North Indian Yakhni Pulao

Veg Pulao

Zohaib Hussain / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 80 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1064 Calories
53g Fat
73g Carbs
70g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1064
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 53g 68%
Saturated Fat 19g 96%
Cholesterol 234mg 78%
Sodium 285mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 73g 26%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 70g
Calcium 127mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This tasty rice pilaf dish is a classic at North Indian meals where it is known as a pulao. It gets its modifier—yakhni (pronounced akhni)—from the meat stock it is cooked in.

Yakhni pulao can be served with just a simple vegetable raita but you can go all out and add a curry dish too if you like.


  • For the Spice Bundle:
  • 6-inch square muslin
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • For the Meat and Rice:
  • 2 pounds/1 kilogram goat meat or lamb with bones (cut into 2-inch or bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (vegetable, sunflower or canola)
  • 4 large onions (2 chopped fine, 2 sliced very thinly)
  • 2 1/2 cups basmati rice (washed well)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

To Make the Spice Bundle

  1. If you are using a pressure cooker, put 6 cups of water in it. If using a deep, heavy-bottomed pan, put 8 to 9 cups of water in it.

  2. Cut a piece of muslin cloth into a 6-inch square and place the cinnamon, black and green cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, star anise, coriander and cumin seeds, bay leaf and red chili powder in the center of this square.

  3. Gather up the edges and tie tightly with a piece of string to form a bundle. Put this bundle in the pressure cooker or pan.

To Cook the Meat and Rice

  1. Add the ginger, garlic pastes, meat, and salt to taste to the pressure cooker or pan and close. Boil till the meat is almost cooked.

  2. Remove the muslin bag and throw it away. Remove the meat from the pot and reserve. The stock left in the pot should measure 6 cups. If there is more, boil it down till you get 6 cups. If there is less, add hot water to get 6 cups.

  3. In a separate deep pan, heat the cooking oil and add the chopped onions. Fry till light golden.

  4. Now add the reserved meat, reduced stock, rinse rice and yogurt, and mix well. Cook on medium till the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is done. The rice is done when you press a few grains between your index finger and thumb and they feel firm but mash completely (just like al dente pasta).

  5. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

  6. This step is optional—while the rice is resting, fry the sliced onions in cooking oil till caramelized and golden. Drain and keep on paper towels.

  7. Open the pan and stir the rice well, taking care not to break up the pieces of meat.

  8. Garnish with optional fried sliced onions and serve it piping hot with a vegetable raita or curry dish of your choice.