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A picture of Beef Biryani

Beef Biryani

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This Beef Biryani recipe is made with golden raisins, toasted almonds, saucy beef, warm spices, and fragrant basmati rice. So, so good.



For the simmer sauce:

  • 1 white onion (half used here, half used below)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger
  • 3/4 cup thick plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the biryani

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 lb. beef (I used a pack of pre-cubed meat that was labeled “stew beef”)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin (a little less is okay, just see how you feel about it)
  • 1 teaspoon ground roasted coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups beef broth


  1. Make the simmer sauce: Cut the onion in half and set one half aside for later. Cut the remaining half into quarters. Place in the food processor with the garlic, cilantro, and ginger. Puree until smooth, adding a little water if needed. Set aside.
  2. Caramelize the onions: In a large ovenproof pan over medium low heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil. Cut the reserved half onion into thin slices and add to the pan. Caramelize/fry onion until golden brown and sweet tasting, about 15 minutes. Add the almonds and raisins and stir fry until everything is slightly softened, toasty, and golden nummy. Set aside.
  3. Make the beef: Return the pan to the stove and melt the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and oil over medium high heat. Add the steak pieces – sear them so that they get nice and browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe excess grease out of the pan; add the simmer sauce from step one to the pan. While it simmers, measure the spices and add them to the pan. Stir fry until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the yogurt and about 1 cup water and stir until smooth. Add the browned beef back to the pan with the simmer sauce. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  4. Prepare the rice: While the beef is simmering (yum!) soak the rice in cold water and then rinse thoroughly to remove the starch – this helps it from being too sticky later on. Heat 3 cups of beef broth in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add the rinsed rice and simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes. The rice should be partially cooked but it’s okay if it’s still a little raw. It will finish cooking in the oven. Drain off the liquid and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Finish it off: Spoon the rice on top of the beef and make a small well in the middle for moisture. Sprinkle the caramelized onions from step two over the rice. Cover with two tight layers of foil and a tight fitting lid. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving. Top with cilantro and serve with chapati or naan.


When simmering the beef, it’s really important to give the beef plenty of time to get nice and tender. If the liquid evaporates in the pan, just add a small amount of water, yogurt, or both; stir and continue simmering.

I purchased my fenugreek seeds at a local co-op where they were sold in bulk. I just got one tiny bag (enough for making this recipe a few times) and it cost 40 cents. yayyy

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: beef biryani, biryani recipe, indian beef recipe