LAMB AND VEG­ETABLE BIRYANI

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - FOOD JASMINE HEMSLEY -

A real biryani is a tra­di­tional mea­sure of skill in the In­dian kitchen – every­one has got their own style and every­one’s grandma makes ‘the best one’. This recipe avoids the culi­nary stress while still giv­ing you a biryani-style ex­pe­ri­ence. For a veg­gie-only vari­ant (a great dish to clear out the fridge in one go!), dou­ble the veg­gies and raisins, add a few car­rots and in­crease the cumin very slightly. Serve the veg­gie ver­sion at lunchtime with yo­ghurt and nuts. For some flair at a din­ner party I like to fry off an onion slowly un­til soft and then on a higher heat un­til browned, adding some raisins and cashews to sauté at the end. Use to gar­nish the top along with some ex­tra fresh herbs.

SERVES 4

3 tbsp ghee (clar­i­fied but­ter) 750g lamb (neck or shoul­der) cut into 5cm cubes 1 tsp co­rian­der seeds 1 tsp black pep­per­corns 1 tsp cumin seeds 2 tsp garam masala 1 tsp ground turmeric 5cm piece of fresh gin­ger, finely chopped ½ large leek, finely chopped ¾ tsp sea salt seeds of 5 car­damom pods, ground 1 bay leaf 1 large cin­na­mon stick 200ml wa­ter ½ large head of cau­li­flower (300g), cut into flo­rets 1 aubergine, cubed 150g fresh or frozen peas 30g raisins 320g white bas­mati rice, rinsed but­ter, for greas­ing hand­ful of co­rian­der or mint leaves, plus ex­tra for serv­ing

Heat 1 ta­ble­spoon of the ghee in a large ceramic-lined or sea­soned cast-iron fry­ing pan. Add half the lamb and brown it all over. Re­move and re­peat with the sec­ond batch. Set aside.

In the same pan, melt the re­main­ing ghee over a medium heat. Sauté the co­rian­der seeds, pep­per­corns and cumin seeds for a few min­utes un­til they start to pop. Add the garam masala and turmeric and sauté for a few min­utes. Add the gin­ger and leek and fry for a minute be­fore adding the lamb, salt, car­damom, bay leaf, cin­na­mon stick and wa­ter.

Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 1 hour-1 hour 10 min­utes. Check that the lamb is ten­der. Add the cau­li­flower and aubergine, and cook for an­other 10 min­utes. Add the peas and raisins.

Mean­while, cook the rice ac­cord­ing to the packet in­struc­tions.

Pre­heat the oven to 200C (fan 180C/ gas 6). Grease a large lid­ded bak­ing dish (around 25cm x 40cm in size) with but­ter. Spoon in one third of the rice, cover with half of the lamb curry and sprin­kle with half of the fresh co­rian­der or mint. Re­peat these lay­ers again. Fi­nally, add the re­main­ing rice to the dish and dot with a lit­tle more but­ter. At this stage, the dish can be re­frig­er­ated for a few hours, then cooked when you’re ready.

Place in the oven and heat through for 15 min­utes if it is freshly pre­pared, or up to 40 min­utes if you are cook­ing from cold. Serve hot, gar­nished with ex­tra co­rian­der and mint.

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