AFGHANI KABULI PULLAO (SPICED LAMB RICE WITH CARAMELISED CAR­ROTS AND RAISINS)

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Food & Drink -

Serves 6-8

Takes 2½ hours to pre­pare

150ml veg­etable oil

1 large red onion, chopped finely

800g lamb leg or shoul­der, on the bone, cut into three-inch pieces

3 tsp crushed gar­lic

4 tsp grated gin­ger

Salt to taste

1-2 litres of wa­ter

70g caster sugar

2 tsp garam masala

(Make fresh by grind­ing to­gether 1 tsp each of cloves, green car­damom, 4 bay leaves and ½ inch cin­na­mon)

1 tsp freshly ground car­damom

800g long-grain bas­mati rice, soaked in cold wa­ter for 1 hour to overnight – then par­boiled in hot salted wa­ter

20g car­rots, peeled and cut into thin ba­tons

70 g sul­tanas/raisins

A hand­ful of al­monds and pis­ta­chios, sil­vered – to gar­nish

Method:

Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion for un­til golden brown. Next, add the gin­ger, gar­lic, 1 tbsp of the salt and cook un­til the raw smell leaves the pan

Then add lamb and cook un­til meat is sealed and light brown (about 10 min­utes). Add about 1 litre of wa­ter, re­duce heat to low and skim sur­face oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til lamb is ten­der (about 1 hour). Re­move lamb from pan and set aside. Re­serve the stock.

Us­ing an­other saucepan, heat over medium flame and add half the sugar. Cook, shak­ing pan, for 5-6 min­utes or un­til sugar has caramelised. Care­fully add half the stock, 1 tsp of garam masala and a lit­tle ground car­damom. Bring to the boil, then re­move from heat and set aside.

Drain the par­boiled rice and re­turn to the empty stock pan. Pour over the caramelised sugar mix­ture, add a pinch of garam masala and car­damom, and stir un­til rice is evenly coated. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a fry­ing pan over medium-high heat. Add the car­rot and re­main­ing sugar and stir for 5 min­utes, or un­til lightly caramelised, then add the sul­tanas and cook for 1 minute. Re­move from the heat and stir in an­other pinch of car­damom. Set this aside for later. Heat the re­main­ing oil in a fry­ing pan un­til smok­ing. Pour oil over the rice (enough to cover the rice evenly but not soak it; if you have some stock left over it can be frozen).

Make holes all over rice with the back of a spoon. This al­lows the rice to steam evenly and cook.

Now sprin­kle over the car­rot and place the lamb around the rice.

Cover and seal pan with foil and then the lid. Place over high heat and cook for 5 to 10 min­utes. Re­duce the heat and cook un­til the steam rises when you lift the lid and the rice is cooked.

To serve, care­fully spoon the rice and lamb into a serv­ing plat­ter and scat­ter with al­monds and pis­ta­chios and any re­main­ing spiced car­rots and raisins.

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