Video recipe: Spinach Lamb Pilaf

Spinach Lamb Pilaf Recipe

One of my absolute favorites, and a one pot rice and meat dish! My mom makes this beauty with Jeera Sambhar rice. Its a small grain rice with a distinct aroma. I haven't seen and Indian stores carry this rice where I live, so I use Basmati. You may choose what you have on hand. The type of rice used will also play a major role in the end result. 

Lets get started! Hope this video helps. Recipe follows. 

Serves 6


1 kg/ 2lb/ 5 cups Basmati or Sona masoori rice

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp ghee or melted butter

Whole spices (2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 2 inch cinnamon stick, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 2 cardamoms, 1/2 tsp whole pepper seeds)

2 cups onion, chopped

2 cups tomatoes, chopped 

1/2 cup mint leaves, freshly chopped

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 cups coconut milk

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp salt ( less or more as you prefer)

Juice of 2 limes

For the lamb marinade:

1 kg/2 lb or 5 cups  bone-in lamb pieces, cut about 3 inches thick

1 cup yogurt

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

For the spinach chili puree:

3 cups fresh baby spinach

8-10 fresh hot, green chilies (more or less as you prefer)

1 cup water


  1. In a bowl, add lamb and its marinating ingredients. Mix well and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Make a puree of chilies, spinach and water. Set aside
  2. In another bowl, wash the raw rice in water until the water runs clear. Now soak the rice in water. Set aside for 20 minutes. 
  3. Use a large pressure cooker pan or heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Add oil and ghee, when it starts to shimmer add all the whole spices. When they turn aromatic, add in onions. After about 2 minutes, add the ginger garlic paste. Sauté and add chopped tomatoes. 
  4. Once the vegetables are soft and pulpy, add the marinated lamb. Cook until the raw smell disappears and the oil starts to separate. 
  5. Add in the powders and salt. Stir it in and let cook for a few minutes. Pour in the chili spinach puree. Let cook for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and hot water. 10-12 cups combined. 
  6. Please note: Since we are using 1kg /2 lb/ 5 cups rice and 1 kg/2 lb meat, we will need 10-12  cups liquid to cook the pilaf. You will need to measure water and coconut milk to match the proportion. 
  7. Once the liquid come to a rolling boil, and the lamb in nearly cooked, turn down the heat to low. 
  8. Drain the soaked rice and add into the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add lime juice. 
  9. Let the rice cook and and skim to the surface, absorbing most of the liquid. Add a few spoons of ghee. 
  10. Place the pan on a tawa or griddle that is heating on low. This prevents the rice from burning. Close the top of the pot with a kitchen towel. Cover this with the pot lid. This will ensure that the rice cooks in its own steam. 
  11. Cook for 15 minutes on low. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and kitchen towel. Fluff the pilaf, serve hot with raitha , a lemon wedge and raw onions. Enjoy!