Jamie Oliver-inspired Leftover Lamb Biryani

Jamie Oliver Lamb Biryani

My food shopping bills have gone through the roof lately, as I’m sure yours have, too. So I’m on a mission to save a few quid by making meals stretch further.

To this end, a friend lent me Jamie Oliver’s new and quite magnificent book ‘Money Saving Meals’ (well, it was cheaper than shelling out £22 to buy it myself)

The principle of the book is simple: reduce food waste by getting creative with leftovers. Now, I’m already on board with that philosophy and regularly use or freeze leftover meat from the Sunday roast. But I do need inspiration to make it more exciting – which is where Jamie’s book comes in.

In each chapter he has a primary ingredient – which he calls the ‘mothership’ – from which he makes a family meal. Then he advises on how to cook up stunnign dishes with whatever’s leftover.  Even if you rarely have anything leftover from your family lunches, I think it’s worthwhile investing in an extra large cut or joint of meat so that you DO end up with leftovers.

In fact, for a couple of recipes I tried this week, I bought a half shoulder of pork for the sole intention of making both. But more of those another time.

The ‘mothership’ star of today’s recipe is leg of lamb. I roasted it in the traditional way (with garlic, rosemary, lemon) last Sunday and was left with 250g of juicy meat with which to make this fantastic flavourful Lamb Biryani. (This is not an exact duplicate of Jamie’s recipe as I was working from memory – but it was delicious nonetheless).


Serves 4 (or 2, with enough leftover for next day’s lunch)

400g cooked basmati rice
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 x thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp curry powder (I used mild, but use whichever strength suits your tastebuds)
1 tbsp plain flour
500ml lamb stock
2 tbsp mango chutney
Splash of red wine vinegar (I didn’t have any, so used a splash of red wine instead)
250g leftover lamb meat, chopped



1. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan and gently cook the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli until soft, approx 8-10 mins.


2. Add the curry powder and stir through for 1 min. Add the flour and stir through, then cook for 2 mins to cook out the rawness.

3. Increase the heat and gradually add the lamb stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 mins, until the sauce has reduced slightly.

4. Stir in the mango chutney, the vinegar, then the lamb.  Stir to combine.






5. Strain the lamb stew through a sieve into a small saucepan to give you a rich thick gravy. Reserve the gravy for step 8.

6. In a deep baking dish, add a layer of half the cooked rice, followed by a layer of the lamb stew. Add another layer using the rest of the rice. Cover the dish with foil.




7. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and cook the biryani for 30 mins until piping hot.

8. Heat the gravy on the hob. Plate up the biryani and drizzle over the gravy. Serve with fresh coriander and yogurt, if desired.



Filed under Lamb, Recipe Shed, Slow Cooker

117 Responses to Jamie Oliver-inspired Leftover Lamb Biryani

  1. Annabelle


    Good recipe, but where does the ginger come into play…? Its in the ingredients but not the recipe! I just chopped it up with the garlic and it seemed to work anyway..

    Many thanks for the inspiration


    • keithkendrick

      Hi Annabelle, Many apologies. I’ve amended the recipe now – I accidentally left out including the ginger at Stage 1 (with the garlic, onions and chillies). Apologies. I hope I’m a better cook than a recipe writer!!

  2. Mary

    Made this for the second time this evening – it’s fab! Thank you!

  3. martin phillips

    total biryani convert

  4. Brofra

    Made this today with leftover Christmas roast lamb, delicious and a fabulous way to use up those leftovers!! It’s very spicy, I may use less chilli or milder curry powder next time!

  5. Christina Wootton

    Nice recipe – good to find something to do with lamb leftovers that actually tastes
    nice :)

  6. louise

    This was delicious, so glad I found this as was looking for something to do with
    leftover lamb and this was better than I could have expected. The rice soaked
    up all the juices from the curry and was absolutely delicious :)

  7. kallie

    Hi! It looks really nice. Got to try this very soon.
    But I’m not sure I understand step 5. What do you do with the gravy in the saucepan? Do you toss it or?

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Kallie, scroll down to step 8 for the answer to your question. But I will clarify it if it’s confusing. Many thanks for taking the time to get in touch.

