Biryiani, pronounced ‘beery-arnee’ is the paella of Indian food.
- 1 1/2 1 1/2 lbs (750 g) lamb, cubed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 7 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 black cardamom pods, bruised
- 7 green cardamom pods, bruised
- 3-4 green finger-length chilies, slit lengthwise
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (250 g) plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 2 teapsoons Garam Masala Spice Mix*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup (25 g) fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup (25 g) fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 green cardamom pods, bruised
- 3 cloves
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 blade of mace
- A few rose petals or 2-3 drops of rose essence
- 2 cups (400 g) uncooked long-grain rice, soaked 1 hour and drained
To make the Marinade, combine all the ingredients. Coat the meat well and leave to marinate for at least 3 hours.
Prepare the Biryani Rice by placing the spices and seasonings into a large pot or water and bringing to a boil. Add the long-grain rice and boil rapidly for 3 minutes until just half-cooked, then drain throughly. Discard the whole spices and set the Biryani Rice aside.
Heat the ghee over moderate heat in a wok or casserole dish. Stir-fry the spices for 1 to 2 minutes until they begin to crackle, then add the chilies and onion stir-fry until the oinion is lightly browned. Add the salt and the marinated meat, stir a few times, then pour the Rice over the meat. Heat the wok moderate heat for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to as low as possible and leave to cook for 45 minutes before serving.
Vegetarians can use firm tofu in place of the meat, but the tofu needs to be scored first before marinating, Reduce the cooking time to 15 minutes, or until the tofu cooked.