Beef Biryani

This fragrant beef and rice dish is a staple at any celebratory dinner. From weddings to important days, beef biryani is a must! It was served at my henna party the day before my wedding. Every celebration must have biryani. The raw papaya has strong tenderizing powers.
Yield 8 Servings Prep. Time 30 min Marinating Time 120 min Cooking Time 120 min Total Time 270 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) milk
  • 2 lb (1 kg) Beef Boneless Blade Simmering Steak
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) minced papaya
  • 1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) EACH gingerroot paste and garlic paste (See Tip*)
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) EACH chopped fresh cilantro and mint
  • Salt
  • 2 cups (500 mL) basmati rice
  • Canola or sunflower oil
  • 4 small potatoes, cut in half
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Yellow food colouring
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) fried onions, divided (See Tip**)
  • Additional plain yogurt

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Combine saffron threads with milk in a small bowl; set aside to soak.
  2. Cut beef into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and place in a bowl. Add papaya and stir to combine. Stir in yogurt, tomatoes, gingerroot, garlic, turmeric, lemon juice, cilantro, mint, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and saffron mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 24 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, place rice in a medium bowl, add cold water and swish the rice. Drain off water and repeat 3 more times until the water in the bowl is somewhat clear. Cover with fresh water and let soak for 2 hours.
  4. Heat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of oil over medium in a deep saucepan until oil reaches 350°F (180°C). Deep-fry potatoes for about 5 to 7 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. Drain rice and place in a saucepan. Add fresh water to cover by about 2 inches (5 cm) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Season water with salt, reduce heat and boil gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until rice is half-cooked. Drain and set aside.
  6. Combine beef mixture, potatoes and ¼ cup (60 mL) oil in a large Dutch oven or enamelled cast-iron roaster, mixing well. Spoon par-boiled rice over top and spread in an even layer.
  7. Heat ¼ cup (60 mL) oil over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks; heat for 2 minutes or until sizzling and fragrant. Pour spices and oil over rice. Drizzle a few drops of food colouring onto the tip of a knife and run it through the rice to distribute. Scatter a handful of fried onions over top.
  8. Cover pot with foil and place the lid over foil (this prevents steam from escaping). Bake in preheated 330°F oven for about 2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.
  9. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with additional yogurt and remaining fried onions.