Minced lamb pilau


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

This quick and easy pilau, Tahari, is traditionally made with minced mutton or lamb, but beef can also be used to ring the changes without altering the complex combination of spices. Colourful, nutritious and packed with flavour, it makes a great dinner party dish and can be easily scaled up to feed a crowd.


For the minced meat

  • 500 g/ lb lean minced (ground) lamb
  • 50 g/2 oz/¼ cup natural (plain) yogurt
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 10 ml/2 tsp garlic purée
  • 2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground cumin
  • 7.5 ml/ tsp ground coriander
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 75 ml/3fl oz/5 tbsp single (light) cream

For the rice

  • 250 g/9 oz/ cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 20 minutes
  • pinch of saffron threads, pounded
  • 10 ml/2 tbsp hot milk
  • 25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered, to garnish


  1. In a non-stick pan, cook the minced lamb over medium to high heat until the juices evaporate and the lamb is beginning to brown. Add the yogurt and cook over a low heat for 2–3 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.

  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the sliced onion. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until the onion is well browned. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies, and stir-fry for minutes, then add the cumin, coriander and turmeric.

  3. Stir-fry for an additional 30 seconds, then add the browned meat and 150 ml/5fl oz/ cup of warm water.

  4. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the salt, garam masala and cream. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes, then remove from the heat and keep warm.

  5. Drain the rice in a colander. Soak the saffron threads in the hot milk in a bowl.

  6. For the rice, melt the ghee or butter over a low heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise and bay leaves. Stir-fry until the cardamom pods have puffed up.

  7. Add the drained rice and salt to the pan, stir to mix and pour in 550 ml/18fl oz/21/ cups hot water. Bring back to the boil and boil steadily for 2 minutes, until the surface water has almost evaporated.

  8. Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the saffron milk randomly over the surface.

  9. Spread the spiced minced meat on top, making sure you cover all the grains of rice. Cover and cook for 6–7 minutes, keeping the heat as low as possible. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pilau stand undisturbed for 15 minutes.

  10. Gently stir with a metal spoon to mix the spiced minced meat and rice, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the quartered hard-boiled eggs.

Per portion Energy 609kcal/2544kJ; Protein 24.4g; Carbohydrate 79.6g, of which sugars 18.2g; Fat 21.5g, of which saturates 5.5g; Cholesterol 57mg; Calcium 70.2mg; Fibre 3.4g; Sodium 156mg.