Kofta, apricot and prune biryani
One of the best things about doing an annual Christmas show is learning new recipes for food and cocktails from a selection of brilliant professionals. High on my list of favourites is Angela Malik, who is such a kind and encouraging teacher. I hope my passion for all things Indian comes through loud and clear in the book, but learning this recipe from Angela really changed my cooking because there is nothing you cannot cook in her masala sauce. Ben brings all sorts of stuff home – rabbit, pheasant, mutton and various kinds of fish – and all have been chucked in the masala and come out the better for it. Biryani is an all-in-one rice dish containing meat and veg. Angela’s version, with lamb koftas, dried fruit and masala sauce, is superb. I particularly like the crusty bits of rice at the bottom of the pan. SERVES FOR LAYERING THE BIRYANI 3 oranges, zest of 2 and juice of all 3 100g pitted prunes 100g dried apricots 1 tbsp sunflower oil, for frying 2 onions, peeled and sliced 50g butter FOR THE RICE 450g basmati rice 3 litres water 2 tsp salt 2 black or green cardamom pods 2 x 5cm cinnamon sticks 4 cloves 2 bay leaves bunch of fresh coriander, stalks chopped and leaves roughly chopped
Start by soaking the fruit for layering the biryani and preparing the rice. Put half the orange zest into a bowl, then add all the orange juice and the dried fruit. Set aside. Wash the rice in a sieve, tip into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside.
Now prepare the masala sauce. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onions and fry over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. This will take at least 10 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and whole spices. Fry for about a minute, until you feel the ginger paste starting to stick to the pan. Add the tomatoes and water. Cover and cook on a medium heat, mashing the mixture down every now and then, until it becomes a pulp, about 10 minutes. Add the ground spices, the salt and yoghurt and stir thoroughly.
To make the koftas, put the lamb in a bowl and add the onion, egg, ginger, garlic, spices, coriander and salt. Mix well. Shape the mince mixture into balls about 3cm-5cm in diameter. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When hot, fry the koftas, in batches, on all sides for 2-3 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
While the koftas are cooking, fry the ‘layering’ onion in the oil in a saucepan until golden, at least 10 minutes. Stir frequently, then set aside once done.
Drain the rice. Boil the 3 litres of water in a large saucepan with the salt. Add the spices, bay leaves and some of the chopped coriander leaves to the pan. Once it reaches a rolling boil, add the rice. Bring back to the boil and cook for about 4 minutes: it should still be hard in the middle. Drain the rice and