Cape Malay Mutton Akhni | Spekko Rice
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Cape Malay Mutton Akhni

Cape Malay Mutton Akhni

Akhni or biryani, is a spiced meat dish made in one pot with layers of rice and meat, topped with browned onions. Mutton is often used, but chicken makes a fabulous akhni.

  • Serves: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Prep time:
  • Cooking time:
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    300 ml plain yoghurt
    1 thumb’s length piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped

    1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
    125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped fresh dhania (coriander) leaves, plus more for garnish
    10 ml (2 tsp) ground jeera (cumin)
    5 ml (1 tsp) chilli powder
    1 heaped tbs masala
    10 ml (2 tsp) ground turmeric
    10 ml (2 tsp) salt, or more to taste
    1 kg mutton, cut into pieces
    2 cups basmati rice (we recommend Spekko India Gate Basmati Rice
    2 cups (500 ml) boiling water
    Pinch of saffron for the rice
    15 ml (1 tbs) ghee (or butter)
    5 ml (1 tsp) jeera (cumin) seeds
    6 cardamom pods, cut open and seeds removed
    5 ml (1 tsp) mustard seeds
    2 bay leaves
    2 cinnamon (or cassia) sticks
    3 large onions, finely chopped
    2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
    60 ml (4 tbsp) boiling hot water
    1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced




    1.pour the yoghurt into a large bowl and add the ginger, chilli, chopped dhania leaves, ground cumin, chilli powder, masala and ground turmeric.
    2. Add a little salt to taste and mix well, then put in the mutton pieces and coat the meat well. Leave aside for 1 hour or more to marinate.
    3. Pour the boiling water over the rice and add the saffron. Set aside.
    4. Melt the ghee and add the whole jeera, cardamom and mustard seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. When the seeds start to crackle, add the chopped onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are softened.
    5. Add the meat, including the yoghurt marinade, and braise for a few minutes. Add the boiling water. Season to taste with salt. Cook this on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    6. Drain the rice, retaining the water.
    7. Spread the rice on top of the mutton mixture.
    8. Fry the sliced onion in ghee or butter until golden brown, and sprinkle over the rice. Carefully pour one cup of rice water over the top.
    9. Cover and simmer for as long as it takes for the mutton to become tender, which could take up to 2 hours (or more) – it’ s done when the meat is very tender. This must be done on a low heat so that the rice mixture does not catch at the bottom. If it appears to be drying out, add a little more water, but not too much.

    Chef: Tony Jackson from his cookbook foodSTUFFv

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