Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Yakhni Mutton Pulao | Kashmiri Yakhni Pulao | Potli Pulao

 Yakhni's history dates back to Akbar's ruling, Persian based cuisines had the yogurt based meat curries and this was introduced in India by the Mughal. Yakhni is part of Greek and Turkish cuisines too, but what makes the Kashmiri Yakhni different from that of theirs is the absence of tomatoes and there is no usage of turmeric powder too. Kashmiris make the best yakhni curry or the slow cooked meat. This is an absolute treat for non vegetarians. The Kashmiri pundit version is without onions and garlic, and so can be made without that too. Yakhni means the cooked stock or broth that has two more ingredients in it other than the meat, yogurt and saffron. The yogurt adds to the richness of the gravy, and the saffron adds a lemon hue to the cooked rice. The pulao made in this stock is the yakhni mutton pulao. 

How is Yakhni made?? The meat is slow cooked with the equal amount of water with some whole spices and a flavourful broth is acquired. Then the meat pieces are removed, and the broth is again cooked with yogurt, fried onions and whole spices when the meat is added again to get a delectable gravy. Yakhni curry is a curry in itself and this pulao is made using this curry. Soaked rice is added to the cooked meat and fried. Then the rice is cooked in the broth and saffron infused milk is added to get the light colour. Finally, garnish with some fried onions and serve. Mutton meat is usually used to make yakhni pulao, but you can always make with chicken as well, but the fat content infused from mutton meat along with ghee gives the pulao the richer taste. 

Also, This pulao is also known as potli pulao, as the whole spices are tied in a muslin cloth and added to the mutton to cook. Once the mutton is cooked, the potli is removed and discarded after squeezing out the juices as much as possible. These are the pics from my first trial when I added the spices directly into the pulao, but in that method, the spices gets in the broth, and it's hard to remove them once mutton is cooked. Those spices get mixed in the rice and may not taste very good, especially the whole spices like coriander seeds, whole peppercorns. Watch the YouTube video on making the potli and making the pulao. I have used pressure cooker to fasten the process of slow cooked meat, which you can slow cook in a pan too. This is a mildly spiced pulao with a great richness of ghee, saffron and mutton. Give this a try !

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 45 minutes
Serves ~ 5-6 
Author ~ Julie
for yakhni
mutton 750 gms
bay leaves 2
whole peppercorns 10-15
nutmeg (jathikka)1/4 tsp grated
mace (pathri) 1 flower
cardamom 5-6
black cardamom 2
shahjeera 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
coriander seeds 1 tbsp
cloves 5-6
cinnamon 2" piece
fennel seeds 2 tbsp
crushed ginger 1' piece
crushed garlic with skin 5-6
green chilli vertical slit 2
onion 1 medium-sized
salt to taste
water 2.5 cups

for pulao
basmati rice 2.5 cups(500 gms)
crushed ginger 1 tbsp
crushed garlic 1 tbsp
green chillies crushed 1 tbsp or 2
mint leaves half a handful
garam masala 1 tsp
yogurt 4-5 tbsp
salt to taste
onion medium-sized 4 or 2 large sliced
ghee 4 tbsp
broth(yakhni) 4 cups

Watch on YouTube- 


  • Wash the meat, rinse under running water and drain. Keep aside. Wash and soak the basmati rice separately in water for 15-20 minutes.

  •  Lightly crush the onion, garlic and ginger in the yakhni list. In a muslin cloth, add all the ingredients listed above except mutton. Make a potli or closed pouch. In a cooker, add the mutton pieces and the potli.Mix well, add 2.5 cups water and cover the cooker  to make broth (yakhni). Pressure-cook on high for one whistle and then slow cook for another 2 whistles depending on your meat, or for 7-8 minutes on low flame. (Wait for the pressure to release and then check if the meat is nicely cooked and the broth is flavourful). Separate the broth and meat (remove the potli with spices by gently squeezing the juices). Measure the broth and add more water if needed to make 4 cups.

  • In another pan, add ghee. Fry the onion in batches until lightly browned and crisp (I fried in two batches and remember to remove the fried onions slightly earlier than it looks fried as the onions turn to a deeper colour once it's drained too). Add a pinch of salt to speed up the frying process. Drain and keep on a plate. 
  • In the remaining ghee, add the crushed ginger- garlic and green chillies. Saut√© until the raw smell disappears. Then add in the mint leaves and to this add the fried onions(Reserve 2 TBS for garnish and add the rest), add 2 TBS of water just to help the onions soften. To this, add the meat along with yogurt and garam masala powder. Give a quick stir and add salt. Cook covered for 7-8 minutes on medium flame until oil separates. 

  • To this add the drained rice. Fry lightly until nicely coated in the masala. Then add the broth(yakhni) 4 cups to the pan and bring to a rolling boil (If your measured broth is less, add water and make 4 cups). Add salt as needed. Cover and cook on medium flame for 10-14 minutes until the rice looks cooked and broth is evaporated. Garnish with remaining fried onions and serve warm.


* You can use ghee and oil or use oil alone too, but the authentic version uses ghee alone. So use ghee if possible. I have used ghee.

* Add fried nuts and raisins for a richer variation. I haven't added.

* Add the whole peppercorns in the mutton just like that and not in the potli if you like to bite up a few in the rice.
* The pulao is not very spicy, you can always increase the use of green chillies to spice it up or use pepper powder.
* You can add few drops of kewra essence too. I haven't added.
* If you want to try the kashmiri pundit version, then omit adding the onions and garlic.

1 comment:

Angie's Recipes said... Best Blogger Tips

I love mutton! This looks like a perfect meal for weekdays.