Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani
As this prized Lamb Biryani is a real labor of love, it tends to be made at special occasions. It dates back to the 16th century, when moguls and maharajas popularized it throughout the Indian subcontinent with numerous regional variations.
Basmati rice is key to this jewel of a signature dish, perfectly complementing its intense flavors and mesmerizing aroma.
2 star anise
2 tbs coriander seeds
10 cloves, or ½ tsp ground cloves
50 black peppercorns
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1.5 inch cinnamon stick
4 large onions
1.5 inch ginger, peeled
8 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 ½ cups lamb shoulder, chopped into 1 ¼ inch cubes
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chili powder
1 can of tomatoes
Salt to taste
2 ½ cups Tilda Original Pure Basmati Rice
1 tsp rose water (optional)
1 large pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp hot water
Handful of cashew nuts
Handful of sliced pistachios
- Put the star anise, coriander, cloves, peppercorns, cumin, cardamom, fennel and cinnamon stick into a spice grinder, food processor or mortar and pestle to grind them, and then set the spice mix to one side.
- Rinse your Basmati rice in at least three changes of water to wash out the starch and leave to soak in a bowl of cold water on one side for 30 mins. Next, chop your onions in half, peel them, and then slice into fine rings. Place the ginger and garlic in a food processor, or finely grate the ginger and crush the garlic.
- Put a tablespoon of oil into a large, heavy-bottomed, lidded frying pan on a high heat. When you are sure that the pan is very hot, sear the lamb in batches, turning them until they are golden brown. Take the meat out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pan and fry the onions for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are soft and golden. Take out half the onions, transfer them to a bowl, and set them to one side. Then, put the garlic and ginger into the pan. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes and add the spices that you have ground, together with the turmeric and chili powder. Keep stirring to ensure these don’t burn at the bottom of the pan.
- After a minute or so, add the lamb, yoghurt and tomato tin blitzed, stir well to ensure it is all mixed together, and add 14 ounces of warm water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, put the lid on, and leave to simmer for around 1½ hours, or until lamb is tender.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, you’ll need to cook the rice and prepare the fried onions for layering. Drain the rice and transfer to a saucepan. Boil a large pan of water, add the rice, ensuring that you use four times as much water as rice, and bring to the boil. Boil for 8 minutes, until it’s just cooked but still has a bite. Drain and set aside.
- Transfer the onions from the bowl to a small frying pan and continue to fry for another 10 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized, then take off the heat. Check on the lamb: as soon as it is falling apart, season with salt to taste and take it off the heat. Seal the pot with a tight lid or aluminum foil.
- Take an ovenproof pot which will snugly accommodate the rice and lamb, such as a casserole dish. Remove half of the meat from the lamb curry using a slotted spoon (to leave the sauce behind) and place it at the bottom of the pot. Top the meat with half of the rice and half of the onions and repeat with the rest of the meat, rice, and onions. Keep the sauce of the curry aside to serve with the biryani. Bake the biryani for 20 mins.
- Sprinkle the rice with the rose water, saffron, toasted cashews, and sliced pistachios.