Turn on Sauté and adjust to high. Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil, sliced onions, and a pinch of salt. Stir every 3-4 minutes till the onions get golden brown, which takes around 12-14 minutes. Cancel Sauté and remove the onions. Keep aside for later. Skip this step if using store-bought fried onions.
Combine yogurt, ghee, lime, ginger garlic paste and all the spices for the marinade. Add lamb pieces, half the browned onions, sliced pepper, and toss well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. If you're planning in advance, you can marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator.
Now rinse and soak basmati rice for 15 minutes. After that, soak saffron in a tablespoon of hot water. Keep aside for later.
Turn on the Instant Pot. Add the marinated lamb and spread it in a single layer. Spread rinsed and drained basmati rice on top of the lamb. Pour water over that. Gently push down the rice under water. Don't mix.
Sprinkle salt and top with the remaining fried onions and chopped cilantro. Add soaked saffron along with the liquid.
Close the lid, turning the vent to sealing position. Cook on Manual (High) for 6 minutes. Wait for natural pressure release. Open the lid and let the steam evaporate for 5 minutes.
Now gently fluff the rice with a fork. Let the Biryani rest for 5 minutes, uncovered. This lets the excess moisture escape. Serve with cucumber raita (cucumber-yogurt dip)!
Rice: To get the iconic 'fluffy' biryani rice texture, use extra-long or the longest grain of basmati rice you can find.
Meat: marinate the meat for at least 20-30 minutes, so it can absorb the flavors and get tender after cooking.
Caramelized onions: These add a unique flavor to the marinade as well as the rice. Don't skip this step. If in a rush, use any good-quality store-bought fried onions.
Excess moisture: After opening the lid, let the biryani sit undisturbed for 5 minutes, uncovered. This evaporates the excess moisture, resulting in the perfect texture.
Prevent the burn message: To avoid getting a 'burn' message, deglaze the pot after caramelizing the onions. When adding water, ensure that there is enough liquid to build pressure.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.