This recipe is based on one I got from my father. Please treat the measurements as rough and adapt based on the size of your pan1.
- Lamb neck2, 500g, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Potato, 500g, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Onion, 1 medium, sliced thin
- Basmati rice, 450g
- Plain yoghurt, ~250g
- Garlic, 6 cloves, crushed
- Ginger, 1 inch, peeled and grated
- Cumin, 1 tablespoon
- Turmeric, 1 teaspoon
- Cardamom, 4 pods, gently crushed
- Cinnamon, 2 sticks
- Saffron, ~5 strands
- Coriander, a generous handful, roughly chopped
- Olive oil, 3 tablespoons
- Harissa, a squirt
- Lemon, ½, juiced
- Frozen peas, a handful
- Salt + pepper
- Baking paper
- Take a pan and add the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, 2 cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 saffron strands, coriander, olive oil, harissa, lemon juice, olive oil, salt + pepper then stir well to combine the ingredients.
- Add the meat and potatoes and stir well.
- Pop in the fridge to marinate (ideally the night before, or the morning of the day you want to cook).
- Fry the onion until caramelised and set aside.
- Take the pan out the fridge and slowly add water to the marinade, mixing as you go. Stop adding water when the marinade is almost level with the contents.
- Arrange the meat and potatoes so that the potatoes are at the bottom of the pan with the meat on top: a layer of potato topped with a layer of meat. Set aside.
- Rinse the rice well, drain, then add to a pan with 2 cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 saffron strands, turmeric and salt. Stir well.
- Add enough water to cover the rice then put a lid on.
- Bring the rice to the boil, then immediately lower the heat and simmer until the water has been absorbed, then remove from the heat. The rice will be predominantly uncooked — that’s fine.
- Use a large spoon to carefully place the rice on top of the marinade, then use a fork to evenly (and gently!) distribute: a layer of rice on top of the layer of meat.
- Top with the caramelised onion and handful of frozen peas.
- Cut a circular piece of baking paper, an inch larger than the pan, place on top, followed by the lid. Press down to form a seal.
- Cook on a low heat for 2 hours3 then serve like you might a cake.
- Pan size is important: you want a pan that will fit the ingredients comfortably (not too big, not too small). ↩
- You can use any meat you fancy. I’ve used this recipe with chicken thighs, lamb chops, etc. ↩
- When cooking this recipe, you want the potato to get a bit crispy on the bottom, without burning. I find cooking it on a low heat for a longer amount of time more fault tolerant. ↩