Lamb Pilau / Pulao – A One-Pot Pakistani Lamb Pilaf Recipe
A family favourite – My Lamb Pilau is one of my most frequently cooked meals at home and happens to be one I never mess up. Try it out – I’m certain it’ll become a firm favourite for your house too!
Cook Time
Cook Time
  • 4tbsp oil
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 10cloves garlic
  • 1.5tbsp freshly grated garlic
  • 750grams lamb, bone in
  • 2tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 4tsp saltor to taste
  • 1finger-sized piece whole cinnamon
  • 3cups white basmati ricesoaked for a minimum of 30 minutes
Whole Spices for the Muslin Cloth (Potli)
  • 2.5tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 2.5tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bayleaf
  • 10 green cardamoms
  • 3 black cardamoms
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 0.5 star anise
  1. In a deep pot, heat the oil and add the sliced onions. Fry these, ensure you stir so they are evenly browning
  2. Once the onions have become translucent, soft and are beginning to show a golden colour, add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds. Fry for a few moments
  3. Add the lamb. Ensure the lamb is completely dry, otherwise the lamb won’t brown as well. Fry the lamb alongside everything else, stirring to ensure nothing is burning and everything it browning evenly
  4. Once the lamb has browned to your liking, add your muslin cloth with all the whole spices wrapped and tied into it, the cinnamon stick, salt and 6 cups of water. I keep the cinnamon stick out of the muslin cloth as I like the fragrance it gives the rice, which intensifies as it sits
  5. Bring a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes
  6. Once the broth has been cooked, check the salt. Your broth should have a slightly too-salty taste
  7. Add in the pre-soaked rice. You’ll need to check there is enough water – the way I do this is I put my finger in so the tip of my finger touches the rice. The water should be coming up to the first line on my finger. If there is too little, add some more water in till it reaches that level. If there is too much, scoop a bit out using a cup
  8. Cook this on high, scraping one or twice from the sides to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the pot. Do this carefully ensuring you do not break the rice
  9. Once the water has mostly been absorbed but the rice still looks moist, cover with a tight lid and turn the heat down to the lowest possible heat. Steam this for 20 minutes
  10. Finally, fluff up with a fork or spoon carefully and allow to rest again for at least 10 minutes before serving
Recipe Notes

Pilau is often garnished with fried onion, as shown in the images. Two fried onions for garnishing purposes should suffice for 3 cups of rice

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