Slow Roast Black Masala Lamb Biryani


Serves: 4


We’ve been threatening to post non “BIR” recipes for a while, and here is our first one.

Black Masala Lamb Biryani

Black Masala Lamb Biryani

This biryani recipe is most definitely not quick, but is worth it, we promise you. The recipe makes use of the Black Masala or Kaala Masala mix powder, you can find the recipe here: We’ve chosen to use boned and rolled lamb shoulder, but there’s no reason you couldn’t leave the bone in, or choose to use lamb leg instead.

This recipe is made up of two stages. The first stage is the marinade and slow roast of the lamb, the second stage is putting all of the ingredients together as a biryani. Enjoy.

Stage 1


  • 2 tbsp. Black Masala Mix Powder
  • 3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 750 gm Boned and rolled lamb shoulder.
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely sliced.
  • 1/2 Onion, finely sliced.
  • 1 Lemon.
  • 150 ml cold water.


Firstly, you need to marinade the lamb. Add the lamb shoulder to a clean bowl, add the finely sliced garlic cloves, oil, juice of half the lemon and the black masala mix powder, massage it all over the meat, inside and out. Now cover the bowl with cling film and leave for at least two hours, preferably over night.

Lamb Shoulder marinading

Lamb Shoulder marinade

Once the meat has had time to marinade take a flame-proof casserole dish and put it on a medium heat, also turn the oven on to 160c, 140c fan. Using a spoon take about 2 tbsp. of the spiced marinade oil and add it to the pan. Add the finely sliced onion and brown off in the spiced oil.

Caramelizing onions

Caramelizing the onions

Once the onions have begun to caramelise remove them from the casserole dish to a bowl. Now add the lamb and the rest of the contents of the marinading bowl. Brown the lamb all over, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the onions back to the dish, both halves of the lemon and add the water to deglaze the pan. Using a wooden spoon scrape up and brown bits from the bottom of the dish. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and pop in the oven for four hours, or until the meat is beginning to fall apart.

Lamb shoulder ready to go in the oven

Lamb shoulder ready to go in the oven

Stage 2


  • Cooked lamb from stage 1.
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil.
  • 240 gms Basmati Rice, washed and drained.
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger, grated.
  • 1 tsp. Cumin powder.
  • 1 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. Curry powder.
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili powder.
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder.
  • 3 tbsp. Sliced Almonds.
  • 6 Cardamom pods.
  • 2 Cloves.
  • 1 bunch of Spring Onions, sliced.
  • 1 bunch of Coriander, finely chopped.
  • 300 ml cold water


Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the flameproof casserole dish to a clean bowl, using a slotted spoon, fish out the sliced onions and garlic, discard the lemon pieces. Cut any butcher’s string holding the lamb together and using clean hands, simply tear the meat in to bite sized chunks. Try you’re very best not to just stand there eating it all with your hands, remember, you’re cooking a biryani!

Pour away all but about two table spoons of the liquid from the casserole dish, add the vegetable oil, and pop it on the hob on a medium heat. Add the spring onions and ginger, and stir for a few minutes until the onions are softened and the ginger is fragrant. Now add the spice powders, cloves and cardamom pods. Stir thoroughly for a minute or two, then add the rice and the sliced almonds. Stir well and ensure all of the rice is coated with the spiced oil. Now add the ingredients from stage 1, the lamb pieces, garlic and sliced onions. Fold everything through carefully, add the water, then pop the casserole dish lid on and pop it back in the oven for a further 45 minutes or so.

Check the casserole after 45 minutes and rice should have steamed to perfection. Stir through the chopped coriander and serve. Biryani’s are often served with another curry as an accompaniment, we chose to serve ours with a Vegetable Bhuna.

Biryani and Vegetable Bhuna

Biryani and Vegetable Bhuna

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