Tim Dover, from The Roost restaurant in Bridge of Earn, cooks up a biriyani brimming with spice.
There is one thing this time of year that always sings out to me, Scottish lamb. Most people tend to go for more obvious cuts like cutlets or leg but the cut I enjoy best for flavour is lamb neck.
The neck meat is lean and packed with flavour and it can be pan fried, oven roasted or in the case of my recipe below, braised and served as a biriyani. The flavour in the lamb neck is bold enough not to be lost with the numerous spices added and really compliments the dish.
Biriyanis are traditionally grand casseroles with the rice layered over the cooked meat. This can be prepared in advance and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
The recipe is very straight forward and once you have made this yourself, I bet you won’t be in a rush to order take away again as this dish is on a different level.
Chef’s Tip – weigh out each ingredient before you start cooking, that way you have everything to hand and you won’t forget to add anything!
- 425g long grain rice
- 2l water
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 2 tbsp warm milk
- 3 onions (peeled)
- 2 tbsp garlic puree
- 3 tbsp ginger puree
- 80g slithered almonds
- 12 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp sultanas
- 800g Fresh lamb neck (diced into large chunks)
- 250ml natural yoghurt
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 30g unsalted butter
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Wash the rice in several changes of water, drain, place into a large bowl and cover with 2 litres of water, 1 tablespoon of salt and stir. Allow to soak for 4 hours.
- Put the saffron threads and milk into a small pot, heat till just boiling. Take off the heat, set aside to cool for 3 hours. Cut 2 of the onions in half and slice into fine half rings. Set aside.
- Chop remaining onion coarsely, add garlic and ginger purees, 2 tablespoons almonds and 3 tablespoons of water. Add all this to an electric blender, and blend to a smooth paste.
- Put 6 tablespoons of the oil into a large, based pot, set over a medium high heat. When hot, add your halved onion rings. Stir-fry until brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Put the sultanas in the same oil. Remove them as soon as they go plump (which will be relatively quick) remove with a slotted spoon and cool on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Put the almonds into the oil and stir-fry till golden following the same process as before.
- Now get the pan sizzling hot, add the diced lamb and brown on all sides. As each batch gets done put in a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining 6 tablespoons of oil to the pot, set on a medium high heat.
- When hot, add the paste you blended, stirring all the time until golden in colour. If it starts to stick, add a little water.
- Add your browned meat plus any juices to this then the yoghurt and stir. Then add 1 ¼ teaspoon of salt and 150ml water, bring to a simmer, stir, cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes.
- While the meat is cooking put the cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, cumin, coriander seeds and nutmeg into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
- After the meat has cooked for 30 minutes add all the ground spices and the cayenne pepper, stir, pop the lid back on and cook for a further 30 mins.
- After this, remove the lid, raise the heat to medium and cook stirring gently until you have a thick sauce.
- Take off the heat and skim off as much of the grease as possible. The meat should be nice and tender.
- Spread the meat and sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Cover and keep warm.
- Preheat your oven to 170C/150C Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3 and bring 6 pints of water to the boil in a large pot. Add the remaining salt.
- Drain the soaked rice from earlier and pour this into the boiling water. Bring to the boil again and boil rapidly for 6 minutes, drain.
- Pour the rice over the top of the meat piling it up into the shape of a hill. Make a small hole in the top of this then drizzle the saffron milk around and top with the browned onions.
- Lay the pieces of butter on top of this, cover with tinfoil, then place a lid on top.
Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour then serve. If you are going to serve and eat this dish the day after, remove the lid, tinfoil and allow to cool before refrigerating.
- When serving, top with the toasted almonds and sultanas.