Dum Pukht Biryani - Slow Cooked Biryani

Goat Biryani
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Marinate: 60 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Dum Pukht means slow cooking in a sealed container. This popular cooking method goes back hundreds of years. It is almost always used to cook meat dishes and almost no water is added, so that the meat cooks in its own juices! Dum Pukht Biryani can be made with lamb, goat meat or chicken. My favorite is made with goat meat so that’s what this recipe calls for but feel free to replace with any of the other meats. Dum Pukht Biryani is not a dish that can be hurried but when it’s done you will love it and the wait will have been worthwhile. It is great dish to serve at your next dinner party! Try it…


  • 1 kilogram goat meat (I like leg cut into 2-3" pieces, bone on)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 cups of plain yogurt (fresh, thick, unsweetened)
  • 2 green chilies (chopped very fine)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (fresh coriander leaves, chopped very fine)
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • For the Gravy:
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower cooking oil)
  • 2 large onions (chopped very finely or grated)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (khus-khus—ground into a powder)
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut (ground into a powder)
  • 6 to 8 cashews (ground to a powder, or 1 tablespoon cashew nut powder)
  • 3 large tomatoes (ground into a smooth paste in food processor)
  • 3/4 kilograms rice (Basmati)
  • 2 to 3 drops orange food coloring
  • 2 to 3 drops green food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For Garnish:
  • A few strands of saffron
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk (warm)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Put all the ingredients (including garam masala powder) for the marinade into a large non-metallic bowl and mix until a smooth marinade is formed and all the ingredients are well blended.

  3. Add the goat meat pieces and stir to coat every piece well. Cling warp the bowl and keep in the fridge to marinate for an hour.

  4. Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan/ pot and add when hot, add the onions. Sauté until the onions begin to turn a pale golden color. Now add the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for a minute. This will splutter at first so be careful while you stir.

  5. Add the khus-khus (poppy seed), coconut, cashew powders and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid burning.

  6. Add the tomato paste you made earlier and sauté for a minute.

  7. Now add the marinated goat meat and the marinade to the pot and stir well to mix everything.

  8. Cover and cook until the goat meat is three-quarters cooked.

  9. While the meat is cooking, prepare the rice. To do this, wash the rice thoroughly under running water till the water runs clear. Now put into a deep pot and add enough water to submerge the rice and go 2-inch over its surface. Cook the rice on medium heat until it is almost done. To test, just squeeze a grain between your thumb and index finger. There should still be a uncooked white core at the center when you do this. When the rid dis done, drain it in a colander and keep aside for later.

  10. If you are using the food coloring, divide the cooled rice into 3 equal portions and put into separate dishes. Add the orange food coloring to one portion of the rice and the green food coloring to another portion of the rice. Leave the third portion white. With each portion, mix the rice till all the grains are well colored. Keep aside for 10 minutes after which you can mix all 3 portions of rice together in a bowl for use in the next step.

  11. Soak the strands of saffron in the warm milk.

  12. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas mark 4.

  13. Grease a deep baking dish and add a layer of the cooked rice to the bottom. Now add half the goat meat (and its gravy) on top of the rice. Add another layer of rice, another layer of meat and then the last layer of rice (rice-meat-rice-meat-rice.

  14. Garnish with the ghee and the saffron and milk mixture by drizzling all over the top.

  15. Cover the dish tightly. If your dish does not have a cover tightly with foil and place another same-sized baking pan over it.

  16. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven.

  17. Turn off the oven and let the dish sit in the oven till you are ready to eat. Only open when you are ready to eat. The way to serve Biryani is to gently dig in with a spoon so you get through the layers.

  18. Serve with Raita and Kachumbar salad.