  8. Adam

    Stumbled over this recipe while searching for things to do with my leftover lamb, will give this a crack tonight. Love the blog, loads of interesting ideas!

  9. Andrea

    Hi, my kitchen currently smells AMAZING as I am halfway through cooking this…quick question about the layering at the end, do you do rice/stew/rice/stew, or just finish with the rice layer? Will probably go with second option at present, but as I will have enough for a second curry for the freezer hopefully I can make any changes next time. Thanks for the great recipe, so far it’s fantastic :) , and sorry to be dappy…not very familiar with biryani.

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Andrea, Thanks for getting in touch. I’m actually making this tonight for my kids. You can finish it any way you like, but I prefer to end with a layer of rice to seal in all the lovely flavours of the lamb, then at the end – after you’ve plated up – use the reserved gravy to pour over. Best of luck.

  10. Sarah Sofroniou

    Well it’s in the oven, smelling great. I did add a bit more liquid and some frozen peas. Kids can’t wait to tuck in!

  11. Sarah Sofroniou

    Ok it was a success! Family wolfed it down, peas and all. I used a bit less rice (300g before cooking) and a bit more meat, cos it was there, and it tasted great. Thanks very much!

    • keithkendrick

      You’ve just made an old housedad very happy with these comments Sarah. Thanks so much for getting in touch and I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

      • Bronwyn

        Hi Keith . Do you have to use lamb stock? Also any substitute for Mango chutney

      • keithkendrick

        Hi Bronwyn, in an ideal world, you’d use lamb stock, but if you don’t have any use chicken or vegetable stock. The mango chutney isn’t 100 per cent essential so just leave it out. Best of luck with the recipe.

  12. Kay.karen

    Yep, I read the reviews so cooked this for son (34) we normally do homemade curry on a Tuesday take it in turns to cook from scratch…. My turn ..leftover lamb….had my doubts that he would like it….came in from work halfway through the cooking process…turned nose up! But hey he loved it! So did I made a great change from shepherds pie ! Big big thank you for this recipe! Will do it again!

  13. Anne Wilkinson

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks so much for this recipe – I didn’t have enough gravy (probably reduced it too much) but it was delicious and went down well with my husband, will put in my recipe folder and look forward to trying some of your other recipes.


  14. Monica

    Hi Keith. Stumbled across your recipe after trawling through the usual suspects for using up the remains of last night’s roast lamb. My husband has just phoned me from work and is delighted to hear that it’s not shepherds pie again :) ! Fingers crossed it works out as well as it evidently has for everyone else.

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Monica, no pressure then! Gulp! I hope it lives up to expectations. Regarding the weight – yep, that the dry weight. It will be a lot heavier once it’s cooked. Best of luck and please let me know how you get on.

  15. Monica

    Hi Keith, well the dish has been consumed ( Luke, MBH 😉 had three helpings !!! ) We really enjoyed the flavours but had a few ideas to make it even tastier, o.k here goes ….. Firstly less rice to meat ratio, it was a bit dry t.b.h. Cook the rice with a stock cube added to the cooking water,’ Star’ Porcini stock cubes would be really good ( we get ours from Carluccio’s ) The addition of some sliced chestnut mushrooms to the meat mix would be good too,also when assembling the dish the addition of some cardamom , bay leaf and a cinnamon stick to the rice would work well. We had ours with some cucumber and mint Raita and lime and mango pickle as sides. Thank you for an inspired idea for jazzing up the left over Lamb ! :)

    • keithkendrick

      Brilliant suggestions, Monia. To be honest, I never expected this recipe to become the hit that it has – it was a very off-the-cuff way of using up some leftover lamb. I will definitely revisit this and incorporate your modifications.

  16. Kelly Clegg

    I had some leftover lamb from yesterday and stumbles across this recipe. I didn’t have fresh ginger or chillies, but I made this anyway with ground ginger and no chilli, and it was deeeelish! Even my kids, age 6 and 8, wolfed it down and they usually moan at curries :-)

    • keithkendrick

      Brilliant. My kids love it too. Not too hot. So glad you (and they) enjoyed it. Makes it all worthwhile. Many thanks.

