Lamb Biryani

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450 g  diced boneless lamb, shoulder or neck .
250 ml sunflower oil
2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 hot green chillies, chopped
3 bay or cassia leaves
a small piece of cinnamon stick or cassia bark
10  black peppercorns
8 cloves
1 lightly crushed black cardamon pod
7 lightly crushed green cardamon pods
3 chopped onions
500 ml yogurt
a handful of coriander leaves, chopped
450 g basmati rice
pinch of ground saffron


Heat the oil and ghee in a heavy based pan over a medium heat. When hot add the bay/cassia leaves, and cinnamon/cassia bark, cardamon pods,cloves and peppercorns heat, stirring all the time to release the aromas. Add the ginger and garlic, stir for a couple of times before adding the meat. Stir the meat until it is lightly browned.Add the onions to the pan and continue to cook gently until the onions have softened. Reduce the heat now and add the yogurt, stir in. Add the green chillies, coriander leaves and a teaspoon of salt. Bring back to a simmer and partially cover and cook for 30 minutes stirring now and then. Uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and the oil separates from the meat. Place the cover on the pan and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven 150°C – 130°C fan – Gas 2.

Rinse the rice under running water until it runs clear, leave to stand for 15 minutes in a bowl of clean water. Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil, add 4 teaspoons salt and then add the rice. Stir to separate the grains and then partially cover with a lid, return to the boil. Boil for 5-6 minutes. Drain through a colander and set aside. Tilt the pan of meat mixture and drain out the fats into a bowl. Take an ovenproof pan and spread half the oil over the base of the pan, spread half the rice over the oil, next pour in all the meat, sprinkle with the saffron, and then cover with the remaining rice and finally pour the remaining oil over the top. Tightly seal the oven pan with foil and place the lid over the top. Place in the centre of the oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until everything is cooked thoroughly. Stir through gently before serving.

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