A pilaf is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. But this dish adds in boneless lamb, dried nuts, almonds, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and rose essence — it will remind you of someplace exotic you’d like to travel, far, far away.
We cook the lamb first, and them mix it with rice that’s been soaked in plain water and then cooked in lamb broth. The process takes a bit long but is worth waiting for!
Cooking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Ingredients for Cooking the Lamb
— 500g boneless lamb, medium pieces
— 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
— 1 cup chopped mint leaves
— 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
— 1 tbsp lemon juice
— 2-3 bay leaves
— 2 whole black cardamoms and 3 whole green cardamoms
— 1/2 tsp fennel powder
— 1/2 tsp clove powder
— 1/2 tsp cumin powder
— 1 inch cinnamon stick
— 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
— Red chilli powder and salt to taste
— 2 cups water
— 1 tbsp butter
— 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
Ingredients for the Rice
— 1 cup basmati rice (long grain) that’s been soaked in water for 1 hour
— 1/2 cup mixed roasted dried nuts (almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, raisins, others of your choosing)
— 1/4 tsp rose water or rose essence
Cooking the Lamb
1) Heat oil and butter in a deep pan and add bay leaves, whole black cardamom, whole green cardamom and cinnamon stick. Next, add ginger garlic paste and sauté till it’s golden brown.
2) Then add lamb pieces and cook for 10 minutes. Next add fennel powder, clove powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red chilli powder and salt to taste. Sauté all together.
3) Follow with mint leaves, cilantro leaves and lemon juice, then add 2 cups of water and cover. Keep the flame low and cook until the lamb is very well cooked — about 45 minutes.
4) Once cooked, strain out broth from the lamb, mint and cilantro leaves and keep aside. We will use this broth for cooking the rice.
Making the Rice
1) Turn the flame on medium, and in a separate deep pan add lamb pieces. Next layer it with soaked rice on top (drain the water of rice used for soaking).
2) Follow with the mixed roasted dried nuts and lamb broth. The broth should be two cups, if the broth has dried up you can add some extra water. The idea is to cook the rice in two cups of water (the ratio is 1 cup basmati rice is to 2 cups of water).
3) Now add rose essence as well.
4) Cover the lid fully, and let the rice cook with lamb broth and all the wonderful spices for 15 minutes on low flame. You can check when the rice is fully cooked. Then let the dish cool down, still covered, for 10 minutes so that the exotic flavours are all intact.
5) Finally, serve it with your flavoured yoghurt of your choice.
Riccha Arora runs the Facebook page Sassy Kitchen —facebook.com/arorassassykitchen