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Owen Thomas (Kodai class of '55) sent this in to our class website. This biryani is made with lamb. Try it--it's really good.
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cups uncooked rice (basmati is best; makes a biryani that fills a large Dutch oven)
- 6 cups water
- 1 stick of butter/margarine
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, salt
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, ground turmeric
- Leg of lamb (shank half is better), cubed and trimmed of fat
- About 1/2 cup yogurt
- 2 or 3 white potatoes
- 1/2 - 1 cup frozen petite peas
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 - 4 teaspoons, curry powder (or more)
- 4 teaspoons, cumin (or more - is my favorite spice)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, ground cardamom (Owen likes whole; Meg does not!)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, ground coriander
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, oregano
- 3 teaspoons, garam masala
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, ground cloves - or several whole cloves (8 - 10)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons, ginger
- In a heavy skillet (electric skillet), fry 1/2 of a good-sized onion, diced, till golden in butter/margarine.
- Add 3 cups uncooked rice; toss to coat rice with butter and gently fry 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water, salt to taste (1 - 2 teaspoons) plus 1 to 2 teaspoons ground turmeric for color and flavor.
- Cover. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes on low heat till water is absorbed and rice is fluffy (275 degrees on electric skillet).
- Marinate cubed lamb pieces in yogurt - enough yogurt to coat the meat, but not excessive amount (1/2 cup, plus or minus).
- Let stand in refrigerator for 1 hour or more.
- Dice 1 whole onion; fry in oil till golden.
- Add spices: curry powder, cumin, cardamom, coriander, oregano, garam masala, ground cloves or whole cloves, ginger (amounts above; all amounts are approximate!)
- Stir spices in oil with onions--they will absorb the oil quickly.
- When heated through, add cubed lamb pieces and fry lamb. If it does not look like there are enough spices, add more curry powder and cumin.
- Allow lamb and yogurt to cook down, and then add cubed potatoes.
- Cover and cook on low heat till lamb is done - about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add frozen peas when curry is almost cooked so they will be warmed but not overdone before layering the curry and the rice.
Layering the biryani:
- Put a layer of yellow rice in the bottom of Dutch oven. Add layer of meat. Alternate rice and meat layers, ending with a top layer of rice.
- Gently pack down the top layer of rice. Cover with Dutch oven cover.
- Bake in 350-degree oven for 1 hour.
Serve with condiments: Raisins, peanuts, bananas, papadums, diced tomatoes, diced onions, diced cucumber, mango chutney, yogurt and/or sour cream and cilantro paste.
Put 1 or 2 bunches of fresh cilantro, minus major pieces of stems, in food processor with 1 or 2 tablespoons of yogurt and 1 or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (or lime juice). Grind to form a paste. Cilantro will reduce down a lot - 2 bunches will make about 1/2 cup of paste.
It is possible to substitute beef, chicken or fish for the meat, but lamb is "traditional." If using chicken, thighs are best.
Sliced hard-cooked eggs may be added to the top of the biryani, as well as fried onions.