  17. Emily

    Thank you for this, stumbled upon it looking for a curry dish I could easily make with leftover lamb. This is exactly it, no weird and wonderful ingredients that are impossible to get hold of. And just my style of cooking ‘if you haven’t got it, throw summat else in!’ (I added a bit of spinach cos I like a bit of greenery in my life- 5 a day and all that!) even more delicious than I expected-thank you!

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Emily, this is brilliant. Yes, it’s a very forgiving recipe. You can bung what you like in there. I’ve cooked it since and thrown in a tin of chick peas. Worked brilliantly. Thanks so much for the feedback.

  18. Nick

    Made this after a lot of lamb was left over from Sunday lunch. Extremely good, even my wife and son liked it. They are very fussy.

    Bought precooked poppadoms and lazy microwave rice. They didn’t even notice. Will definitely do this again.

  19. Jean

    It’s a nice recipe, but just a thought if the intention is to save money is that turning on the oven for 30 minutes to warm/cook some rice and leftover meat is rather costly. If keeping costs down is the aim then as much as possible cooking on just one hob ring is the way to go. It’d be a little tricky to replicate a Biryani on the hob, certainly you may want to some moisture to stop the food sticking if trying, and you wouldn’t get that same toasted quality. As I say it is a good recipe, but I’m always a little surprised how many recipes there are that call for limited use of an oven, especially where cost is a factor.

    • keithkendrick

      Hello Jean, thank you for your feedback. This recipe would NOT work on the hob, so don’t even attempt it. A few pence spent in the oven is a lot cheaper than having to buy a new pan.

  20. Jean

    I’d tend to agree this biryani wouldn’t be the dish to do on the hob, but the point stands that using an oven for 30 minutes isn’t an economical method of cooking, and that’s odd given the stated aims of Oliver of making money-saving meals. If one did want to try doing the biryani on the hob the cooking times would vary, and to avoid the rice sticking you could try a double boiler set up, though just a curry with the lamb and some boiled rice would seem simpler. If you want to do the dish exactly set out I’ve no issue with that either, save describing it as money saving.

    • keithkendrick

      Thanks Jean. It saved me money by using up leftover lamb, and I hope other viewers who see your comment will see there is an additional way to save even more by following your advice. Best wishes and thanks for taking the time to comment.

  21. Nick

    Hi there, I did this the other day but did the lazier approach. Miss out the flour in step 2, it’s not necessary and doesn’t add flavour. Miss out step 5,6,7 and 8. If you gave simmered for long enough in step 4 so that it has reduced a lot, there is no need for any further steps, just serve with rice and poppadoms.

  22. This recipe is awful! (Or maybe it’s my wife’s cooking, she added cauliflower and forgot the lamb!)

  23. Janine Merrell

    Wow! That was a lovely way to use up left over lamb! I accidentally used chilli powder instead of curry powder, when I realised I added some cumin to bring back the curry flavour, it was delicious!

  24. Rob Tanner


    To me a good biriani has to be fluffy and dry , whilst you have inspired me to make this dish, it has as yet not turned out dry and fluffy. What do you think I may be doing wrong? Cheers. Rob

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Rob, I’ve made this a couple of times and my results have been fluffy, and certainly not wet. Are you draining the lamb from the stock well enough? (You reserve the stock for the gravy at the end). Are you over-cooking the rice, so that it becomes sloppy (try cooking it for a couple of minutes less than the time on the pack). Are you thoroughly rinsing the rice before cooking so that you’ve got rid of all the starch i.e. rinse in a pan under running water, change water several times, until water is clear?) Without actually being in your kitchen with you, I’m not really sure what else to suggest.

      • Rob Tanner

        Aha, he says. Back to the kitchen. It’s good when someone reminds you, even if they are basic rules. I will try again. The older you get the more you forget. I will let you know how it turns out next time. Thanks. Rob

      • keithkendrick

        Cheers Rob. Best of luck. Get the rice right and all else should (!!) follow.

