So National Curry Week has finished for another year and one of the highpoint’s for us was receiving this recipe from Chef Cyrus Todiwala, OBE, DL. So if you want to impress your mates with a great dish (rule of six and all that permitting) here it is….

The recipe, Khara Gos Ni Biryani – Chef Todiwala’s take on a lamb biryani – combines British lamb leg with a mix of spices, tomato, potato and rice – and is one of the chef’s go-to dishes to impress, even when time is limited.

Using the best quality, seasonal British lamb is something celebrated by industry bodies Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), England’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, who have come together to jointly provide consumers with the knowledge that when they are cooking with lamb, they choose to make it with locally produced meat of the highest quality standards.

Cyrus said: “This has to be one of my favourite lamb preparations for its simplicity and flavour. Its simplicity is perhaps what gives it the character and makes it a base dish that can be used in several other variations. For example, instead of potatoes you could add fried pieces of okra, squash or pumpkin. You can finish it with or without the rice and that is what makes it a unique dish that I myself grew up on.

“I always use British lamb when preparing this dish in the restaurant or at home. We’re lucky to have top quality producers supplying lamb with flavours that elevate the dish and complement the spices of India.”

Cyrus’s top tips for the dish include:

  • Cutting the fat and sinew off before cooking the lamb – you can ask your butcher or supermarket meat counter to do this for you
  • For a traditional flavour, first boil your potatoes but finish them off by deep frying
  • Serve with the perfect accompaniments of raita and some red onion salad

Lesley Cameron, Director of Marketing and Communications for Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Chef Todiwala for National Curry Week, and he’s created a dish that is bound to be a real winner in households during the week and into the winter months.

“In the UK, we have access to some of the finest red meat, such as British lamb which is naturally reared on trusted farms to the highest quality standards. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local butcher shop or supermarket meat counter to find out more about where your lamb is coming from.”

Chef Cyrus Todiwala, OBE, DL
Chef Cyrus Todiwala, OBE, DL

Cyrus Todiwala’s Khara Gos Ni Biryani recipe

Ingredients – 5 portions

Boneless lamb leg – 500g, sinew, fat and gristle removed and cut into 1 inch pieces (Get your butcher to cut some lamb bones for you and add these in.)

Oil – 4 tablespoons

Cinnamon stick – 1 x 2-inch piece

Cardamom, green – 3-4 flattened, or just gently crushed

Whole cloves – 3-4

Whole dried red chillies – 4-5 large, broken into pieces

Onions – 2 medium sized, chopped

Cumin powder  – 1 tablespoon

Coriander powder – 1½ tablespoons

Turmeric powder – 1 level teaspoon

Ginger, garlic paste – 1½ tablespoons (To make this take roughly 4 cloves of garlic and a 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled, and mix them together as finely as you can in a mortar to form a paste)

Fresh tomatoes – 2-3 chopped

Potatoes  – 2 large, cut into large cubes, or into 4 lengthways (We would generally boil them first in their jackets, then cut them into chunks and fry them. You can shallow fry them and keep them ready to be added when assembling the biryani.)

Salt To taste

Fresh coriander  – 2-3 tablespoons, chopped

Sea salt – To your taste, crushed and dissolved in some cold water and kept aside

Basmati rice – 500g, washed and soaked in water

Saffron strands – A good pinch added to three tablespoons water 

Method

1.       Clean and cut the lamb, unless the butcher is doing it for you, or you are buying pre-cut lamb. Try not to cut the cubes very large, but rather a 1-inch dice will be sufficient.

2.       Add the oil to a heavy casserole pan and heat until the oil becomes hazy. Add all the whole spices as well as the red chillies.

3.       As soon as you see the spices swell, puff and change colour add the onions and sauté until they get a good brown colour.

4.       Add the lamb and seal well, turning occasionally so that it browns well.

5.       When the liquid has almost dried up, mix the three remaining spice powders in a little water to form a thin slurry and add to the pan, along with the ginger garlic paste, stir well and continue cooking.

6.       Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil until just done and then deep-fry them, as we Parsees like to do.

7.       When the lamb and the masala is well sautéed add salt and enough water or stock to just about cover the lamb, cover the pot with a tight lid and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Check from time to time also ensuring that the sides of the pot are kept clean.

When the lamb is nearly half done, season the rice and cook with a few bay leaves and salt to taste for 8-10 minutes then drain immediately. As soon as the lamb is half done add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking then add the potatoes, (or if deep fried then add when assembling the biryani).

8.       When the lamb is cooked, check for seasoning again. Stir in the coriander.

9.       Preheat your oven to between 120-130°C, Fan, Gas Mark 1-2.

10.      Take a clean casserole pot that can hold all the layers and with a good lid so that it can be placed in the oven. Place some rice at the bottom of the pot and then add a layer with half the lamb on top.  Spread well.

11.      Add some of the potatoes and then some rice.  Repeat the layers, with some potatoes, finishing with the remaining rice.  Spread evenly.

12.      Pour the saffron water all over the top and if you like, add a few small dollops of butter on top.

13.      Cover the pot and place it in the middle shelf of your oven.

Bake for at least 50-60 minutes and then turn the oven off leaving the pot in the oven.

14.      Meanwhile, you can prepare the accompaniment whilst the rice is in the oven and this can be a nice raita and some red onion salad.  Serve the lamb with the accompaniments.

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the editor

Editor of Curry Culture and lover of IPA. I wanted to create something that highlighted the best of the industry to both those who work in it and the public who love it so much. Curry Culture is the result so I hope you enjoy it.

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