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Lamb Biryani

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Recipe by Route 79

Description Edit

This is yet another great Saturday-night dish - perfect for taking into your living room in a plate - sitting on sofa, plate in one hand - spoon in the other - and tucking in whilst watching a great suspense or action thriller film on the TV. With gorgeously tender pieces of Lamb, mildly spiced and coated in fluffy basmati rice - nothing beats this on a cold winter's evening in London!

The problem is that the traditional method of cooking biryani dishes involves a lot of preparation and a lot of hassle "layering" part-cooked rice and meat in an oven-proof tray (or casserole dish) and then sticking in oven etc. Here in the busy Route79 household we just don't have the precious time - and nor do we like the idea of using up half a kitchen's worth of utensils just to make one dish!

So - here is a much easier method - and only involves one stove-top pot and some ingredients that you should definitely find lurking in your cupboards or fridge. All you need is some Lamb (or Chicken if you like) !!


Ingredients Edit

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Ingredients

Here is what you need to make Lamb Biryani for two very generous servings:


Directions Edit

As I mentioned earlier - you can use Chicken instead of Lamb if you like - in fact you can use practically anything - Turkey chunks, non-flaky fish (e.g. monkfish) - or even vegetables etc. But if you do use Lamb - please be sure to use leg of Lamb only. This will result in a fabulously tender and tasty bite in the end-product. I know that Lamb leg is expensive - but if you go down your High Street butcher you will almost certainly find it a lot cheaper (and fresher) - and if the butcher is an Asian/Indian one then you can also get it deboned, de-fatted and chopped up for you at no extra charge. For example - I went down my local High Street butcher - pointed at my choice of whole Lamb leg in the see-through cabinet and asked him for half of it - which he took to a sawing machine and cut up - and then chopped it all up for me. I purchased 1 kilogram - but you only need to use about a third of that for this recipe. (I'm using the rest for something else you see!). I Paid a total of £6.40 for 1 kilo - which I believe is far cheaper than Safeway or Asda.

Anyway - make sure the Lamb pieces are chopped small - about the size of a heaped teaspoon each or thereabouts. And now for the action ...

Get a glass bowl. In it put the two dessert-spoons of natural yoghurt. Put in all the spices as per the amounts listed above including a few dashes of vinegar - and then stir it all up. (If you, like me, are using chunks of frozen pulped garlic, ginger and chillie - then be sure to defrost the chunks by zapping then for 20 seconds on high power in the microwave first.)

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Put all ingredients in a glass bolw

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Mix it all about

Then add the Lamb pieces and stir it all up so that every piece is coated well. At this point you have two choices: you can either clingfilm the bowl and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours - or you can proceed straight on to the next stage. I would reccomend marinating for a couple of hours - as this will result in a quicker cook time later - and a more flavourful dish too. But - it is not essential.

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Add the lamb pieces and stir/coat well

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Cover with clingfilm and put in fridge

Now prepare the rest of the stuff. Slice and cut the onions vertically so you end up with long thin strips. Chop the Mushrooms and tomatoes. The latter two things shound be done relatively finely. Also - get your bay leaves and pinch of cumin seeds ready for the stove-top action.

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Other ingredients

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Other ingredients

Put about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into a non-stick pan - on high flame - and throw in the cumin seeds. Wait until they start to splutter - and then add the chopped onions. Lower the flame to medium and fry this for around 10 mins until the onions are browned.

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Fry the cumin seeds until they splutter. Then add onions

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Fry the onions until browned

Then add the chopped tomato - immediately followed by the marinated Lamb. Turn up the flame at this point to high. Stir it all around.

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Then add the chopped tomato

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Then add the marinated lamb

Then add the Mushrooms and the bayleaves. Ensure everything is mixed up.

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Then add the chopped mushrooms

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Stir it all around and add the bay leaves

Basically - you've got to stir-fry it on high heat for around 5 mins. This will allow the garlic and ginger in the marinade to cook properly. You can then lower the flame so that the mixture is simmering - stick the lid on and let it slowly cook for around 20 or 30 minutes. This is the stage at which you have to ensure that the Lamb is tender - and that the spice mixture tastes right. Don't be afraid of too much salt at this point - because when the rice is added - the salt will be diluted. Whilst the Lamb is cooking - prepare the basmati rice by washing it in cold water throughly several times. I use the sieve/bowl in the sink under cold running water technique which you can see in the "Vegetable rice" recipe.

When the Lamb is cooked tender - add the washed and drained rice to the pot.


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Stir fry it for about 5 minutes on high heat; Then lower heat, put lid on and let it simmer for around 20-30 minutes

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When lamb is tender, add the rice

Now add a little water to the pot - NOT the usual twice-the-amount-of-water-as-rice amount - but instead only enough to cover the surface of the rice by just over half a centimetre. Then put the lid on. This will be the last time you see the inside of the pot until it's done! Bring the pot to fierce boil and then immediately transfer to a very-low-flame burner and let it simmer there for around 20 minutes. Whatever you do - DO NOT TAKE THE LID OFF TO SEE HOW IT'S DOING ! Every bit of steam in the pot is needed to work its magic on the rice! Trust me: you will ruin it if you keep taking the lid off. Go make side-salad to keep yourself occupied whilt the rice is cooking!


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Stir it up - coating rice and add some water

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Put lid on. Bring the fierce boil and then transfer to VERY low flame. Let simmer for 20 minutes. DO NOT TAKE LID OFF!

Recipe by Route 79 Edit

Route 79

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