Lamb Biryani By Greg Crawford


(Serves 4)

800 gms shoulder of lamb on the bone cut into cubes

1 tsp turmeric powder 3 tbsp yoghurt

Pinch of salt

To cook the Lamb;

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 bay leaf

5 green cardamom pods

1 star anise

1-2 mace

1 black cardamom

4 cloves

3 cm cinnamon stick broken

3-4 medium onions finely sliced

6 cloves of garlic pounded to a paste 2” peeled ginger pounded to a paste 2 green chillies finely chopped

1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp fennel powder

2 tbsp tomato puree

120 mls water

2 tbsp melted butter

Generous pinch of saffron infused in 2 tbsp of warm water 4 tsp rosewater

1 tbsp finely chopped mint

1 tbsp finely chopped coriander

1 cup fried onions

Red onion, lemon wedges and mint chutney to serve

For the rice;

500gms basmati rice washed & drained 2 bay leaves

3 green cardamom pods

1lt water or vegetable stock

Salt to taste


1. In a mixing bowl add the lamb, turmeric powder, yoghurt and salt. Mix well making sure all the pieces is well coated.

Set aside and leave to marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based pan and add all the whole spices. As they start to crackle add the onions. Sauté the onions on a medium heat for 10-12 minute until they soften and turn light brown. Add the garlic and ginger paste and chillies and fry stirring well for a couple of minutes. Add the powdered spices and cook for a further two minutes

3. At this stage add the marinated meat stir well making sure to mix the spices with the lamb pieces. Tip in the tomato puree and fry sealing the lamb cubes for a 3-4 minutes. At this stage add the water. bring to a simmer and cover the sauce pan cooking the lamb for 60 minutes. Give it a stir half way through making sure the lamb is tender and the masala thickens. The masala should reduce and coat the lamb pieces.

4. Preheat the oven to 180c (Gas mark 4). Ten minutes before the lamb is ready bring a large sauce pan with a litre of water to boil. Add the rice, bay leaf, cardamom pods and salt. Bring to a boil and cook the rice for 7-10 mins until three quarters done (the rice grain if broken should have a slight bite to it) Drain the rice and set aside

5. Brush the base of a deep casserole with melted butter. Cover the base with a layer of rice about a third followed by a third of the lamb along with its sauce followed by another layer of rice and a teaspoon of the saffron water.

Repeat each layer finishing off with a layer of rice and a drizzle of saffron water 1-2 tsp rosewater, chopped mint and leftover melted butter and fried onions.

Depending on the amount of rice/curry you have you may be able to make another layer, repeat with onions mint and saffron and rosewater

Cover the dish with grease proof paper and a tight fitting lid. Place the dish in the oven for a final cooking time of 20-25 minutes.


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