Sindhi Biryani

Rice with Spicy Lamb and Dates

Sindhi Biryani
Sindhi Biryani
This image courtesy of Galdones Photography

The Sindhi people originally came from northwest India, which became part of Pakistan in the 1947 partition. Many of them moved south in order to stay in India, where they continue to celebrate their culture through dishes like this biryani. Since many Sindhis are also Muslims, lamb is used in this dish, while saffron, dates and almonds highlight the Persian influence of the Mughal Empire. This dish is rich and full of flavor; it’s really nice for a special-occasion dinner.

Cooking MethodPressure Cooker


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) yogurt, store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons (15 mL) kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 pound (500 g) trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced and divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cloves
  • 8 green cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cumin seeds
  • 1 2-inch (5 cm) cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 10 dates or prunes, chopped 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow-fleshed potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cup cups (375 mL) brown basmati rice, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) saffron
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chopped fresh mint


  1. Whisk together the yogurt, ginger, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) garlic, ghee, chili powder, turmeric, 2 teaspoons (10 mL) salt and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pepper in a large bowl. Add the lamb and stir to coat it evenly. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

  2. Using the Sauté function on High, heat the oil in the inner pot for about 1 minute, until shimmering. Add half the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned. Transfer to a small bowl.

  3. Place the remaining onion, cloves, cardamom pods, remaining 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pepper, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) garlic in the inner pot; stir to combine and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt and water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the dates, chiles, potatoes, lamb and yogurt marinade, rice and saffron; stir to combine.

  4. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 23 minutes.

  5. Once the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.

  6. Remove the lid and stir. Transfer to a serving platter and top with reserved browned onions and mint; serve. 


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