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5 from 9 votes

Yakhni Pulao

Awadhi Yakhni Pulao is a classic meat and rice comfort dish made with long grain basmati rice cooked in delicately spiced meat stock.
Prep Time10 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 417kcal


For Yakhni (Stock)

  • 1.1 lb (~500g) mutton or goat meat or lamb (bone in)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 12 black peppercorn
  • 2 large bay leaf
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamom
  • ½ nutmeg
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 inch ginger
  • 8-12 dried red chilli adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup water

For The Pulao

  • 1.25 cup basmati rice
  • 5 tablespoon oil
  • 1.5 cup onion sliced (from 1 large onion)
  • 1 teaspoon shahi jeera
  • 2.5 cup yakhni + water (yakhni topped with water)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Cilantro, Ginger Julinnes garnish


Make the Yakhni

  • Add everything listed under yakhni to a 5 qt dutch oven. If you wish, you can tie up everything except meat & salt in a muslin or cheesecloth.
  • Cover the pot and set on a medium high stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or untill the meat is fork tender but not falling apart.
    Note:- Please keep in mind that the cooking time of meat will depend on how small or big the cuts are. So adjust the time accordingly. You can use pressure cooker or IP as well.
  • Once the meat is cooked, switch off the stove. Pick out the meat pieces using tongs or spoon into a medium bowl and cover the bowl with a cling film immediately to make sure that the meat does not dry out.
    If you used a cheesecloth or muslin bag, simply lift using tongs and discard.
  • Set a large colander over another large bowl and drain the yakhni in there. Dont mash the ginger or garlic or onions, else the yakhni will not be clear. Discard the spices and vegetables left behind in colander.
  • Yakhni is ready. You can enjoy it as it like a soup when while it is warm with few squirts of lemon and scatter of fresh cilantro. Add a few pieces of cooked meat to make it more filling. If you are making pulao, follow steps below.
  • Measure the yakhni. The variety of rice I use needs double amount of liquid to cook. So I needed 2.5 cups of liquid to cook the rice. I got 2 cups of yakhni from the recipe above and I added ½ cup water to it. 

Make the Pulao

  • Wash the rice 2-3 times under a running stream of water.Soak the rice for 20 mins. You can manage time and soak rice while the yakhni is getting ready.
  • In a wide shallow pot, (I use my braiser) or you can use a kadhai or any wide pot with lid, heat up the oil.
  • Once the oil is warm, add the sliced onions. On medium heat, brown the onion. It takes about 8-10 minutes but do not rush this process. 
  • Once the onions are reddish brown, add the cumin seeds and saute for 15 seconds.
  • Next, add the meat and stir around with the onions for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. The meat will brown a little.
  • Add the soaked rice(discard the water in which you soaked) along with yakhni (+water). Mix gently and taste the salt in the liquid, it should be sharp salty at this stage else adjust salt. This makes sure that your rice is properly seasoned once cooked. 
  • Cover with a lid and set the rice to cook on medium high heat, once you see that the liquid is bubbling, reduce the heat to the lowest and let cook for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.
  • Switch off the stove and let the pot sit undisturbed for at least 10-12 minutes. 
  • Uncover and using a rice spoon or a small plate, fluff up the rice from one side. Yahni pulao is ready. Serve as you wish.


  • Do read through the blog post. I have included a lot of details about this recipe. 
  • This recipe can be easily doubled. Just adjust the cooking times for both rice and meat in that case. 
  • Yakhni pulao tastes amazing next day so I recommend planning leftovers.
  • A delicious yakhni needs time for flavors to develop. Don't rush the process.
  • Use bone in meat or chicken for making yakhni. I use lamb shoulder, goat leg or chicken dark meat portions- bone in things or drumsticks. Remove the skin from chicken before using.
  • Dont use fatty meat pieces for making yakhni. We want to make a yakhni that is rich, however we dont want fat floating on top. See the photo above of yakhni for reference.
  • Dont make the yakhni a day before, the taste is not the same. However, you can make it a few hours (4-6 hours) ahead. If you are making ahead, always strain it and store the yakhni and meat pieces separately.
  • Use good quality basmati rice. These days brown basmati rice is also available in stores but any kind of brown rice is not suitable for making this recipe so please avoid.
  • Make sure you use at least 5 kinds of whole spices and skip any you do not have in your cabinet, the yakhni will taste good, I promise.
  • Brown the onions slowly. The color and caramelization of onions contributes a lot to the taste of pulao.
  • If you are making the yakhni for serving as soup, reduce the quantity of chilies. Do check out this recipe of chicken shorba if you love desi style clear soups.
  • Taste the yakhni before adding it to rice. It should taste sharp and salty, this will make sure that the pulao will have good seasoning.


Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 892mg | Potassium: 251mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 87IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg