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Lamb Biryani

450g / 1 lb boned tender lamb [with a little fat] cut into 4 cm / 1.5" pieces
2 medium onions, skinned and roughly chopped
5 ml / 1 level tsp salt
900 ml / 1.5 pints water
1 large onion skinned and chopped
1 garlic clove, skinned
2.5 cm / 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
450g / 1 lb basmati rice
45 ml / 3 level tbsp Ghee / clarified butter / butter
2 medium onions, skinned; chop 1 finely, slice the other
2.5 cm / 1 inch stick cinammon
1 bay leaf
1 black cardamom (use 3 green if you can't find the black)
2 green cardamom
2.5 ms / 0.5 level tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
5 ml / 1 tsp rose or kewra water
pinch saffron
15 ml / 1 Tbsp warm water water

Wash meat well under a cold tap. Place the meat, chopped medium
onions, salt and water in the heavy-based saucepan. Bring it to
the boil, and remove any scum that may form on top. Cover, reduce
heat and allow to sommer rapidly for 1 - 1.25 hours until the meat
is almost tender. Strain through a sieve, reserve the stock and the
meat and onion pulp separately. (You could do this in a pressure
cooker for 25 minutes after the first whistle.)

In a blender or food processor grind the chopped large onion,
garlic and ginger. Put the rice in a sieve and wash throughly
under a running cold tap until the water runs clear. Soak in plenty
of cold water for 30 minutes. Heat 30 ml [2 level tbsp] ghee in a
large heavy-based saucepan, add the roughly chopped onion, and
stir fry for 3-5 minutes to a golden brown. Add the ground onion
mixture and all the whole spices. Stirring frequently fry the
mixture for 4-5 minutes to a pale golden color, then add the
strained meat and onion. Increase heat slightly and stirring
continuously, fry the mixture for 5-10 minutes to a deep golden
brown color. THe meat should brown well; if it tends to stick to
the bottom of the pan add about 30 ml [2 Tbsp] of water at a time
to prevent this.

Drain the rice in a sieve and let it stand for a minute or two. Add
to meat and onion mixture and continue frying for another few
minutes so that the rice begins to turn a plae golden color.
Leave the rice and meat in the pan, carefully pour in the meat
stock and top it up with enough water to cover the rice by 2.5 cm
[1 inch]. Cover the pan with a close fitting lid, reduce heat and
allow to cook for about 20 minutes until both the rice and meat
are almost tender. Stand well back to avoid the steam, remove the
lid and sprinkle the rose or kewara water on top. Replace lid
quickly and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

In the meantime infuse the saffron in the warm water. Once again
remove the lid, pour in the infused saffron water and cover.
Continue cooking the rice for another 3-4 minutes until it is
tender and the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and let
the rice stand, covered, for a few minutes. Remove the lid and
gently fork the rice. This will also help to distribute the
saffron color.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining ghee in a small frying pan, add
finely sliced onion, and fry quickly to a crips golden brown. Serve
the Biryani hot with the crisply fried onion sprinkled on top.

Serving suggestion: serve accompanied only by plain yogurt.

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