  25. Faye Murray

    Cooked the curry this evening and all the family enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  26. Jude

    Planning to attempt this tonight, wish me luck! I have leftover lamb from a joint I did in my slow cooker. I wonder if the last steps could be done in a slow cooker too instead of the oven… Not sure I’m brave enough to risk it!

    • keithkendrick

      Hey Jude (excuse the pun!), how did it go? Hope all went to plan. Best wishes.

      • Jude

        It was all very scrummy! I think I overdid the simmering part in step 3 as when I strained it there was hardly any liquid coming out. As a result the finished dish was a little dry and too much rice compared with the curry. Next time will be even better – and there will definitely be a next time. Even my 5 year old tried it and approved :)

  27. Janine

    I have just made this and I just had to comment and say it was gorgeous. Both my kids and I ate it all. I had a 2nd portion aswell. Well done Keith

    • keithkendrick

      It’s fantastic that the kids loved it too. Many thanks for feeding back. It’s great when a recipe works out so well.

  28. Helen

    Just have the stock/gravy reducing at the moment and it tastes divine. Can’t wait for the finished dish!

  29. Coombs

    Hi, we had some lamb left from the weekend and I didn’t know what to do with it, then I came across your website. I must say the Lamb Curry went down a treat. The whole family gave it a thumbs up and asked when I was going to make it again.
    Thank you for sharing your receipe.

  30. Caroline

    Likewise, I just have to comment and say thank you for the recipe. I can’t believe that I made something so good. Thanks

  31. Helen

    It was yummy, thanks for the recipe!

  32. Walter

    Midway through the process and our flat smells incredible, looks like it’ll be much better than takeout!

  33. Rachel

    Hi there,
    I had to comment too as this recipe is just delicious! Had leftover lamb from the Easter roast so went searching for a lamb curry recipe…my family were impressed and we all know how good that feels! Thank you! I actually used this as a solely cook on the hob recipe and stirred through coconut yogurt before serving on a bed of rice as I was a little short on time on the day. It was great!
    All the best,

  34. This recipe even works in Australia – just tried it out. Top notch!

  35. Deb

    Awesome, yum yum… Thank you.

  36. Nick

    Hi Keith, if you want a cheap and excellent Sunday roast, I have the perfect recipe for pork belly. A cheap cut that goes a long way, and if correctly done, beats beef and lamb hands down. It’s also lean and low in bad fats and 90% of preparation can be done the day before.

    I also have a dad’s roast chicken which takes 2 minutes to prepare and you get crispy chicken skin with amazingly moist meat and sauce. (Sorry, I’m a foodie and have brought up four boys as a single dad at one point)

  37. I’ve been cranky with Jamie Oliver recently (mainly for his Jamie’s Garden campaign in Australia’s Woolworths stores, which ripped off Aussie farmers and turned my home into a receptacle for collectable cards), but I still can’t help but like him. His trusty Yorkshire Pudding recipe came to the rescue again the other night, and as we always have leftover roast lamb, this is going to get a try soon. Thanks for the share.

  38. Gill

    Just made this tonight for tea …. I didn’t have left over lamb but had frozen chicken tikka pieces in the freezer thought I,d try .. I used the ingredient but winged it on measures as just wanted to try it first … Well it’s a winner .. Absolutely loved it .. Will add extra stuff to it next time ie peppers, tomatoes etc as I love those in curries .. But my oh loved it as it was xxx
    Thankyou for the recipe it’s a keeper xx

  39. Rachael

    Absolutely delicious! This was such an easy meal to make and turned out so tasty, all the family loved it. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  40. Jodi

    Hi there….Do you think this receipe would work just as well with chicken breast?

    • keithkendrick

      Apologies for not replying sooner. Chicken breast would work, but you would need to drastically reduce the cooking times as breast would dry out and turn to dry shoe leather. Do you have chicken thighs? They would work better. Just keep checking for when they’re tender, the way you like them.

  41. Sue

    Hi Keith, Roast lamb is always a favourite in our house but shepherds pie afterwards gets the “oh no” so I searched the web found your recipe and hey presto I’m allowed roast lamb anytime as long as it is followed by lamb biryani. Thank you.

