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Mutton Yakhni Pilau (Gosht Pilau) is significantly a traditional pilau recipe preparation of long grain basmati rice cooked aromatic spiced mutton stock, meat and saffron. The mutton pulao recipe originating from the land of nawabs, 'Lucknow or Awadh' is a signature dish popular across the North India. Yakhni is the stock of the meat with few aromatic spices. The meat is boiled together with the whole spices until the meat cooks to the right texture.

The stock that is created when the meat is cooked, is called Yakhni. You can add this yakhni stock either to a rice dish or in a korma/Shorba. Rice is then cooked along with some spices and yakhni stock, hence the name Yakhni Pilau. Seasoned with fried onions, coriander and mint leaves. The sweet taste of the fried onions along with the melting texture of the meat and rice are a match made in heaven. Served with a Raita and Mango chutney indeed enhances the flavour even more.

Serves 4-6


For the PILAU

4tbsp oil

2tbsp whole cumin seeds

2 bay leafs

2 Black cardamom

6 strands of saffron

2 tbsp yogurt, whisked (Add the above 6 strands of saffron in the yogurt and whisk)

1 onion sliced and cooked, golden brown (birista)

3 onions, sliced

2 tbsp garlic minced

2 tbsp ginger, minced

750g mutton, small pieces

4tsp salt, or to taste

3 cups white basmati rice (soaked for a min 30 mins in cold water before using)

For the YAKHNI

2.5tbsp coriander seeds

3 tbsp black peppercorns

1 bayleaf

4 green cardamoms

2 black cardamom

0.5 star anise

7 cloves

1 medium sized stick cinnamon

1 small onion, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, whole

1 inch ginger, whole


Making the YAKHNI

1. Add all the ingredients under FOR THE YAKHNI to a pan along with mutton pieces and 8 cups of water. Add some salt, and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to medium and cook till the Mutton is tender, this should take around 40-45 minutes. Once cooked, pick out the mutton pieces from the stock and then sieve the stock to separate the whole spices from the stock liquid. (Discard the whole spices)


1. Heat oil in pan. Once the oil is hot, add bay leaves, cumin seeds, black cardamom, and fry for few seconds. Then, add boiled mutton and gently sauté it on high heat for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add salt and whisked yoghurt and mix. Cook for a minute on medium heat. Now, drain the water from the rice. Add rice and mix gently. Then add, the yakhni (mutton stock) counting to the exact 6 cups. If the Yakhni is less in amount, then add some water along with yakhni but it should be 6 cups in total.

3. Add garam masala powder, lemon juice, kewra essence and mix, bring it to a boil.

Allow it to cook on high heat until 90% water dries up, then add the already cooked onions (birista) on the top. Turn the heat off leaving the pan on the hot cooker. Cover the pan with foil and put the lid on for 15 minutes.

Garnish it with coriander and mint leaves and serve with raita, mango chutney and or a salad of your choice.


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