Lamb biryani is my regular order when we get Indian food delivered. I was introduced to it a few years ago when an Indian co-worker brought in a huge pot of biryani for his birthday lunch. Even after almost crying due to a whole green chili I mistook for capsicum, I fell in love with the dish.
The one bowl wonder is comforting, the mild blend of spices, the slow cooked, super tender meat very appealing. Sadly, not many restaurants offer this dish. I guess it’s because it’s considered peasant food, not restaurant food. It’s time consuming to make and probably not all that popular here in New Zealand.
It’s the last week of winter so I’m trying to cross off my winter to do list and last week’s CSA box included both carrots and cauliflower. I decided to attempt a lamb biryani. I roughly followed the recipe from Cuisine Magazine which can be found online here.
While the recipe generously suggests this will serve 4, I think it’s more like serves 6 to 8. Even with the cauliflower halved (using just a quarter), I had trouble fitting all this food into my largest pot – a dutch oven – so next time I’m going to halve the recipe.
My basmati rice turned out squishy rather than fluffy, so I would recommend cooking the the rice separately in the lamb stock and combine the rice with the slow cooked pot right before serving. I think I will also use a wider, shallower pot next time. To avoid the stacked weight of food affecting the dish. The weight of all the ingredients may have caused the rice to turn out compressed rather than fluffy. Perhaps cooking the rice separately is sacrilege for a one pot wonder, but basmati should be fluffy rather than squishy. I also found this recipe to be a lot blander than the punchy dish I’m used to ordering.
Suggestions for next time:
- More salt (to taste)
- Less cauliflower
- Addition of a handful of cashew nuts
- Curry powder or chili powder and/or fresh chili
- Soak saffron in 2 tablespoons milk before adding to rice
Once the lamb bones have been simmered to make stock, add a dash of soy sauce for a chef’s treat. There’s a surprising amount of meat left on the bones and it will help stem your hunger while the biryani takes an hour and a half to cook. I thought I’d be the only one to enjoy this treat, but The Koala wanted in on it too. It’s amazing how yummy boiled bones can be.
Have you ever eaten or cooked biryani? What did you think?