Wishing all my friends and followers a Happy, Blessed and Cheerful Christmas.
I wasn’t too sure if I will get time to post anything on Christmas day as we had originally planned to throw a party for some friends. But that plan got postponed and so we ended up celebrating a quiet, family Christmas this year – just the three of us.
My husband hails from a place called Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India which is ‘famous’ for its biriyani. In fact, no function in any Christian household is complete without a lamb or chicken biriyani. After marriage, the only dish my hubby asked me to learn from his mother is the lamb biriyani she makes…which I did and make quite rather well now.
This lamb biriyani is prepared in the Arcot style which is famous as a spicy and very flavorsome dish. Lamb is often the meat of choice but chicken can also be used instead. The meat is first half cooked with spices and aromatics; it is then cooked completely along with rice and other whole spices to complete the dish. Like I mentioned, this biriyani is spicy and very flavourful, not really for those with faint-hearted taste buds. And the classic accompaniments for this lamb biriyani is cucumber-carrot raita and oil brinjal (small, baby brinjals prepared with spices)
So no more talking – let’s get cooking this awesome lamb biriyani.
Arcot style Lamb Biryani
For the rice:
- Long grained rice – 1 kg washed and drained
- Red onion – 4-5 sliced thinly
- Tomato – 4-5 sliced
- Ginger paste – 1 ½ tbsp
- Garlic paste – 1 ½ tbsp
- Bay leaf – 2
- Clove – 6
- Cardamom – 6
- Cinnamon bark – ½ inch
- Peppercorns – 10
- Green chillies whole – 10
- Curry leaves – a handful
- Coriander leaves – 1 cup chopped finely
- Mint leaves – 1 cup chopped finely
- Curd – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 tbsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Ghee – 3-4 tbsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
For the lamb:
- Lamb/mutton pieces – 1 kg cut into curry sized pieces
- Red onion – 1 sliced
- Tomato – 1 sliced
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Pepper – ½ tsp
- Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
- Garam masala – ¼ tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Pressure cook the mutton pieces (2-3 whistles; meat should be 3/4th cooked) along with the rest of the ingredients and a little water till soft and tender.
- Keep a large non-stick handi (deep-bottomed pan) on medium heat and add ghee and oil.
- Once the oil has become moderately hot, add bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorns and crackle
- Then add the sliced onions and sauté.
- As the onion becomes translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté again.
- Add curry leaves and whole chillies. Saute again.
- Once the onions have turned golden brown, add sliced tomatoes and sauté again for 2 minutes on high flame.
- Turn to medium heat and add chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves.
- As the oil clears, add turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
- Add curd and then lower the heat.
- Next, add the cooked mutton pieces. Measure the broth and add this too to the masala.
- Add the remaining amount of water (water: rice ratio is 2:1 if basmati or long grain rice is used.)
- Add salt to taste and bring to boil.
- Add the washed rice and mix well.
- Turn to high heat and cook covered for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid and mix well, turn heat to low and cook till the rice is done and all the water is absorbed.
- Turn off heat and let sit for a while before removing the lid.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, fried onions and cashewnuts. Serve hot.