Scrag End of Lamb Biryani


Scrag end is an ugly but incredible piece of meat – but you have to work to reap the benefits. It’s the clump of vertebrae immediately behind the lamb’s skull. Once you’ve removed the lamb neck fillet, you’re left with the scrag – a very flavoursome, and very cheap cut indeed. To make the most of it, it’s best cooked long and slow, ideally in a slow cooker, on LOW, for 8-10 hours. This separates the meat from the bone so you can just pick off the best bits for use in stews, casseroles or, in this case Scrag End of Lamb Biryani. It is well worth the effort trust me.¬†

Serves 4

For the lamb

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Golf ball-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
250g natural Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp garam masala powder or biryani masala (my friend Liam brought me back a very tasty blend from his travels around India recently)
500ml water

For the rice

2 tbsp ghee
2 cups basmati rice, parboiled for 5 mins, until al dente
2 tbsp warm milk
Quarter tsp saffron strands (optional)
Half small onion, finely chopped
300ml lamb stock (reserved from cooking the lamb)
4 green cardomoms
4 whole cloves
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick (optional – I’d run out!)

To garnish

1 tbsp sultanas or raisins
1 tbsp almonds, halved

1. Put the scrag end, garlic, ginger, yoghurt and masala in a freezer bag. Massage thoroughly and leave in the fridge overnight.




2. The next day, add the lamb and the marinade to a slow cooker, along with the water, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, until the meat is very, very tender.  Remove from the cooker and allow to cool, then with your fingers or a knife and fork, tear off chunks of meat from the bone. Reserve the stock.




3. Add the ghee to a large frying pan and gently cook the onion for around 5 mins, until softened. Add the rice and stir through. Add the meat stock, milk and saffron (if using) and bring to the boil.


4. Strain the rice through a sieve, reserving the stock.


5. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. In a deep baking dish, place a layer of rice (about half), top with the cardomoms, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick (if using), then layer on the lamb filling.




6. Top with the remaining rice and pour over the reserved stock. Cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

7. Once cooked, garnish with sultanas and almonds and serve.





Filed under Lamb, Recipe Shed, Slow Cooker

4 Responses to Scrag End of Lamb Biryani

  1. Russ Pereira

    Looks fantastic! This will be my first lamb biryani. (I have always done chicken)Have already bought the scrag ends – Kent Salt Marsh ones, and have them marinating in the fridge. Only difference I will make is using a rice cooker at step 5. Have you tried it this way? Will be cooking tomorrow and will let you know the results!

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Russ, so glad you like it. Best of luck with it. I haven’t got a rice cooker so perhaps I should invest in one. My rice-cooking skills are very hit and miss!

      • Russ Pereira

        Keith, what can I say but it turned out quite good! Thanks for the recipe! Will definitely be making again, adding a few tweaks to get it perfect (for me). All in all very pleased with the results. For the garnish, I sliced a couple of red onions and slowly fried till they had a slight crisp to them with the sliced almonds also thrown in. Left out the sultanas as the onion had enough sweetness to them and served up with a cucumber & mint raita. Happy days!

  2. keithkendrick

    Hi Russ,
    I’m both chuffed and relieved. So glad it worked out. I’ve since made this with lamb neck fillet and it was even better. The next time I do it I’ll try the caramelised red onions – sounds inspired. Many thanks for the feedback.