“Biryani is a big favourite, and what a wonderful recipe it is. It has the capacity to embrace leftovers – whether that’s meat or veg – and you can flex it to suit what you’ve got. I’ve suggested a weight of leftover meat, but feel free to bolster it with extra veggies to stretch it further if you’ve don’t have the amount listed here. I’m also using curry paste as an easy shortcut to big flavour, so hopefully that makes it super easy for you. Now, I’ve also given you a quick method for a crispy topping of nuts, herbs and spice – it’s not traditional by any means, but I’m having fun with it. See what’s in your cupboards and make it your own. ”
- 400 g basmati rice
- 250 g leftover cooked lamb
- 1 carrot
- ½ a small cauliflower
- 2 heaped teaspoons jalfrezi curry paste
- 1 cinnamon stick , optional
- 1 cardamom pods , optional
- 250 g natural yoghurt
- ½ x 400 g tin of chickpeas
- 100 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 pinch of saffron , optional
- Crispy topping
- olive oil
- 20 g cashew nuts
- 2 sprigs of fresh mint
- 1 fresh red chilli
- ¼ of a leek or onion
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds , optional
- Quick carrot raita
- 1 large carrot
- 250 g natural yoghurts
- ½ a lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the rice in a medium pan on a medium heat with a pinch of sea salt and 800ml of boiling water. Cover and cook for 8 minutes (it needs 12, but we want it a little under-cooked at this stage). Remove from the heat and run the rice under cold water to cool it down and stop the cooking process, then drain the rice and leave to one side.
- Chop the lamb into 2.5cm chunks. Wash the carrot and slice it into 1cm thick rounds. Cut or break the cauliflower into florets the same size as your lamb. Place it all in a sturdy roasting tray (roughly 25cm x 30cm) with the curry paste and cinnamon stick, if using. Crush the cardamom pods and add just the inner seeds to the tray, if using.
- Tip in the yoghurt, then use your clean hands to get in there and mix it all together well, making sure the lamb and veg are well coated, then spread it all evenly across the tray.
- Season the cool rice with sea salt and black pepper, then sprinkle it over the lamb and veg to cover. Drain and scatter over the chickpeas, pushing them into the rice.
- Warm the milk in a small pan or in a bowl in the microwave, then mix in the saffron (or you could use turmeric, see EASY SWAPS below). Spoon the flavoured milk randomly over the rice – this will give you contrast in colour and flavour as it cooks.
- Cover the tray tightly with a double layer of tin foil. Place over a medium heat on the hob for a couple of minutes to get the steam going, then transfer to the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until hot all the way through.
- Meanwhile, for the topping, place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with one teaspoon of olive oil. Crush and add the cashews, pick in the mint leaves, then finely slice and sprinkle in the chilli.
- Trim, finely slice and add the leek, followed by the mustard seeds, if using. Fry for just a few minutes, shaking regularly, until it’s all crisp and golden, then tip onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
- For the quick carrot raita, wash and coarsely grate the carrot then, in a bowl, mix with a pinch of salt and the yoghurt. Squeeze in lemon juice to taste, then finish with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- Get your biryani out of the oven, remove the foil and scatter over the crispy topping, then serve with the quick raita on the side. We like ours with a big lemon-dressed green salad and, of course, a stack of poppadoms.
– When it comes to the leftovers, use what you’ve got. I’m going for lamb here, but you could use cooked chicken or beef, or even go veggie.
– On the veg front, broccoli, courgettes, potato, squash or even beets would be delicious here instead of the cauliflower, basically anything that roasts well.
– Use any curry paste you can get your hands on, or you could swap in 2 teaspoons of curry powder.
– Tinned chickpeas are a great store cupboard staple and work really well in this recipe. If you’ve got the jarred variety they’re even better.
– Saffron is expensive and if you don’t have it, don’t worry – use a pinch of turmeric instead, or even a squirt of tomato paste and a pinch of spice.
– For the topping, I’m using leeks for my missus, but of course use onions if you’ve got them, which is more traditional. You could use peanuts in place of cashews.
– On the raita, feel free to use cucumber, beetroot or radish in place of carrots, or a mixture.
Source: Jamie Oliver