor combo, an explosion of flavours unknown to me before and I was completely charmed by the city food and culture. Hyderabad is a unique blend of Nizami and Daccani-Telengana cuisine and it is very much evident by some of city’s legendary food dishes that has acquired almost a cult status. Hyerabadi biryani, arguably the mother of all biryani but equally legendary are its khubani ka meetha, mirchi ka salan and the bomb – Hyderabadi baghare baingan.

kheema rice pilaf

Keema biryani , also known as keema pulao is essentially a one pot rice dish, worthy of special occasions, subtly spiced and made with minced lamb or mutton and fragrant basmati rice. Birista or crispy fried onions always brings a huge difference to any biryani dish, but here unlike the other biryani variants, handful of finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves infuse it with fresh flavours.

keema biryani

 This is one of my favorite biryani, try this and am sure you will too fall in love with it.

kheema biryani Malgudi style

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.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 3
Author: Sukanya Ghosh


  • 250 gm Basmati Rice
  • 300 gm Minced Lamb, Keema
  • 1 cup Caramelized onion
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 3 Black Cardamom
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom
  • 3-4 Black pepper
  • 1-2 Bay leaf
  • A few strands of Saffron
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 3 tbsp Whipped Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Ginger – Garlic Paste
  • ¼ cup Milk, warm
  • Rose water and keora water: few drops
  • 100 gm Clarified butter, ghee or cooking oil
  • Salt to taste


Preparing the rice

  • 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.
  • Then spread the rice evenly on a large dish. Each grain of the rice should be moisture free.
  • Meanwhile mix the saffron in warm milk and set aside till the color appears.

Flavouring the minced meat or keema:

  • 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.
  • Mix in the minced meat, ginger-garlic paste and fry for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • Finish it off with the caramelized onions.
  • 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.
  • Serve the hot keema biryani with your choice of accompaniments.

Some of the other unique biryani flavours are here –

U.P style Jackfruit Biryani

Malabar Style Egg Biryani

Lucknowi Mutton Biryani

Until next




  • Reply
    February 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Glad you shared the biryani details. I never work that out somehow.

  • Reply
    Ronnie B
    June 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Great recipe. Very straight forward & easy to follow. Tastes delicious too. I just prepared it for Sunday lunch.

    The only addition I made was adding 1 chopped tomato in step 3 before adding the yogurt, cooking it out for 10 mins and then adding the yogurt.

    I also added roasted cashews along with the fried onions and served it garnished with quartered boiled eggs & fresh coriander & mint.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    Ronnie B.

    • Reply
      July 31, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Replying your comment late, sorry for that. And thanks a lot for trying out our recipes and giving us the feedbacks. we appreciate it. Iam sure it would have tasted great.

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