L8: “Biryani brought me back”

Biryani 2Biryani 1

Biryani 2
A slice of lime to finish

Evidently, it’s been a while and it’s been a busy few months for me but I have finally found my way back to trying out recipes. Biryani has a special place in my house, it is the diamond encrusted crown in my mum’s treasure trove of recipes.

While I originally wanted to share this post for Eid back in June, I find it’s better to be late to the party than to never attend. This symphony of fragrant basmati rice, succulent lamb and sensuous spices will awaken your taste buds and this recipe’s portion size means more than one serving of heaven is in store. It’s easier than you might think and the results will show you that the radioactive yellow option at some local Indian/Pakistani restaurant buffet does no justice to this institution.

Serves 6- 8 people

Ingredients:

Masala:

  • 6 large white onions
  • 1 cup cooking oil (mum prefers olive oil)
  • 2tbsp of garlic and ginger paste
  • Laziza Sindhi Biryani mix – 1 whole pouch
  • 200g Natural Live Set yoghurt
  • 6-7 medium sized fresh tomatoes
  • 1½ kilos leg of lamb (chopped into medium size chunks)
  • 6 green jalapenos chillis
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 4 cups basmati long grain rice (600g approx)

Rice:

  • 2tbsp table salt
  • 1tbsp zeera (cumin powder)
  • 1tbsp duniya (coriander powder)
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 -3 tbsps garam masala mix (not powder)

  • 25g of butter
  • A handful of fresh mint, coriander leaves to garnish.
  • A handful of fresh lemon, red/green pepper and tomato slices to garnish.

Raita:

  • 1kg of natural bio yoghurt
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of table salt

Method:

  1. Get that gravy first, this is the essential birth of your all important masala. Start by slicing up your onions, you want them nice and fine to help them reach that dream golden brown stage quickly. Once this is done, add your cooking oil to a pot and heat things up, only add the onions when the oil is sizzling.

  2. The trinity of garlic, ginger and green chillis is a must. Blitz together the paste and your green chillis together and add to the browned onions. You’re aiming to get everything golden and then it’s time to introduce the lamb.

  3. Lightly brown the lamb but not too much to avoid a rubber like texture. Add two cups of warm water and cover for approximately 20 mins. The majority of your water will disappear, leaving behind the soft and tender meat.

  4. Set things in motion with the Laziza spice mix, sprinkle the entire pouch over your meat and mix well. Mum calls this part the bhuna of the meat which very loosely translates to roasting and cooking well.

  5. Blitz your tomatoes to a smooth liquid and add this to the mix. It will add a freshness to your gravy. Along with this, add your yoghurt and 2 cups of lukewarm water. Stir this trio and cover leaving for 15-20mins on a medium to low heat.

  6. Now it’s time to get some of that oh so nice rice on the go, make sure it has been soaking for at least 2-3 hours (more detail on this in L1).

  7. Get a pot of water (lots of water as this will dry up a bit before the rice is added) to the boil, add your salt, zeera, duniya, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves and garam masala mix. Note that if you can’t find the whole garam masala mix, then just use sprinklings of black pepper whole, bay leaves and cumin seeds. Let the infusion party be for 15-20 mins at least.

  8. Add your rice ensuring the water covers all the rice, leave to parboil. This should only take 10-15 mins but use your intuition as well, take a few grains out and feel them between your fingers. You don’t want them to be completely soft. As mentioned in lesson 1, imagine each uncooked grain of rice has 3 parts.  All 3 parts of the grain will be cooked at the end but at this stage, you’re aiming to cook just one-third of the grain.

  9. Now we’ve reached the climax, let the rice meet the masala. Once the rice is drained, grease a pot with some butter and a little of the gravy. Much like a lasagna, a biryani is all about layers. Lay down the rice smoothly and add some gravy, ensuring that meat chunks are evenly spread out. Repeat until you fill the pot to almost the top, you still want some space for the steam to circulate and cook the rice to perfection.

  10. Decorate the top with small chunks of butter, slices, fresh mint & coriander leaves and slices of lemon, tomato and pepper. Cover closely with foil and the lid to let the magic happen. We are using the Dum Pukht technique (L1 for more info) to finish this dish, leave for 15-20 mins on a low heat.

  11. Check at the 15 min stage, the smell of fresh biryani should be wafting through your kitchen at this point. The rice grains should be long, light and fragrant.

  12. Serve with a salad of your choice (I advise lettuce, tomato, sweetcorn, red onion, carrot and avocado) and raita.

  13. Our family raita is pretty simple mix your yoghurt, sliced red onion chopped cucumber, tomato, shredded carrot and salt & pepper.

  14. ENJOY for more than one meal 🙂

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Annabelle says:

    Welcome back! The party missed you.
    A good biryani is incredible. I definitely wanna try this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. chefkreso says:

    Amazing photos and a delicious recipe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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