Lamb Biryani

, from Issue #23. September, 2015
Photography by Vanessa Wu.
Lamb Biryani

Perfectly spiced and flavoured this Indian inspired Biryani is a delicious meal for a weekday lunch or dinner.  

Serves: 6


2 teaspoons each ground cumin and coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
800 grams trimmed, boneless lamb leg steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
small knob butter
1 onion, sliced
1⁄2-1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
200 grams dried figs, halved if large
2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock

Yoghurt sauce
1 cup thick plain yogurt
70 grams soft feta cheese
1⁄4 cup mint leaves, chopped
juice 1⁄2 lemon

To finish
small handful mint, chopped
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
70 grams pistachio nuts
cooked pappadams


Put the spices, sea salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any fat and skin. Add to the spices,close the bag and toss to coat well. Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan until hot and cook the lamb in batches until lightly coloured, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions, chilli, allspice, garlic and ginger and cook until the onions are tender.

Add the lamb and any resting juices, figs, rice and stock, season and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, cover and turn the heat to its lowest setting. A simmer mat is perfect for cooking rice. Cook for 25 minutes without lifting the lid at any stage. Turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes before fluffing up with a fork. Gently mix through the mint and most of the cranberries and pistachios, keeping a few for garnish.

Yoghurt sauce: Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

To serve: Spoon the pilaf onto a serving platter and drizzle over a little of the yoghurt sauce. Garnish with extra mint and the reserved cranberries and pistachios. Serve with pappadams and the remaining yoghurt sauce.