Gosht Yakhni Pulao

Gosht Yakhni Pulao/ Mutton Yakhni Pulao is a rich pulao made with long grained basmati rice perfumed with fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom enriched mutton broth. Originating from the land of Nawabs– Lucknow, it truly is the food of the royalty.

My husband loves this dish and I make it for special occasions at home. Honestly I have never had a Lakhnavi family cook this dish for me, but each time I cook, I try and imagine myself cooking for Eid or for some royalty and all the ingredients that should go in to make it more flavorful. And the recipe I’ve created after several iterations is a no-fail one. This will give you one of the best you’ve created. It might seem like a tedious recipe to put together. But let me tell you, yes it requires a lot of ingredients but does not require you to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

This pulao is very different from most pulaos or biriyanis I’ve tried so far. Fennel seeds in this recipe gives it a very light and refreshing texture- and ribbons of caramelized onions and sliced walnuts, enough to treat the most pampered kid in the house!

I always serve this plush pulao with a home-made yakhni gravy which is made out of the same broth that is used for the pulao. It lends a very nice complementary taste to it and gives the required moisture to wash down the pulao.

Please do yourself a favor and make some extra pulao because this tastes even better the next day when the flavors seep in.

This Gosht Yakhni Pulao is:

  • Fit for celebrations, party dinners or weekend meals
  • Leftovers are great to be packed for lunch to office or school

Combinations to try with Gosht Yakhni Pulao:

  • Yakhni pulao, Yakhni gravy, Naan, Paneer Butter Masala, Mango Ice-Cream
  • Yakhni pulao, Yakhni gravy, Phirni
  • Yakhni pulao, Yakhni gravy, Naan, Mutton Rogan Josh, Shahi Tukda
  • Yakhni pulao, Yakhni gravy


Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Mughlai, Indian, Persian

Prep time: 15Minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Servings: 4-5



For the broth (Make a bouquet garni)

  • 5 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 sticks cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 2 black cardamom pods (badi elaichi)
  • 8-10 cloves (laung)
  • 1 tsp black cumin (kala jeera)
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1” ginger
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion

 For the masala paste:

  • 3 tsp Khus Khus soaked in hot water for ½ hour
  • 1 tsp ginger powder (sonth)
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 tsp black cumin (kala jeera)/ cumin (jeera)
  • 15-18 black peppercorn (gol mirch)
  • 8-10 green cardamom pods (choti elaichi)
  • 3-4 black cardamom pods (badi elaichi)
  • 3 sticks cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 5-6 cloves (laung)
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds (sabut dhaniya)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1” ginger
  • 1 cup curd

For the pulao:

  • 500 grams goat meat or mutton
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 4 Onions (sliced)
  • Fried cashew nuts and sliced walnuts/ almonds for garnishing
  • Green chillis- 4-5
  • Ghee for cooking
  • 3-4 drops of kewra essence
  • Salt



  1. Soak khus khus in water and keep aside. Soak rice in water for 1 hour minimum and maximum 12 hours. It is best to make all the preparations and make the broth in advance since it is time consuming but does not require you to be in the kitchen for very long.
  2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under the masala paste and keep aside.

For the broth:

  1. Heat 2-3 tbsp ghee in a pressure cooker, add mutton pieces and cook for 15-20 minutes i.e till it gets fried and becomes lighter in color.

      4. Make a bouquet garni i.e wrap the spices meant for the broth in a muslin cloth. Add 4.5 times water and spice bag. Pressure cook to give 4 whistles and keep on stove flame for 15-20 minutes. Do not add salt at this stage or mutton will take longer to cook. Experiment with this- the idea is to have the meat tender, but not falling off the bone. It has to endure the cooking with rice too.

Please note: Here we have taken 4.5 times the water so we can use 1.5 cups for making the yakhni gravy. If you are not making the gravy, use 3 cups of water instead.

      5. Remove from heat and let the pressure drop by itself. This will take about half an hour.

      6. The garlic cloves will soften up in the pressure cooker. Mash it with the back of your spatula so it gets incorporated in the rich broth. Don’t discard the bouquet garni, we will use this later for making the gravy

For the pulao:

     7. Heat 3 tbsp ghee, saute chopped onions and green chilies. Cook till onions caramelize. The onions have to darken considerably so that the pulao gets it’s unique golden color.

      8. Remove the mutton pieces from the broth and add here.

      9. Fry for 2-3 minutes with the onions.

    10. Add 3 cups of mutton broth and the masala paste.

     Please note: Here the water and curd mixed together will be in 2:1 ratio with rice.

     11. Add rice, salt and kewra essence. You can cover the pot with a teacloth or kitchen paper towel and place lid on top.

     12. Cover and cook on slow flame till rice is done. This should take around 20 minutes. Do not open the lid during the steaming process or you will end up losing all the steam.

      13. Garnish with caramelized onions and fried cashew nuts/ chopped walnuts.



 For the gravy

  • Mutton broth- 1.5 cups
  • Curd- 2 cups beaten
  • Ghee for cooking

For the paste (Grind everything with ¼ cup water)

  • Bouquet garni used for making the broth
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Browned onion- ½ cup


  1. Heat ghee in a pan. Add ground paste; stir till oil separates
  2. Turn off the flame and cool a little adding a some water before adding the curd to the pan.
  3. Cook stirring continuously till the curd dries up and oil separates. Add mutton broth and make a thick curry consistency. Serve hot with