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Friday, 9 June 2017

Lamb Biryani

This  wonderful dish is often served for a celebratory meal or for special occasions. The  main ingredient can be changed for chicken, vegetables or prawn. There are versions of it all over India and will more often than not use mutton. Most of the recipes call for a couple of large pieces of meat or chicken, but I prefer a lot of smaller pieces.
The central ingredient is always rice and the spices and of course the fresh flavour of coriander.
It does take awhile to make, however after visiting southern India I am a convert to the pressure cooker for the lamb dish.
Every cooking class we had, pressure cookers of varying sizes were used. This makes sense when you are cooking many dishes as it cuts the time down by half. I do own a pressure cooker but as we are all guilty of, it it sits in the cupboard and you can forget you have it. Well it has been getting a lot of use lately. You don't have to run out and buy one you can also use a large pot with a tight fitting lid.
The recipe does take time so do it when you have a day at home and want to cook something special for the family or friends. All the work is done ! Perfect in this horrible weather

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 cardamon pods
1 piece of cinnamon about 2 inches 5 cmd long
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 kilo diced lamb shoulder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder more if you like it hot or fresh chilli
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup of coriander
1/2 cup chopped mint
2 large brown onions thinly sliced
6 tomatoes chopped ( or approx 1 can of tomatoes )
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil

Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes
The cook for 5-6 minutes only and set aside.

Heat some of the oil in a heavy pot and cook the onions until brown and caramelised approx 15 minutes. Be carful not to let it burn. Set aside.

In the same pot heat some more of the oil and when hot add the cinnamon stick, cardamon pods and peppercorns. Cook for 30 seconds then add the bay leaf  and stir through. Next add the spices, garlic ginger, turmeric and garam masala and lastly the tomato . Continue to cook scraping the pan and try not to let it burn.
Add the lamb pieces and sauté for 2-3 minutes until meat has browned slightly.  Add only 1/4 of the onion and half the chopped coriander  with 2 1/2 cups water and some salt.
Cover and bring to the boil and cook for 40 minutes or until lamb is nearly cooked. It will be 10-12 minutes if you have a pressure cooker with 2 cups water.

If using a saucepan you may want to stir the lamb from time to time to stop it catching. Add some of the yoghurt after cooking and stir through.

For the final stage pour the remainder of the oil into a large pan with a lid. Spread a little less than half the rice on the bottom of the pan, then a layer of the fried onion, then the lamb mixture on top. Layer with more rice reserving a little for the top, fried onion and then the lamb mixture and the little remaining rice on top. Drizzle a little oil over the top and cover the pan tightly. Simmer on a very low heat for 15 minutes.

When you turn out the dish onto a platter the rice and lamb will combine. Garnish with mint and coriander. Serve with yoghurt or a yoghurt raita ( with cucumber )

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