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Recipe of the day: Lamb biryani bake

Lamb biryani bake
Lamb biryani bake

This recipe serves 4.

What you'll need:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

450g pack lamb leg steaks, cut into bite-sized pieces

8 whole green cardamom pods

5 cloves

2 tsp cumin seeds

3cm cinnamon stick

3 onions, finely sliced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp tomato puree

3 tbsp 0% fat natural yogurt, plus extra to serve

1 chicken stock cube, made with 650ml water

300g basmati rice

generous pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp warm water (optional)

fresh coriander or mint, to serve

flaked almonds, to serve


Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large, heavy-based, lidded frying pan over a high heat. Once very hot, add the lamb in a single layer; sear on all sides. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Season and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add remaining oil and the whole spices, reserving 3 cardamom pods. When they start to pop, add the onions, a pinch of salt and a splash of water. Fry for 15-20 minutes until softened.

Put half the mix into a dish and set aside. Add the garlic and ginger to the remaining onions, stir well and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground spices, cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the lamb. Stir in the tomato puree and yogurt, then pour in 250ml of the stock; bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 hr, adding a splash of water if it looks dry. It's ready when the lamb falls apart when pressed with a spoon and the sauce is very thick.

Before the lamb is ready, put the rice in a large, lidded pan with remaining stock, cardamom pods and some salt. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, remove and rest for 5 minutes with the lid on. Uncover and fluff gently with a fork.

Cover the base of a freezer-safe casserole with a third of the rice, then half the lamb, half the reserved onions and half of the saffron water, if using. Repeat with more rice and remaining lamb. Finish with the remaining rice, onions and saffron water. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve topped with flaked almonds, fresh coriander or mint and yogurt.

If freezing, set aside the assembled but unbaked dish to cool. Wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight. Cook as per step 6, then serve.

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