Biryani is a favourite among many and served together with rice, raita, salad and pickle, adding something special to Eid celebrations. Use chicken, mutton, goat or lamb – here is a favourite recipe using lamb.
Recipe — Renu Sikka
2 cups sliced red onions
¼ cup green chilli slices
handful of nuts – almonds and cashews
1kg bone in mutton/lamb cut in small 1-inch pieces
4 tsps each of ginger and garlic paste
4 tbsps of biryani masala (I use homemade but can be store bought)
½ cup yogurt
oil for frying
1-2 potatoes, sliced
4 cups chopped tomatoes
2 tbsps of ghee
whole spices – cardamoms green and black, cloves, cinnamon, & star anise
1. Soak the saffron in one-quarter cup of warm milk.
2. Heat some oil and start frying the onions. Add one-quarter cup green chilli slices. Remove when golden brown, take half out and leave aside, also remove the chilies. Keep browning the rest and they should be getting really dark but not burnt. Add some salt to help caramelise the onions.
3. Add a handful of almonds and cashew nuts and take them out of the pan and leave aside.
4. Marinate 1kg of mutton with the juice of a lime, two teaspoons each of ginger and garlic paste, two tablespoons of biryani masala, salt and one-half cup of yogurt.
5. In some hot oil, sauté all the meat till you get a bit of colour. Add two teaspoons each of ginger and garlic paste and two tablespoons of biryani masala.
6. Add the onions and chilies back in.
7. Mix everything well together, add four cups of chopped tomatoes and salt to taste, mix again and let this cook for 30-45 minutes.
8. In the last 2-3 minutes add the half-done potatoes to the gravy and leave it aside.
9. In a pot heat two tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter and throw in some whole spices like cardamoms green and black, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise. They will start sizzling, add water to the pot together with salt to taste and bring to the boil.
10. Add the basmati rice after it’s been washed and drained and cook for 15 minutes.
11. As soon as you see the water bubble to the top, turn the heat down to low as you only want to cook this rice until it’s half-cooked (par-boil).
12. Drain this rice well.
13. In an ovenproof pot or dish, layer in half of the meat and gravy. Follow this with half the rice and drizzle in some of that saffron milk.
14. Add another layer of the meat with the potatoes and the final layer of rice.
15. Drizzle in the rest of the saffron milk.
16. Cover with the fried onions and nuts reserved earlier.
17. Use a pinch of orange food colouring to the top layer of the biryani.
18. Add some halved boiled eggs.
19. Cover with tin foil and cook in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30–45 minutes.
20. Once done, dig in to all those layers and serve. Add some fresh coriander and mint leaves and serve this with a side of raita.