  42. suzi p

    In a word ‘lush’ :-) defo be cooking this again with leftover roast lamb.. yum!

  43. Pete

    Made this using an old chicken carcass, worked well. Added another chilli and a few sultanas.
    Was yummy, if I do say so myself………..

  44. lisa

    Looking forward to trying this tomorrow with left overs. Also looking forward to checking out your blog! X

  45. Ken Popert

    Keith… There’s still information about the ginger missing. Is it also, like the onion and garlic, to be finely chopped? Or just tossed into the pot?

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Ken, thanks for pointing this out. Yep, you’re right, finely chopped.
      I’ve now made that clear in the ingredients list so that will hopefully clarify stage 1:Add the olive oil to a large frying pan and gently cook the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli until soft, approx 8-10 mins.
      Best wishes and a Happy New Year.

  46. All American Girl

    Hi Keith,

    Greetings from the colonies. I found your recipe while looking for ways to use up our Christmas lamb. Food is high over here too! I’d love to try the recipe, but am math impaired (American education system and all that) and can’t do the conversions. Can you or any of your readers help?

    Please say hi to Doctor Who, Morse, and Rosemary and Thyme for me.

  47. Robert

    Great recipe Keith. I used this today and it has worked a treat. I added a can of chopped tomatoes at stage 3. As a fellow Keith, I love your Recipe Shed and look up to you as a culinary guru. Happy New Year and please keep stocking the Shed in 2015.

    • keithkendrick

      It is always a pleasure to be of service to one of the great-named people of the world.
      Happy New Year!

  48. Cally

    Great recipe but you might want to point out to people to turn down the heat after turning it up to boil when you add the stock or, like me, they might leave it bubbling on medium/high for 20 minutes and return to find it stuck to the bottom of the pan! (Am a very bad cook!). Have tried to salvage it so fingers crossed!

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Cally, thanks for the feedback. I’ll make that amendment. Best wishes and a happy New Year.

  49. Frenchpete

    Followed the recipe exactly. Looks really fab but as I have a rotten cold and flu like symptoms at the moment I cannot taste anything except a slight tingle on my tongue from the chilli. Can anyone tell me what it tastes like ? Thanks.

  50. Emskie

    Thanks for the recipie, it’s absoloutely delicious! Have made it several times now, and Ive even adapted it for camping! Usually in the oven I top the rice with slivered almonds and a sprinkle of ground cumin/coriander for a little extra crunch and aromatics. This recipie is now my motivation to roasting a lamb shoulder, not the roast itself! An Absolute winner, thank you Jamie

  51. Julian

    Just made this for dinner down under in Brisbane tonight and all I can say is yum! I didn’t bake it, just had it as a curry with rice and absolutely loved it!! I cook roast lamb quite a lot so it’s safe to say that I will now be cooking this recipe a lot more too :)

  52. Annika

    Thank you SO much for that recipe… it turned out AWESOME.. thats not the only time we make that… with lamb.. or chicken.. or pork… UHM 😀 it was even better than what we had at an Indian Restaurant.. sooo nice and tasty 😀

  53. Christina Grey-Dreaper

    Prepared this tonight with our leftover roast lamb. Delicious! The house smelled amazing as it cooked away. I did make a few modifications:
    1) Did not strain the sauce/stew. It wasn’t necessary.
    2) Used beef stock as I did not have lamb stock on hand.
    3) Had run out of my homemade mango chutney so I used homemade peach jam instead.
    3) Cooked the lamb stew in a covered saucepan on gentle heat for 30 minutes. Then served it over the cooked fluffed rice. I did not layer it and I found it much simpler yet it still kept all the delicious flavours in the final dish!
    Garnished it with chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) and it was a hit with the entire family!
    Thanks for sharing a real keeper recipe for using leftover lamb roast!

  54. Priscilla Kendrick

    hi Keith – I don’t think we are related but not too many Kendricks around so you never know!
    Came across this page yesterday when I was googling what to do with leftover cooked rice and cooked lamb. What a happy bit of serendipity. Just had the finished dish and it was totally delicious! Like most I made some minor tweaks.

