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Kheema Biryani (Saffron Rice With Ground Lamb)

Cuisine: Indian
Courses: Dressings
Serves: 6 people

Recipe Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon 1.3mlSaffron threads
3 tablespoons 45mlBoiling water
2 cups 320g / 11ozImported basumati rice
  OR other uncooked long grain white rice
2 teaspoons 10mlSalt
1/2 cup 118mlGhee
1/2 cup 31g / 1.1ozOnions - finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon 1.3mlCumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon 2.5mlGround cumin
1/2 teaspoon 2.5mlTurmeric
1 lb 454g / 16ozLean ground lamb
1/4 cup 36g / 1.3ozFresh coriander - finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon 2.5mlFennel seeds
1 1/2 cups 355mlChicken stock

Recipe Instructions

Pour the rice in to a sieve or colander set in a large pot of cold water, and rub the grains lightly between your fingers to remove all surface starch. Changing the water 4 or 5 times, wash the rice until the water remains absolutely clear. Drain the rice thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Drop the saffron threads into a small bowl or cup, pour in the boiling water and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, pour in the rice in a slow, thin stream, add 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook briskly, uncovered, over moderate heat for l0 minutes. Strain the rice in a sieve or colander and set it aside.

In a heavy 10- to l2-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the glee over high heat until a drop of water flicked into it splutters instantly. Add the onions, cumin seeds and the remaining teaspoon of salt and, stirring constantly, fry the mixture for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onions are soft and transparent but not brown. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly. Add the ground cumin and turmeric, stir for 1 minute longer, then add the lamb. Turning and mashing it frequently with the back of the spoon to break up any lumps, fry the lamb for about 10 minutes, until all traces of pink disappear. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh coriander.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of glee in a heavy 3- to 4-quart casserole equipped with a tightly fitting lid. Stir in the fennel seeds and rice and, when they are evenly coated with the glee, remove the casserole from the heat. Ladle about two thirds of the rice mixture into a bowl and spread the remaining rice evenly over the bottom of the casserole. Pour in about half of the saffron and its soaking liquid and add half the lamb mixture.

Spread about half of the reserved rice over the lamb, add the remaining meat and then add the remaining rice mixture. Dribble the remaining saffron and soaking liquid evenly over the top. Add the chicken stock, pouring it down the side of the casserole, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover the casserole with a sheet of foil, crimping the edges to hold it firmly in place. Set the lid securely on top of the foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the ricc is tender and has absorbed all the liquid in the casserole.

Fluff the rice with a fork and serve the biryani directly from the casserole, or mound it in a heated platter or bowl.

Time Life Books: The Cooking of India


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