1 to 2 hours
From Saturday Kitchen
For the marinade
- 2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
- 430ml/15fl oz plain yoghurt, whisked
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- ¼ nutmeg, grated
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 lemon, juice only
For the biryani
- 1kg/2lb 4oz mutton from leg or shoulder, bone removed, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
- 500g/1lb 2oz basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in water for 20 minutes, then drained
- ½ lime, juice only
- ¼ tbsp salt
- 150g/5½oz ghee or vegetable oil
- 40g/1½oz raisins
- 60g/2¼oz walnut halves
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 5cm/2in piece of cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- seeds from 2 black cardamom pods
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp saffron strands, soaked in 120ml/4fl oz warm milk or water
- few drops rose water or kewra water
- 30g/1oz dried figs or apricots
- 30g/1oz dried cranberries
- 20g/¾oz fresh mint leaves
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, add the meat and stir to coat. Cover and put in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes, or if possible overnight.
Meanwhile, bring 2.5 litres/4½ pints of water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice, lime juice and salt and boil for 6 minutes, until the rice is two-thirds cooked. Drain the rice and spread it out on a tray to cool.
Heat 120g/4½oz of the ghee or vegetable oil in a wide, heavy-based casserole dish. Add the raisins and fry for 30 seconds, or until they puff up, then remove them and drain on kitchen paper. Add the walnuts and fry for 30 seconds, then remove them and drain on kitchen paper.
Add the green cardamom pods, cinnamon and bay to the casserole and fry for 30–60 seconds. Add the cumin and black cardamom seeds. Add the meat and marinade and cook for 10–12 minutes over a high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the coriander, garam masala and 250ml/9fl oz of water and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the meat is almost cooked and about 235ml/8¼fl oz of sauce remains in the pan. Add a little more water to make up the liquid if needed.
To assemble, spread an even layer of the rice over the cooked meat and sauce, sprinkle the saffron milk, rose water, fried raisins and walnuts, figs or apricots, cranberries and mint over the rice and dot with the remaining ghee.
Cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook over a medium–low heat for 12–15 minutes, turning the pan every 3–4 minutes to prevent it from catching, until the dish is hot and steaming and the rice and meat are cooked. Set aside for another 5 minutes, then open the pot and serve.