LAMB BIRYANI/YAKHNI PULAO
Back to the foodie issue then…The recipe is one my mother has been making for years, & the kids love it because the stock flavours the rice beautifully. I made a small change to it by using half milk/half water to make the stock. Had read about that in a Hyderabadi coffee table book by Pratibha Karan. And yes, I also added some star anise since the flavour is nice & subtle. This preparation is a cross between a biryani & pulao; more a pulao because the rice is cooked in stock, & a bit like biryani because I slow-cooked it on dum!
Rice – ½ kg (2 steel glasses)/ soaked for 30 minutes
Onions – 4 (3 whole; 1 sliced)
Garlic – 1 whole bulb
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Ginger grated – 1 tbsp
Whole Coriander seeds – 3 tbsps
Whole Fennel – 3 tbsps
Green Cardamom -3
Bay leaves – 2
Cinnamon sticks – 2 pieces
Saffron – 1 pinch soaked in a few tbsps warm milk
Cashewnuts for garnishing
Make a bouquet garni with 3 onions (whole) + whole coriander seeds + whole fennel + star anise + garlic bulb + grated ginger. Tie firmly.
Put the lamb in the cooker with the bouquet garni + 1 1/2 glasses of water + 1 1/2 glasses of milk + 1 tsp of salt.
Cook under medium pressure for 15 minutes. Open only once cool. (Adjust cooking time according to your need; the lamb shouldn’t get overdone, otherwise it will fall into pieces while roasting later! CAREFUL!).
Once cool, pour through a soup strainer & collect stock (yakhni) in a bowl; pick out the lamb pieces & reserve in another bowl. Squeeze out the bouquet garni through the strainer. Dispose off the bouquet garni .
Now measure the stock/yakhni (if rice 2 glasses then stock should be 3 ½ glasses); make up the shortfall with water if required.
Heat ½ cup oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add sliced onion & fry till light brown.
Remove & keep for garnishing. Repeat with cashews.
- Add the green cardamom & fry till light brown.
- Add the lamb pieces, yogurt & garlic paste. Roast gently.
Now add the stock + bay leaves + cinnamon sticks + salt for rice & bring to a rolling boil.
Add the rice & let it get 2-3 rolling boils, then cover & simmer for 10-15 minutes till the rice is almost done.
Open & sprinkle the saffron & milk mixture evenly over the top.
Cover with a snug lid sealed with some dough & leave to cook on dum on a girdle/tava on low heat for about 15-20minutes. ( or in the oven at 150 degrees C for 30 minutes).
Don’t open immediately; let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes.
Garnish with fried onions & cashews.
Serve with a Garlic raita. (Whip a bowl of yogurt with 1 level tsp garlic paste; add salt & red chili flakes; mix well;chill)
Notes: Always reheat biryani with a little sprinkle of milk.