Cheats Biryani – Keema Pilau with Mint Yogurt – only 9sp

We often stock up on mince as it’s cheap, cheerful and easy to cook up. Tonight however I didn’t fancy a lasagne/bolognaise/chilli so I thought I would give something new a whirl. Loving Indian takeaways I’ve wanted to try a biryani for a while so I thought this was the perfect chance.

This recipe is a combination of a few I researched and the results were delicious! The method might seem a bit fiddly but if you have time it’s worth soaking the rice for the authentic texture and incredible taste. If you are running a bit short of time however you could use microwavable basmati rice or precooked normal basmati rice and add it to the frying pan cooked instead of the dry, soaked rice. If you are doing this you can just pop it on top of the mince meat mixture, let it steam for a few minutes and then mix in.


Serves 4 = 9sp (previously 9pp) each
160g basmati rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, very finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled and grated
1 box of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
3 tsp garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional, add if you like it hot)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g extra lean beef mince
80g frozen peas
1 green chilli, finely chopped (and deseeded if you don’t like it too spicy)
 For the rice
1 cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom pod
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1.2 litres boiling water
Large handful of chopped fresh coriander
200ml fat free natural yoghurt mixed with 1/4 tsp mint sauce
2 lemons, 1 halved and 1 quartered (for serving)


Place the basmati rice in a large bowl and cover with a few inches of cold water. Leave to stand for 30 minutes while you carry on with the rest of the dish.
Heat half of the olive oil in a large non stick pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onions are nice and soft (it should take around 8-10 minutes). Then add the mushrooms and peppers and fry for a few more minutes. Next add the turmeric, garam masala, cumin and ground coriander (and the chilli powder if using) into the mixture, stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and simmer for 5 minutes. Then crumble the mince into the tomato mixture, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is brown and there’s no pink left (this should take around 10-12 minutes). Then mix the frozen peas and the green chillies into the beef.
Drain the rice. Heat the rest of the oil a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the cinnamon stick, cardamom pod, bay leaves and cloves until a lovely smell comes from it (around 1 minute). Add the drained rice to the spice mixture and fry until the rice smells nutty (1 to 2 minutes). Spread the rice (including the spices) over the beef mixture, but don’t stir. Then gently pour the water over the rice, season with salt and bring the mixture to the boil for 2 minutes.


Then cover the pan with a lid (or tin foil), reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the rice is tender (it took me around 15 minutes). Remove from heat completely and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Then give a good stir, mix through the coriander and  squeeze in the juice of half a lemon (at least, give it a taste and add more if you think it needs it).


Serve in a big bowl with the mint yogurt and a slice of lemon.



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5 thoughts on “Cheats Biryani – Keema Pilau with Mint Yogurt – only 9sp

  1. Kay McCarrick says:

    Hi Laura, I’m loving your recipes and getting so much inspiration. There’s only two of us at home now so I like to cook for four and freeze half for another time. Do you think this Biriyani dish will freeze ok?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Kay, ah thank you, so pleased you like them 🙂 I don’t like freezing rice so if you want to freeze this I would freeze the meat mixture before adding the rice so that when you went to reheat, you add the rice at this point 🙂 x

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