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Lamb biryani

Top Billing lamb biryani recipe

Lamb biryani
Indian and Cape Malay biryani have a much-deserved place in South Africa’s national cruisine. ‘Birian’ actually means ‘fried before cooking’.  Originally, rice was fried (without washing) in ghee or clarified butter which gave it a nutty flavour and burnt the outside starch layer. After the rice was stir-fried it was boiled in water with spices until half-cooked. The age-old test of a good biryani is to drop a handful on the floor – no two grains of rice should be stuck to each other.

(serves 6)

1kg boneless lamb leg or shoulder, cubed
2T grated ginger
1t minced garlic
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 bay leaf, crushed
1t ground cumin
1t ground coriander
1t ground cinnamon
1t ground cloves
1t turmeric
4 green chillies, chopped
handful coriander leaves, chopped
1t chopped mint
½ cup oil
125g unsalted butter
5 onions, chopped
250ml plain Greek yoghurt
500g basmati rice
½t saffron, soaked in a little milk

Sealing dough
200g wholewheat flour
1t salt

Place the lamb in a bowl. Mix the ginger, garlic, cardamom, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, chillies and fresh herbs with a little oil and rub into the lamb. Leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.

Heat oil and butter in a casserole and sauté the onions until soft. Remove. Brown the lamb, in the same casserole. Add the onion back in with the yoghurt and the remaining marinade. Simmer for 30 minutes until the lamb is tender.

Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Boil enough water to cover the rice. Add rice and boil for 5 minutes. Then drain and spread over the meat. Drizzle with a little oil and saffron milk. For sealing dough, mix the flour and salt with enough water to make a dough. Roll into a sausage and push on rim of the casserole. Place the lid on top and boil for 5 minutes, then bake at 220ºC for 45 minutes

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