Skip to Content

Authentic Mutton Yakhni Pulao

Experience the ultimate Indian comfort meal with my irresistible mutton yakhni pulao! Begin by crafting a smooth and velvety yakhni soup before cooking the rice. This rice dish is perfect for get-togethers and family gatherings, with tender mutton, crispy fried onions, aromatic spices, and yakhni-infused basmati rice

Yakhni pulao on a plate topped with cilantro.

What is Yakhni Pulao?

Create two meals in one go with our hearty mutton yakhni pulao. Pulao is easy to make, but you will spend most of your time preparing the yakhni to cook the rice in. Homemade yakhni (made with mutton for this recipe) is the basis for any authentic yakhni pulao recipe; consider making it with another protein like lamb or chicken to make another dinner favorite of ours, chicken yakhni pulao.

What is Yakhni Pulao Made Of?

  • Whole Spices: Flavor the yakhni broth with black cardamom, green cardamom, black cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, and bay leaves.
  • Ghee: Develop a deep, nutty flavor for the dish by sautéing the onions, garlic, chilies, and spices in ghee.
  • Onion: Onions enrich the broth and serve as a crispy garnish for the pulao.
  • Garlic and Ginger: Adding fresh garlic and ginger enhances the taste of the soup broth.
  • Green Chilis: Include whole green chilies for heat that doesn’t overwhelm.
  • Mutton: Use mutton to prepare our yakhni pulao recipe, but you can also make it with chicken or lamb.
  • Salt: Use salt as a lever for perfectly seasoned rice.
  • Biryani Masala: A small amount of biryani masala takes the flavor of the pulao to the next level.
  • Basmati Rice: The key to preparing tasty rice begins with soaking it in water beforehand; the longer, the better! Soaking the rice results in the long, distinct grains of basmati rice – perfect for pulao.

How to Make Mutton Yakhni Pulao

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

For the Yakhni:

Step 1: Prepare the yakhni.

All of the ingredients for the yakhni soup in the instant pot.

For the Pulao with Mutton:

Step 1: Drain the goat meat in a colander over a large mixing bowl to preserve the broth. Then, reserve 1½ cups of the broth and store the rest. Set the goat meat aside.

Broth separated from the bones and meat.

Step 2: Warm ghee in a Dutch oven over low-medium heat, and add onions. Cook until they are golden brown and crispy, for about 20-25 minutes.

Step 3: While the onions are cooking, wash the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Then, add the rice to a bowl and cover it with water to soak it for at least 30 minutes.

Basmati rice soaking in a bowl of water.

Step 4: Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set them aside to drain. In the same pot, saute cumin seeds and green chiles until they begin sputtering..

Whole spices and green chilies searing in the pan.

Step 5: Stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell fades.

Garlic, ginger, green chilies, and whole spices in a pan.

Step 6: Drain the soaking water and add the rice to the Dutch oven with the reserved yakhni soup and biryani masala. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender for about 10-15 minutes.

Yakhni, rice, and biryani masala added to the pan.

Step 7: Remove the rice from the heat and add the reserved mutton. Stir to combine. Cover with the lid and set it aside to steam for 10 minutes.

Rice resting after cooking to absorb the extra moisture.

Step 8: Add a layer of mutton and rice to a serving dish and top it with the crispy onion. Layer more rice over the top, followed by the onion. Repeat until the ingredients are gone, and garnish with cilantro to serve.

Yakhni pulao on a plate topped with cilantro.

Expert Tips

  • Start with fresh, whole spices. Fresh spices make a difference in the overall flavor of the yakhni since spices lose their flavor over time.
  • Bone-in meat is needed to make the yakhni soup. You can use store-bought bone broth if you’re in a pinch, but I don’t recommend it since it includes different spices and vegetables than homemade versions.

How to Make Instant Pot Yakhni Pulao

  1. Drain the goat meat in a colander over a large mixing bowl to preserve the broth. Then, reserve 1½ cups of the broth and store the rest.
  2. Warm the ghee in an Instant Pot in saute mode. Add the onions and cook until they are golden brown and crispy, for about 20 minutes.
  3. While the onions are cooking, wash the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Then, add the rice to a bowl and cover it with water to soak it for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set them aside to drain. In the same pot, saute cumin seeds and green chilies until they begin sputtering. Add one teaspoon of ghee if needed.
  5. Stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes until the raw smell fades.
  6. Drain the soaking water and add the rice to the Instant Pot with the reserved yakhni soup and biryani masala.
  7. Bring the Instant Pot to a boil in saute mode. Then, secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 7 minutes.
  8. Unplug and stir in the reserved mutton. Stir to combine. Cover with the lid (but do not secure it) and leave it to steam for 10 minutes.

If you enjoy the meal, try one of these Indian recipes!  

Yakhni pulao on a plate topped with cilantro.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the dish cool and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Mutton yakhni pulao freezes for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the rice dish in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Warm the leftovers in the microwave or stovetop.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between yakhni pulao and biryani?

At first glance, pulao may seem plain compared to a meal like biryani. But don’t let the look of it fool you. What pulao lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in flavor.

Yakhni pulao is an aromatic dish made by boiling rice with whole spices in a homemade stock. Biryani is a flavorful dish made with marinated meat and partially cooked rice that are layered together and cooked for a robust, spicy taste.

What is the rice to broth ratio?

Knowing the ratio of rice and liquid will help you scale the recipe to make more or less, depending on who you’re preparing the dish for. I find that one cup of long-grained basmati rice to 1½ cups of broth or yakhni works best to make this recipe.

More Pakistani Recipes:

Your Feedback is Valuable

Did you try this recipe? Consider leaving a ⭐️ rating and comment below. And for more healthy international recipes for everyday cooking, sign up to have recipes emailed right to you.

Yakhni pulao on a plate topped with cilantro.

Yakhni Pulao

Tressa Jamil
Combine yakhni-infused basmati rice, fork-tender mutton, crispy onions, and warm Indian spices to make our authentic yakhni pulao recipe.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 477 kcal
Ingredients
  
For the Mutton Yakhni:
For the Mutton Yakhni Pulao:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green peppers
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 – inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked
  • 1 teaspoon biryani masala
  • cup yakhni soup, reserved from the yakhni soup
  • pounds goat meat, reserved from the mutton yakhni soup
Instructions
 

For the Mutton Yakhni:

  • Add the whole spices for the masala to a spice ball and set it aside. Warm ghee in an Instant Pot on saute mode. Add the onions and cook until they soften and become translucent.
  • Stir in the crushed garlic cloves, ginger, green chiles, and cinnamon stick; cook for another minute.
  • Rinse the goat meat and bones, then add them to the pot. Cook on saute mode for 1-2 minutes.
  • Cover the meat with water, add salt, and stir to combine. Nestle the reserved spice ball into the Instant Pot, secure the lid, and cook on manual high pressure for 40 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.

For the Yakhni Pulao with Mutton:

  • Drain the goat meat in a colander over a large mixing bowl to preserve the broth. Then, reserve 1½ cups of the broth and store the rest. Set the goat meat aside.
  • Warm ghee in a Dutch oven over low-medium heat, and add onions. Cook until they are golden brown and crispy, for about 20-25 minutes.
  • While the onions are cooking, wash the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Then, add the rice to a bowl and cover it with water to soak it for at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set them aside to drain. In the same pot, saute cumin seeds and green chiles until they begin sputtering.
  • Stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell fades.
  • Drain the soaking water and add the rice to the Dutch oven with the reserved yakhni soup and biryani masala. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and add the reserved mutton. Stir to combine. Cover with the lid and set it aside to steam for 10 minutes.
  • Add a layer of mutton and rice to a serving dish and top it with the crispy onion. Layer more rice over the top, followed by the onion. Repeat until the ingredients are gone, and garnish with cilantro to serve.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Start with fresh, whole spices. Fresh spices make a difference in the overall flavor of the yakhni since spices lose their flavor over time.
  • Bone-in meat is needed to make the yakhni soup. You can use store-bought bone broth if you’re in a pinch, but I don’t recommend it since it includes different spices and vegetables than homemade versions.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 477 kcal | Carbohydrates: 41 g | Protein: 24 g | Fat: 23 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g | Cholesterol: 57 mg | Sodium: 1136 mg | Potassium: 360 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 3 IU | Vitamin C: 14 mg | Calcium: 4 mg | Iron: 10 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating