You know how you make a traditional Indian lamb biryani? First you get ready to dirty about six different pots in your kitchen. Next you obsess over the exact doneness of the rice. What is “50 percent done” or “75 percent done” rice, as traditional recipes ask you to gauge? Then you worry about the lamb not cooking as fast as the rice. Finally, six hours later, when your kitchen looks like a hurricane hit it, you pick up the phone and order pizza. Or you can make this stupid-simple recipe for an authentic biryani instead. Yes, the lamb will cook in the short time, as long as you marinate it and cut it into bite-size pieces. You can substitute beef for the lamb as well, if you like.
1lblamb shoulder or legtrimmed and cut into bite-size cubes
For The Garnish:
1yellow onionthinly sliced
For the rice and lamb: Place the rice in a colander and rinse under cool running water; set aside to soften and absorb some of the water.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, minced onion, cilantro, mint, chile, ginger, garlic, garam masala, salt, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Whisk to combine. Add the lamb and toss to coat. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while the rice rests.
Meanwhile, prepare the garnish: Preheat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Break the onion slices apart with your fingers and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with the salt. Toss to combine. Broil the onions for about 15 minutes, stirring only once or twice.
In the Instant Pot, arrange the lamb mixture so it covers the bottom of the pot. Carefully spread the rice all over the meat in a uniform layer. Carefully pour the water over the rice, gently pushing down on the rice until it’s submerged in the water. (Do not mix the lamb and rice together.)
Secure the lid on the pot. Close the pressure-release valve. Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK and set the pot at HIGH pressure for 6 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, allow the pot to sit undisturbed until the pressure has released. (This part is important, as it approximates the traditional steam cooking process.)
Serve topped with the browned onion garnish and the cilantro.
NOTE: Use aged Indian basmati, not American basmati, if possible.