Recipe / Desi Thursdays

Yakhni Pulao


• 500 gm mutton chops
• 1 kg (seene ki boti, puth, neck and nalli boti) yakhni cuts of mutton
• 1 kg one year old Basmati rice
2 tsp garlic water
300 gm onions, sliced
• 250 gm ghee
30 gm garlic paste
5 brown cardamoms
10 cloves
30 gm ginger paste
5 green cardamoms
2, 1 inch sticks of cinnamon
• 150 gm fresh curd
• Salt, to taste
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• Pepper, to taste
• 300 gm whole wheat flour
• 1/2 tsp kewra jal


The base for making pulao is the yakhni (rich meat stock) in which the rice is cooked. Wash yakhni cuts of mutton.

Heat the ghee and add to it some garlic water. When the water has evaporated, add sliced onions and fry till golden brown. Remove the onions and keep aside.
Divide the same ghee into 3 parts. In two-thirds ghee, add one stick of cinnamon, 3 brown cardamoms, yakhni cuts of meat, 5 cloves, ginger-garlic paste and salt to taste.
Cover and cook turning over frequently till the meat pieces are light brown in colour.
Then add enough water so as to cover the meat by about 1 1/2 inches.
Pressure cook for about 45 minutes initially at high flame and then on very slow fire. Remove the meat pieces. These will be overcooked and therefore the flesh will come apart very easily.
Remove flesh and bone marrow. Mash and strain through a sieve into the yakhni to enrich it. To make sure that there are no bone pieces and the yakhni is smooth, strain once again. Remove bone splinters and loose cartilages from chops. Clean and keep aside.
In a degchi add one-third of the ghee, add chops, 2 brown cardamoms, one-inch stick of cinnamon and salt to taste. Saute for 5 minutes and cover.
Reduce the heat to the minimum and cook. Turn over the pieces in between to ensure even cooking. Cook till done. Remove chops and keep aside.
To about 1 litre of the yakhni add beaten curd, red chilli powder, kewra jal and pepper to taste. Strain through a muslin cloth. Remove excess fat floating on the surface. Check the seasoning.
Parboil rice in 2 tablespoons of fat that has been removed from the yakhni. Add 5 cloves and green cardamoms to the rice for flavour.
Strain the rice through a colander when 3/4 done (parboiled). When fully drained, arrange alternate layers of the rice and chops. Cover fully with lid and seal with flour dough for 'dum' by placing slow fire beneath, and slow live coals on the lid. Remove from the fire after 30 minutes.
Open the lid just before serving. Toss or stir gently once or twice and serve hot. It can be had by itself or with a korma.
-The surplus yakhni fat can be used for enriching other meat preparations.
-The inclusion of mutton chops in the pulao is optional. In fact purists insist that this pulao be prepared only in the yakhni and no other addition is necessary.
-The yakhni pulao can be cooked on a gas stove and then put in a casserole in an oven for the 'dum' procedure.

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