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Kashmiri Yakhni Pulao

Kashmiri Yakhni Pulao

The broth of the mutton is known as Yakhni. It is usually yogurt based and is influenced from Kashmiri cuisine. The concept of using Yakhni has its origins in Persia and was brought into India during Emperor Akbar's period. Yakhni has also been modified into Yakhni sauce to suit the vegetarian appetite. The Yakhni sauce is a thin white sauce that can be used to make Vegetable Kofta Curry, Paneer Yakhni and Vegetable Yakhni Pulao.

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 1.5 - 2 hours approx  | Marination Time: Overnight



  • Basmati Rice - 200g
  • Mutton pieces with bone - 500g 
  • Salt 
  • Nutmeg/ Jaiphal - ½ piece 
  • Mace/ Javitri - 4 blades 
  • Ginger - 1-inch piece (chopped very coarsely) 
  • Cinnamon stick/ Dalchini - 2 sticks (1-inch each)
  • Cloves/ Laung - 9 
  • Coriander seeds/Dhaniya - 1 tbsp
  • Ghee - 5 tbsp
  • Onions - 3 (finely sliced) 
  • Cumin seeds/ Jeera Seeds - 1 tsp 
  • Green Cardamom/ Choti Elaichi - 4
  • Garlic paste - ½ tsp
  • Ginger paste - ½ tsp
  • Yogurt - 200g
  • Mint/ pudina leaves - 10-15 leaves
  • Ghee - 5 tbsp
  • Oil - for deep frying
  • Water - 4 cups
  • Regular Dough


Utensils Required:

  • Large Lidded Saucepan
  • Thick-bottomed pan
  • Spatula
  • Muslin Cloth
  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Small Bowl
  • Paper Towels



  • Wash the mutton thoroughly with water ensuring that there is no dirt and the meat is completely clean.
  • After draining all the water from the meat put it in a large mixing bowl.
  • Then add in the Salt and Yogurt and mix the ingredients well. You can use a spoon in this step, but using your hands will ensure that the ingredients get spread evenly.
  • Cover the bowl and set the mutton aside to marinate overnight in the refigerater or for about 8-10 hours.

Bouquet Garni ( Masale ki Potli):

  • Cover a small bowl with a muslin cloth.
  • Add in the Nutmeg, Mace, coarsely chopped Ginger, 1 stick of Cinnamon, 6 pieces of Clove and Coriander seeds.
  • Tie the ends of the muslin cloth together to make a small Garni or Potli.

Fried Onions: 

  • Heat oil in a large thick-bottomed pan. Add in two large onions (sliced) and deep fry until they are brown and crispy. Once they are brown and crispy, set them aside on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. These will be used to top off the pulao. 


  • Wash the Basmati rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Once the water runs clear, soak the rice for about 30 minutes approx.
  • Add 4 cups of water in a large saucepan, and bring the water to a boil. 
  • Once the water starts boiling, add in the marinated mutton, one piece at a time. Then add some salt and the bouquet garni. Cover the saucepan and cook the mutton for approximately 40 minutes on low heat until the mutton is about 3/4th cooked (Please do not cook the mutton entirely as it will continue to cook in the rice).
  • Take out the Bouquet Garni and squeeze all the juices out into the saucepan. Once all the juices have been squeezed out, discard the Bouquet Garni.
  • Separate the mutton pieces from the water and keep them aside. You can separate them by removing the pieces one at a time. 
  • After removing the mutton pieces, strain the meat stock in some muslin and save it for later. This stock is called the Yakhni. 
  • In a hot saucepan, add 5 tbsp of ghee. Once the ghee is hot, add in the rest of the sliced onions (1 onion) and sauté until they are golden. These onions will be used to flavour the meat.
  • Once the onions are golden add in the Cardamom, the rest of the Cinnamon and Cloves, Cumin and the Ginger-Garlic Paste. Let this cook through. Then remove it and keep it aside. 
  • Take a large vessel with a lid in which the rice will be cooked. Mix the sautéed onions and partly cooked onions in it. 
  • Mix the mutton and the onions well, and then add in some more Yogurt. Mix again until the yogurt is evenly distributed.
  • Then add in the soaked rice and coat all the rice grains with the mixture. Once mixed, add in the Yakhni or the mutton stock. Ensure that all the rice is mixed well with the Yakhni. 
  • Once all the ingredients have been added, cover the vessel properly and seal the lid with regular dough made by mixing whole wheat flour and water. This is done to ensure that the steam generated inside the vessel remains inside. This method is called the Dum Pukht method, a classic technique practiced widely in India that cooks food in a way that seals in all the flavour making for a richer, more complex dish. 
  • Place the vessel on a hot pan to help distribute the heat evenly throughout the vessel and cook on Medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes. 
  • Once cooked, cut the dough to open the lid. Once opened, garnish with Fried Onions and Mint leaves. 
  • This delicious, and flavour-packed Kashmiri Yakhni Pulao is now ready to be served!
  • Serve with a refreshing cucumber and mint raita for the best pay-off!
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