Meat With Saffron Rice
225 g/8 oz basmati rice
6 tablespoons ghee or butter
5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cm/2 inch cube of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
1-2 small fresh red chillies, shredded (optional)
450g/1 lb lean leg of lamb or beef, cubed
125 g/4 oz Greek-style yogurt
500 ml/16 fl oz fragrant stock
25-30 saffron strands
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 teaspoons garam masala
4-5 green cardamoms
4-5 bay leaves
2-3 star anise pods
3-4 pieces of cassia bark
1 Ĺ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Ĺ teaspoon fennel seeds
Ĺ teaspoon black cumin seeds
Ĺ teaspoon turmeric
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Rinse the rice, then soak for 10 minutes.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the ghee in a wok or karahi, then carry out the initial fry with the spices, garlic, ginger, onion and chilli.
3. Add the meat and stir-fry for about 5-6 minutes to seal it. Add the yogurt and take the pan off the heat.
4. In a separate pan, bring the stock to the boil. Heat the remaining ghee in a lidded casserole dish of at least 3.4 litres/6 pints capacity. Drain the rice and add to the casserole, with the saffron. Stir until sizzling, then add the boiling stock. Put the lid on and leave the casserole over high heat for 3 minutes.
5. Stir in the meat mixture, then put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven.
6. After 25 minutes, gently (so as not to break the rice grains) fork around the biriani to aerate it and allow the steam to escape.
7. Add the coriander, garam masala and salt to taste. If the dish looks dry, add a little stock or water, then return it to the oven for a further 25 minutes.
8. Fork through the rice again, and test whether the meat is tender. It might need a further 10-20 minutes in the oven, so add more water if necessary. Serve hot.