Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!
I love Indian food and was really excited about this challenge. I made this for my Mum when I went home for a week and instead of using the recipes in the post she found a recipe in her 1969 Cordon Bleu Cookery Course, well I had to try that! Despite some slightly dodgy spelling and the need for damp muslin (we used a damp tea towel instead), the dish was distinctly underwhelming! We did use much less chilli than was in the recipe, as both of us have difficulties with chilli, but I assume that that is where most of the heat comes from, as the dish was only really lightly spicy. It was an interesting experience, especially with the addition of potatoes which made the dish a bit carb heavy! But hey obviously this is 1960s Cordon Bleu's idea of Biriyani.
Lamb Biriani (from Cordon Bleu Cookery Course)
2lb leg of lamb
4 green chillies (seeded)
1 clove garlic (crushed with salt)
2-3 sprays coriander or mint, leaves
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 carton (5fl oz) plain yoghourt
4 medium-sized onions (thinly sliced)
5 1/2 oz butter
3/4 pint water
1 dsp salt
1lb potatoes (boiled and quartered)
1/3 pint hot milk
1lb long grain Busmatti or Patna rice
1 1/2oz shredded almonds (unblanched)
2oz sultanas (washed)
Remove the meat from the bone and cut off some of the fat. Cut the meat into 2-inch squares. Chop chillies very finely, then mix with the garlic, coriander and spices and add the yoghourt. Add the diced meat to yoghourt mixture. Mix well and marinate for 1 hour.
Fry the onions in 4oz butter until brown. Remove from the pan, add the meat to the pan and fry for about 5 mins, turning well so that it does not stick to the pan. Add 3/4 pint water and 1 dessertspoon of salt, cover and cook gently.
When the meat is almost tender (about 45-50 mins), add the potatoes and more salt if necessary.
Leave the saffron to infuse in the hot milk for 10 mins. Boil the rice for 10 mins or until just barely cooked, then drain. When the meat is tender, remove it with its sauce, reduce if necessary, mix with half the onions and a quarter of the rice, moisten with 2-3 tbsp of the saffron milk. Lay this on the bottom of an ovenproof casserole together with the potatoes.
Cover the top with the remaining rice and sprinkle the rest of the saffron milk on top. Cover with a dampened muslin to keep rice moist. Put on a lid and continue cooking in the oven at 350F (180C) for 30 mins.
Meanwhile fry the almonds to a pale gold in the remaining butter, add the sultanas and fry them for a minute longer to plump them.
Serve the biryani with the rest of the onions sprinkled over it and the almonds and sultanas on top.