    I used the leftover lamb gravy from the roast dinner. It was already thickened so I didn’t need the flour. This worked very well and added to the using up leftovers theme. I added a bit of water to make the right quantity but I always make buckets of gravy anyway.

    I also added some dried cranberries to the rice. They were the Ocean Spray ones called craisins and are quite soft and tangy. I put those in because your dish reminded me of the Parsi dish Rick Stein tried in Mumbai in his India series. That was garnished with dried barberries, which taste rather similar to cranberries.

    There were only 2 of us eating it and I thought it might do 2 days – no chance, far too good. Just a little left for my lunch tomorrow. Thanks!

    • keithkendrick

      What a fine and noble name Kendrick is, eh? Lovely to hear from you and thank you for trying this recipe. The idea of adding cranberries to the rice is inspired. I will definitely do that. Thanks very much for stopping by.

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Priscilla. Apologies for my tardiness – I thought I’d replied to you ages ago. We Kendricks must be nice to each other! I love the idea of the cranberries in the rice to cut through the richness of the lamb. Great idea. Thanks very much for taking the time to feedback.

  55. Dan

    I may halve the ginger and double the chilli next time, but that’s just personal tweaking. Great Monday night tea :)

  56. Bram

    I watched Jamie on 24kitchen last Thursday. He added a layer of spinache into the dish. I didn’t write it down. Anyone an idea?

  57. Darby

    Would love to print recipe but it runs to 16 pages any idea.

    • keithkendrick

      Cut and paste it to w Word document, then delete the photos to leave you with just the recipe.

  58. Norene

    Tried this recipe and it was so yummy. Have made it one of our favs to do after a roast. Thanks for the recipe! xxx

  59. Lyndsey

    Really good way to use up leftover lamb! I dislike washing up, so grated ginger and garlic to avoid sieving later and then I just put cooked rice on top of lamb curry in pan and put a lid on and warmed through in oven. The rice was perfectly cooked and soaked up all the sauce. I added some coriander at the end which really lifted dish and there was only 2 pans to wash :)

  60. Sonia Leonard

    Love this recipe, thanks for sharing it Keith.I have used it with leftover pork and it was very nice, will definitely make it again. Soni.

  61. Jojo

    I made this with my dad’s garlic and rosemary cooked roast lamb, it was delicious. I did add half a tin of chopped tomatoes to the sauce, made it a second time with a whole tin which was too much. I’ve also added left over veg in it – broccoli, carrots green beans etc which worked well too.

  62. Neesargon

    Leftover lamb? Have you seen the price of it? On the rare occasions that I splash out on it, I can only get just enough for the one meal.

  63. Peter

    I’ve done this a few times and it’s brilliant. We once roasted a lamb joint to use instead of leftovers. Also I use hot mango chutney which adds to the taste.

    Has anyone ever used prawns instead? Thinking of cooking prawn biriyani tomorrow.

  64. Da Chef

    ARRRGH, I just hit the print button on this site and walked away…

    27 pages – 6 of the recipe with all of its pictures, and 21 of comments. And now my low ink warning is commanding my attention. This probably cost me more in ink than any “savings” i would get from making a curry from leftovers.

  65. Pauline

    Made this with chicken for a special evening with my husband. Its amazing! The flavours were incredible, I added hard boiled eggs to the curry. Also the almonds on top of the rice before it went into the oven. The gravy was so rich and thick. Totally delicious!! Thank you so much. It was really easy to follow and I think it would be just as good with any meat, fish or vegetable.

  66. Marlene

    Hi Keith,

    Cannot believe how long this recipe has been on with comments from way back when. Mind you I have read nearly all…don’t know why. Just made this with the left over lamb from our Easter lunch. Smells and tastes delicious and I wouldn’t change a thing. Our neighbour is Indian and there are always fantastic smells coming from her kitchen..now its my turn.

  67. stuart coates

    can this curry be frozen

  68. Julia

    Awesome. So quick and easy. My boys love it. Thanks x

  69. Christine Pope

    Easy and tasty – I didn’t have curry powder so used 1 tsp each of tumeric, garam masala and cumin. It was very spicy so next time may use a little less garam masala and chili.