Abida’s Kitchen | Beef Biriyani

Abida's Kitchen- Beef Biriyani 2

If you are looking for a  hearty, creamy, mildly spicy, filling – crowd pleaser, then this is the recipe for you! It is quite time and labour intensive, certainly not a dish I churn out on the regular, but I suppose that’s all part of the allure.

Abida's Kitchen- Beef Biriyani 4

There’s a certain nostalgia and romance in a place you left ~ David Guterson

While my schnooki and I were dating, (I still can’t believe we met ten years ago!!! TEN!) we were serial nomads always on the road to somewhere, and the Kenyan Coast was one of our favourite destinations, to the extent that we knew the schedules and names of the bus drivers & hostesses of the bus company that we preferred at the time!!  During one of our trips we did the entire stretch of the Kenyan coast…. yep from Shimoni to Malindi, we even went to Wasini island …  the boat we were on ran out of fuel, we had to wait for fuel to be brought by a paddle boat (a food 40 minutes) as we silently drifted towards Tanzania!… sigh! I wouldn’t have done it differently!!

Abida's Kitchen-Down Memory Lane 4Abida's Kitchen-Down Memory Lane 3

Look at these faces, ↑↑  ↓↓ all young in love …and yes riding camels on the beach! Abida's Kitchen-Down Memory Lane 2Abida's Kitchen-Down Memory Lane 1

So during our myriad trips down south, we took a liking to authentic dishes from the coast, and since my shnookums birthday was last week and he’d been away on business so I decided a biriyani dish would be the best way to welcome him back.

Abida's Kitchen- Beef Biriyani 3


  • 2kg Beef Shoulder (boneless)
  • 8 large red onions ( I know… it’s an eye-watering large amount!)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 ginger root
  • 3 sticks of cinamon
  • 1 1/2 Tsp tandoori masala
  • 1 1/2 Tsp garam masala
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 250 ml coconut cream
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/4  cup chopped coriander
  • 1/4  cup chopped mint
  • 5 large red potatoes

For the marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp tandoori masala
  • 2 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tsp Tumeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Nutmeg
  • 500ml plain whole milk yoghurt


Abida's Kitchen- Beef Biriyani 1

  • Crush half the garlic head and half the ginger. Construct the marinade by mixing in all the marinade spices + the crushed garlic and ginger with the yoghurt. Cube the meat and toss it into the marinade. For the best results marinade for at least 12-24 hours (refrigerated), If you are time restrained then do it for at least an hour.
  • Cook the meat with the marinade until the meat is soft & tender, then set it aside.
  • Chop 4 of the onions into onion rings, deep fry these until golden brown and set aside. ( This results in a really fragrant oil, which you will then use for cooking the other ingredients.)
  • Peel the potatoes and chop them up into evenly sized potions (depending on the size of your potatoes, you’ll end up with 4 quarters or 6 pieces per potato). Make a paste using  2 tsps of turmeric with a tsp of water then coat the potatoes with this, let this sit for about 5 minuites then deep fry the potatoes till you get a golden crispy exterior ( it doesn’t need to cook through as it will continue cooking when you assemble all ingredients.) Set the potatoes aside.
  • Dice two onions, 4 tomatoes and crush the remaining garlic & ginger. Sauté the onions (using about 2 Tbsps of the oil the onions were fried in), once they’ve softened add the garlic and ginger and stir until they release their aromas. Add the tandoori & garam masala and stir for about a minute, add the tomatoes and cook till they softened then add the tomato paste & sticks of cinnamon and let it simmer.
  • Add the previously cooked beef to the thickened paste, mix it and pour in the coconut milk and stir. Add the potatoes and the deep fried onion rings and cover the pot with a lid. Let it come to a simmer on low heat.
  • Check to ensure the potatoes are cooked then sprinkle 1/4 a cup coriander & 1/4 of a cup mint. Stir to incorporate then serve it with some rice & kachumbari (salsa) on the side.

Abida's Kitchen- Beef Biriyani 5

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