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.
For the rice:
1. Long grained rice – 1 kg, washed and drained
2. Red onion – 4-5, sliced thinly
3. Tomato – 4-5, sliced
4. Ginger paste – 1 ½ tbsp
5. Garlic paste – 1 ½ tbsp
6. Bay leaf – 2
7. Clove – 6
8. Cardamom – 6
9. Cinnamon bark – ½ inch
10. Peppercorns – 10
11. Green chillies (whole) – 10
12. Curry leaves – a handful
13. Coriander leaves – 1 cup, chopped finely
14. Mint leaves – 1 cup, chopped finely
15. Curd – 2 tsp
16. Turmeric powder – 1 tbsp
17. Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
18. Salt – to taste
19. Ghee – 3-4 tbsp
20. Oil – 2 tbsp
For the lamb:
1. Lamb/mutton pieces – 1 kg, cut into curry sized pieces
2. Red onion – 1, sliced
3. Tomato – 1 sliced
4. Ginger paste – 1 tsp
5. Garlic paste – 1 tsp
6. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
7. Pepper – ½ tsp
8. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
9. Garam masala – ¼ tsp
10. 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.
Once again, Merry Christmas to all of you.