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yakhni pulao in a plate

Mutton Yakhni Pulao

Yakhni pulao is a classic meat and rice dish with deep but subtle flavors.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword yakhni pulao
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Calories 503.8kcal


For the stock

  • 1.1 lb or 500 gm bone-in mutton or lamb
  • 2 whole garlic pods unpeeled
  • 1.5 " fresh ginger cut thickly
  • 2 medium-sized red onions quartered
  • 2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 5 green cardamom
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • salt to taste

For the pulao

  • 3 cups or 600 gm Basmati rice rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 0.5 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium-sized onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tablespoon yogurt whisked
  • salt to taste


  • Tie all the stock ingredients (except meat and salt) in a small cheesecloth or muslin bag.
  • Place the meat and spice bag you made in step 1 in the steel insert of your instant pot. Fill the pot with water so that it covers the meat and spice bag completely. Add salt. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release handle is on 'sealing.' Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 15 minutes. When the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally. If using a stovetop pressure cooker, pressure cook for 10-12 minutes only. 
  • Open the pot and remove the meat and spice bag from the stock. Let the spice bag cool down, then hold it above the steel insert and squeeze it lightly so that the liquid in the bag falls into the pot. Open the bag and discard the spices.
  • For this step, you can continue using the instant pot or make the pulao in a large dutch oven on the stovetop. If opting for the former, transfer the stock to a bowl and wash the steel insert lightly. Put it back in the instant pot and press sauté. Add the oil and the whole spices and when they start to sizzle, slide in the sliced onions. Fry until reddish brown.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 5 minutes or until the oil floats on top. 
  • Add the yogurt followed by salt and the meat you kept aside in step 3. Let the meat cook in the masala for about 5 minutes. 
  • Finally, add the rice and 4 cups stock. Secure the lid again and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. When the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally and open the pot. Fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with some fried onions. Serve hot with chutney or raita.
  • If making the pulao in a dutch oven on the stovetop, add 4.5 cups stock and let the liquid come to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the meat and rice cook until most of the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Let the pulao rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with some fried onions. Serve hot with chutney or raita.


  1. Leftover stock can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days and used for making rice or soup. You can also freeze it in ziploc bags or a freezer safe jar for later use.
  2. Go for meat from the shoulder or leg of a lamb or goat.
  3. Do fry the onions to a dark reddish-brown color. This imparts a rich color to the pulao as well. If the onions are under-done, the pulao will look pale. Do be careful not to burn the onions though.
  4. If you want a touch of heat, add a teaspoonful of red chilli flakes to the masala.
  5. Serve the pulao with raita (yogurt flavored with roasted and ground cumin) or a chutney of your choice.


Calories: 503.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 62.3g | Protein: 26.6g | Fat: 17.3g | Saturated Fat: 5.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.6g | Cholesterol: 58.7mg | Sodium: 755.9mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 2.9g