What could be better than fragrant basmati rice layered with spicy and delicious beef curry? Do you, on the other hand, feel intimidated to make biryani at home?
That is, until now. Learn how to make my favorite Pakistani Beef Biryani at home today, with simple step-by-step photos and instructions.
WHAT IS BIRYANI? AND IS IT SPICY?
Let’s talk about Biryani and why it’s so delicious. Biryani is a popular layered rice and meat dish popular throughout India and Pakistan.
Biryani is made up of two main ingredients: fluffy, fragrant basmati rice and a delicious saucy beef (or other protein) curry or masala. It’s also very tasty.
It’s also the Pakistani equivalent of Sunday roast, as it’s almost always made once a week, either on Friday (mostly) or Sunday in most Pakistani households.
When making Biryani, Zarda, a sweet rice recipe, is usually made on the same day as dessert. It’s a lovely and well-liked combination.
Alternative Beef Biryani Recipe Video
VARIATIONS & TYPES
There are so many different types and variations of biryani throughout Pakistan and India:
- Biryani with Chicken
- Beef Biryani (which we’re making today – yum!)
- Biryani with Prawns
- Biryani with Fish
- There’s even vegetarian biryani!
There are also different ways to make biryani, such as layered rice and meat curry (which we’re making today) and dum pukht biryani, which is made by layering uncooked meat masala with rice and cooking it in a sealed clay pot on low heat for hours.
Whatever type of biryani you make, I can assure you that it will be delicious!
INGREDIENTS IN BEEF BIRYANI
- 1 pound stewing beef or beef cubes
- chilies verdes
- spices in their entirety
- spice powders for the basics (feel free to use a box mix instead)
- rice basmati
- paste of ginger and garlic
- lemon or dried plums (my personal preference)
- color of biryani
MAKING THE AROMATIC RICE
- Biryani rice is unique in that A.) we add some fragrant spices to make it all biryani licious and B.) it must be parboiled (not fully cooked)
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the water and spices and bring to a boil until the rice is just cooked, or as we say in Urdu aik kani.
- When you can press the rice between your thumb and index finger and it isn’t completely mushy in the middle, it’s done. The pasta should be al dente.
WHY USE THE INSTANT POT?
A Beef Biryani is only enjoyable to eat when the flavorful meat is gently pressed. Pressure cooking the meat is a great way to flavor it while also saving time.
That being said, I’ve been making this biryani on the stovetop for many years, simmering the meat for 45-55 minutes.
For one major reason, I only use the Instant Pot for the meat portion and not the rice.
The first is that I’ve discovered that different brands of basmati rice cook in different amounts of time, and when I share a time, I want it to be perfect.
There’s nothing worse than making a delicious masala only to have your rice become mushy.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I COOK THE RICE?
This is a frequently asked question of mine. As you can see, I deviate from the norm here. Traditionally, rice should be cooked until it is slightly al dente, with a white dot in the center.
That isn’t necessary, in my opinion, with this biryani. I cook it a little longer, just until it’s cooked through, but it’s still not tender enough to eat. That saves me 20 minutes of ‘dum’ time.
HOW DO I GIVE BIRYANI ‘DUM’ IN THE OVEN?
The term ‘dum’ refers to the process of combining flavors and creating a cohesive dish by steaming the masala and rice together.
I truly believe that baking it in the oven is the best way to accomplish this. Simply layer the Beef Biryani in an oven-safe dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake at 300F for 25-30 minutes.
If you’ve prepared and refrigerated it ahead of time, add five minutes. Plus, you can serve it right in the dish.
HOW TO COOK THE BEEF FOR BIRYANI
- You can cook the beef ahead of time and only need to prepare the rice before your meal; otherwise, it will take at least 3 hours to prepare – unless you cook the beef in a pressure cooker to speed up the process. However, if you use a traditional stovetop, it will take some time.
- Heat the oil, then add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until the fragrance is released.
- Cook for another 10 seconds after adding the chilli powder (or red or green chilies).
- Pat the diced beef dry with a kitchen towel before adding it to the pan.
- Cook until the beef is no longer pink, then add the spices, chopped tomatoes, and beef stock/broth to cover.
- Place the lid on and cook over medium heat, adding more broth as needed, until the beef is tender.
- Season with salt, pepper, and additional spices as desired
- Pour in the yogurt and give it a good stir.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE BEEF BIRYANI
- When the beef is done, you can start on the rice. Plain rice would suffice, but how about we take it to the next level and add some lovely spices to it, making it fragrant and just right to go with that delicious beef?
- Rinse the rice in cold water until it is clear.
- Add the rice, a pinch of salt, the cardamom pods, and the cloves to the pan.
- Allow to cook until the rice is almost done but still has some texture.
- Drain the water thoroughly, then transfer half of it to a dish.
- Heat the oil separately, then add the onions and cook until golden brown.
- Place the beef on top of the rice, then scatter the onions on top, and cover with the remaining rice.
- Pour the milk and saffron mixture over the rice.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is perfectly fluffy.
- Garnish with coriander or parsley if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most common rice used to make biryani in Pakistan is’sella’ basmati rice. However, because I almost never have sella rice on hand, I make my beef biryani with a good quality long grain basmati rice.
You could make your own Biryani masala, but Shan Biryani Masala is now widely available and provides an authentic taste. As a result, I recommend using a pre-made spice mix to make the cooking process a little easier.
Without a doubt! However, because chicken cooks faster than beef, the cooking time for the meat masala will be reduced.
In Pakistan, there is a heated debate over whether Aloo (potatoes) belong in biryani. I’m a big fan of adding potato to biryani because it soaks up the wonderful masala curry flavor, and it’s all delicious yum!
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