Biryani is a rice-based dish eaten in the Middle East and South Asia that consists of meat, vegetables, spices and yogurt.
I first tried it in a Persian restaurant called Byblos in Montreal when I was on holiday a few weeks back. When I got back to Vancouver I found myself craving it and decided to try and make it. I used lean, ground lamb instead of beef which added an extra richness to the dish. I sauteed the lamb with a heady mix of cumin, paprika, a cinnamon stick and ground chili to reduce its 'lambiness'.
The Biryani I had at Byblos was much drier than my version but I preferred the extra moisture of my tomato-based sauce. To top the dish off I added fresh lemon juice, parsley and lots of fresh mint; mint being one of my favourite herbs. This addition balanced the rich flavour of lamb perfectly.
I will be adding this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Pille of the blog Nami Nami.
To finish off the meal and cleanse our palates, I used the rest of the mint leaves to make a delicious mint tea by bruising the leaves and then putting them in a cup and adding hot water and a little wild honey.
Lamb Biryani Recipe
500 gms of lean ground lamb
1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of good quality canned tomatoes, chopped
A bunch of green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 tsp of Paprika
1 1/2 tsp of Cumin
1/2 tsp of Chili powder
1 Cinnamon stick
A handful of fresh mint & parsley
Juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 1/2 cups of Basmati rice
Scant 3 cups of water
2 tbs of olive oil
- Cook the Basmati with scant 3 cups of water in a rice cooker or on the stove about 1/2 hour before you prepare the rest of the dish. Once the rice is ready, put it straight in the fridge so that it dries out. Put it in the fridge without a cover to quicken the drying/cooling process.
- Saute the onion in a medium saucepan over a moderate heat until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for about a minute.
- Add the spices including the Cinnamon stick and fry for about 3 minutes to release the oils. Stir well.
- Add the ground lamb and break it up stirring well to coat it in the spices. Add the salt. Lower the heat slightly and cook lamb for about 7 minutes or until browned.
- Add the chopped canned tomatoes and about 300ml of the sauce from the can. Stir well and then add the beans.
- Cover and simmer on a low heat for about 25 minutes.
- The next step is to pour the lamb mixture into a pot or bowl containing the rice and mix thoroughly to coat it.
- Have the lemon juice ready to stir through (to taste) the rice and lamb mixture.
- Next, finely chop the parsley and mint and sprinkle over the Biryani when you are ready to serve.