Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What to eat Wednesdays - Lamb biriyani

Last week I posted a scrummy recipe for naan bread, so this week I thought I would share an Indian dish to go with it... Lamb biriyani. This recipe is slightly modified from the one in Annabel Langbein's Eat Fresh. (I've reduced the amount of rice from 2.5 cups to 2. I found there wasn't enough sauce to match all that rice in the original recipe.)

It is a big one-pot meal, which makes it ideal for potluck dinners, sharing with guests, feeding big families (thinking of you Kris and Louise), or reheating for lunches.

The last time I made this we served it to guests (along with the naan bread) for dinner, ate it again for dinner the next night, Paul took it for lunch the day after that, we ate it again for dinner that night and I froze some for Paul to take for lunch at a later date.

It really is the meal that keeps on giving.

Spicy rating
I'm not sure how to judge this, so I'll let you know how spicy our family finds it:
  • Lily thinks it's too spicy and won't eat it, but she loves butter chicken. If you're spice tolerance is low like Lily, remove the Cayenne pepper.
  • I don't have the greatest tolerance for spicy food, so I like to mix lots of plain yoghurt through this meal and then it's perfect for me. 
  • Paul eats it straight and loves it. 

Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients - lots of them are spices.
  • 1c plain, unsweetened yoghurt
  • 3T grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Optional: pinch of saffron (I've never tried it with this, so can't tell you if it's worth the expense or not.)
  • 1T ground cumin
  • 1T garam masala
  • 2t cardamom seeds
  • 1t each ground turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper
  • 1/2t cayenne pepper
  • 1t salt
  • 1kg diced lean lamb
  • 2T oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • 1t honey
  • 2c basmati rice
  • 10-12 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2c roasted cashews
  • 2/3c sliced almonds
  • 1/2 packed cup chopped mint

1. Mix yoghurt with ginger, garlic and all the spices (except the whole cloves) and salt and stir through the lamb to evenly coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours (it tastes even better after marinating for a day or two).

2. Heat oil in a very large, ovenproof casserole and fry onions over medium-high heat until they start to turn brown, 10-12 minutes.

3. Add meat and its marinade, tomatoes and honey. Cover and simmer on lowest heat for 30 minutes.

4. While meat cooks, boil a big pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt. Add rice and simmer for exactly 8 minutes.

5. Drain thoroughly then mix through the cloves, bay leaves, lemon zest, cashews and half the almonds and mint, reserving remainder for garnish.

6. Spoon the rice evenly over the cooked lamb, cover tightly and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes.

7. Sprinkle with remaining nuts and mint before serving with Naan bread and plain yoghurt.

Thanks for letting me share this recipe with you. Check out Eat Fresh for more great meal ideas.


  1. As usual, great photos & instructions. I am definitely going to try this one as it looks divine! I have a whole homegrown lamb in the freezer divided up into meals, so am going to use that - should be perfection.

  2. Oh divine! You're own lamb. Does that mean you have lamb roasts as well? I love a good lamb roast, but they're so expensive to buy it is just a rare treat for us.

    Let me know how this recipe turns out for you. I'd love to hear.


  3. Kia ora just wondering if some of your recipes are on my fitness pal? Cheers :-)

    1. Hi Lizzie, I haven't put any up there, but others might have that I don't know about. ;)


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