I'm new to Indian food. It's only recently that I started liking this highly seasoned cuisine. I finally got an Indian cookbook after making and loving Chicken Kerala a few months ago. The Lamb Biryani in the book appealed to me right away but I substituted seitan for the lamb because I wanted a meatless dish. I made seitan by mixing vital wheat gluten with water, then cooking the cubed/sliced seitan in water seasoned with soy sauce and chopped onion. For the vegetables I steamed green beans, carrots (purple and regular orange), and skinned baby lima beans. This dish is very yummy and healthy too.
2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 1½ inch cubes
3-inch piece of ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons garam masala*
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
4 green chillis, finely chopped
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped mint leaves
2 teaspoons salt
2½ cups basmati rice
4 onions, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup light olive oil
2 ounces melted butter or ghee
1 cup plain thick yogurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon saffron strands, soaked in ½ cup hot milk
steamed vegetables for topping: sliced carrots, green beans cut into half inch pieces, green peas, cauliflower
- Mix the lamb cubes in a bowl with the ginger, garlic, garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric, green chilli, coriander, mint, and salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Wash the rice in a sieve under cold, running water until the water runs clear. Set aside.
- Put the sliced onion in a sieve, sprinkle with the salt and leave for 10 minutes to drain of any liquid that oozes out. Rinse and pat dry.
- Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain onions, reserve the oil and butter.
- Transfer the lamb and marinade into a casserole and add the browned onion, 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil and butter, and the yogurt, and cook on low heat, covered, for 40 minutes, or until lamb is tender.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a separate saucepan, boil enough water to cover rice. Add the rice to the pan. Return the water to the boil, cook the rice for 5 minutes, then drain well and transfer into a bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the oil and butter, the lemon juice, and a little salt and gently mix. Spread the rice evenly over the meat. Spoon the saffron milk over the rice.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Serve topped with salted steamed vegetables.
from my cookbook THE FOOD OF INDIA a journey for food lovers:
Garam Masala means "warming spice mix". It can be a mixture of whole or ground spices. Recipes are numerous but they are all aromatic, rather than "hot" mixes.
makes 3 tablespoons
8 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves, torn into small pieces
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 two-inch cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon cloves
- Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods. Put all the ingredients in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Store into a small airtight container until needed.