Thursday, 15 September 2011

Recipe - Mutton Biryani

When I was 6, I had a brief stint of living in America. My little brother was born there. For some reason, my mother thought it would be necessary for she and I to go there without my dad for my little brother to be born. To this day, I have no idea why. My parents hadn't fallen out - my dad took us to the airport and they spoke every day. I think he even had plans to come out to America. What a mystery. I suppose I could ask but at this moment, it seems like a lot of effort.

Anyway, we stayed with a family friend for a short while when we were out there and they came a-visitin' this week. That meant it was time for a Bengali dinner party. You know, those things which were the bane of my teenage years (apart from the few where me and a boy who I thought was really cool because he played guitar decided we'd try kissing) which always served food I hate? Well, although I still think boys who play guitar are really cool, I've changed my mind about hating biryani thanks to Dos Hermanos. Well done them. Incidentally, guitar-boy was half-Welsh, half-Bengali just as Dos Hermanos are.
This is the recipe I followed. Adjustments I made:
I used 2 chillis with the seeds left in - mother insisted that we couldn't make it 'jhal like an Indian biryani'.
I cooked the mutton for 2 hours before the layering as it's much tougher than lamb. I also added potatoes - just sprinkled a little salt on them then added them into the pan with the mutton 45 minutes from the end of the mutton cooking time.
I did away with colouring half of the rice. Also, I fried a little onion and the whole spices (cardamom, cloves etc) for two minutes before adding the rice and cooking water to bring the flavours out.
I fried the onions separately but instead of including them in the layering, I garnished the top with them at the end. This was mainly because I used less chilli - I didn't think the dish would be spicy enough to balance out the almost-treacliness of the onions surrounding it.
I promise to make something involving neither lamb or caramelised onions soon.

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