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Yakhni Pulao | Mutton Yakhni Pulao | Goat meat pilaf 

Yakhni pulao is a Pakistani and Indian rice dish made with meat and rice that is cooked in an aromatic stock flavoured with whole spices. Today I am sharing a recipe of mutton yakhni pulao which is made using goat meat (known as mutton in the Indian subcontinent). Read on ahead for my tips on how to make a delicious mutton yakhni pulao. Serve with lots of fried onions on top and raita on the side.  
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Kiran


For the mutton yakhni / stock:

  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds saunf
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds sabit dhaniya
  • ½ kg bone-in small mutton pieces (preferably leg or shoulder meat) goat meat
  • 1 medium onion cut into quarters
  • ½ garlic pod
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 2 bay leaves tez patta

For the rice:

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 onions sliced
  • ½ teaspoon black cumin seeds shah zeera or kala zeera
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds zeera
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 10 - 12 black peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons yoghurt
  • ½ kg basmati rice
  • 4 green chili
  • ½ teaspoon screwpine essence (kewra- optional)
  • ½ teaspoon yellow food colour (zarday ka rang- optional)


For the mutton yakhni / mutton stock:

  • Place the fennel seeds and whole coriander seeds in a clean piece of muslin cloth (known as malmal ka kapra in Urdu / Hindi) and tie a knot around it, or tie it tightly with cotton thread. This is known as potli in Urdu or bouquet garni in English.  In case muslin cloth isn’t available, a tea infuser ball can also be used. Just make sure it’s the right size.
  • Take a large pot and place mutton pieces, onion cut into quarters, garlic cloves, ginger, salt and bay leaves in it. Add the bouquet garni of spices along with about 7 - 8 cups of water. Bring the mutton to a boil and turn heat to low. Boil the mutton on low simmer till it is tender (about 1 - 1 ½ hours) and around 4 - 5 cups / ½ litre of yakhni / stock is left. The mutton will be cooked for about 10 minutes in the next step so it needs to be tender but not super tender else it will break apart.
  • Drain the mutton in a colander making sure to reserve the yakhni / stock in a large bowl. Throw away the bouquet garni of spices along with onion, ginger and garlic reserving the mutton pieces.

For the rice:

  • Clean and wash the basmati rice. Soak for around ½ hour.
  • Heat oil in a large pot and add sliced onions.
  • Fry till they are golden brown and crispy and remove with a slotted spoon. Drain the onions on a kitchen towel - as they cool they will crisp up further. Removing the onions at this step and adding them in the end will ensure the colour of the rice is more white versus cream.
  • Heat up the same oil and add the whole spices - cloves, cumin seeds, black cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and black peppercorn.
  • Fry off the whole spices for a minute and then add the ginger garlic paste.
  • After frying off the ginger garlic paste add the mutton pieces followed by yoghurt. Fry for about 5 - 10 minutes till the water dries off.
  • At this point add the soaked and drained rice along with ½ litre (4  - 4.5 cups) of the yakhni / stock. The yakhni / stock liquid needs to be in the same ratio as the quantity of rice used, so measure accordingly. In case there isn’t enough yakhni / stock add water and if there is too much yakhni / stock then reserve the remainder. Don’t throw it away as it can be drunk as a mutton soup.
  • Bring the mutton and yakhni / stock mixture to a boil and cook on low - medium till the water is almost evaporated from the top.
  • At this point, add green chilies and yellow food colour (if using) along with kewra essence (if using).
  • Close the lid on the pot and cook on low simmer (dufor about 10 - 15 minutes till the rice is done. You can tell when the pulao is done when all the water is absorbed from the sides. Some of the rice grains will still be sticky but let the rice sit for around 10 minutes, and the rice will be separated.
  • To serve, dish out the rice and garnish with the fried onions. Serve with raita on the side.


The ratio of meat to rice in a yakhni pulao is 1:1, but you can increase the quantity of rice if so preferred. I always prefer more rice over meat so when making at home, I use around 3 cups rice for 2 cups meat. 


Calories: 500kcal
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