Yakhni Pulao

What is unique about this Yakhni Pulao?

This popular dish is saffron and yogurt-based mutton delicacy infused with aromatic spices (masalas). Having its origin in the Middle East the word Yakhni. 

The word is derived from the Persian word Yakhni, which means the stock of broth. It is generally believed that the popular dish originated in the middle east. The mutton is cooked in various spices, and this mutton and the broth is used to make Pulao.
According to legends, Yakhni Pulao was a dish that was brought into India by the Mughal invaders as a substitute for Biryani.

A fusion of cloves, cardamom, dry ginger powder, fennel seeds, and black and green cardamom the aromas of these spices are blended together with the help of yogurt as a binding agent. 

Ingredients for Yakhni Pulao

Onions -3-4 onions sliced
Lamb pieces – 750 gms
Ginger -Garlic paste – 2 tsp
Yogurt – 3 tablespoons, thick (Greek or hung yogurt)
Chilli powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
Oil-2 tablespoons
Clarified butter(ghee) – 2 tablespoons
Raisins – (to be soaked and added when you add the rice)
Dry ginger powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Basmati Rice – 1/2 kg washed and soaked

Whole Spices : 

Cumin – 1 tablespoon
Bay Leaves- 4-5
Black peppercorns -10-12
Cinnamon- 2” pieces
Cloves- 4-5 pods
Black cardamoms – 2 pods


In a bowl, mix together the lamb pieces, yogurt, turmeric, chili, and ginger- garlic paste, like a maninate

Wash the rice well, and leave it to soak covered in water

While the meat and rice sit, we would start preparing the Yakhni

For this, heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan
When it’s hot, add the whole spices and as soon as they start sizzling fry three-quarters of the onion for 10 minutes

At this point, you could sprinkle a pinch of salt to aid cooking
When the onions turn a golden brown, mix in the meat and the marinade, ensure medium-low flame

Toss in meat in the large heavy-bottom pan for five minutes so its brown, its like a bit frying of meat pieces

If the masala mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, just add a little hot water and scrape to release

Next add water so the meat is submerged in water, cover and leave the meat to cook on the low-heat for 50 minutes

This meat gravy is called Yakhni
While the meat bubbling away, bring another pan to heat with the ghee

Saute the remaining onions until golden and set aside with a slotted spoon. 

Then drain and gently stir the rice in the remaining ghee
As it turns translucent, mix the rice into the meat and its stock – the “yakhni”

Bring the rice to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. 

Garnish the pulao with golden fried onions and serve

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