January 11, 2011

Lamb Pilaf

This Pilaf is pretty easy to make, as it is all cooked in one pot. It uses very less spices and the taste is not compromised. The house will be filled with the aroma as it cooks. 

What I used: Serves 4-6
3 cups boneless lamb cut into chunks
3 cups basmati rice
5 cups boiling hot water
Whole garam masala (1 inch cinnamon, 4 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp fennel seeds)
2tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp coarsely chopped mint (fresh/dry)
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Salt to taste

Masala paste: 1 inch cinnamon, 4 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 6-8 sticks of fresh cilantro, 15 small green hot chilies (Use more or less, as you choose), ½ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp black pepper


First, soak the raw rice in cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, add ghee into a large, thick bottom cooker or quart pan. Over medium-high heat, add the whole garam masala, and fennel seeds. Stir in the mint and onions and fry to a golden brown.  
  
Add the ginger garlic paste, and lamb chunks. Cook on medium-high till they are soft and brown on the outside. About 5-7 minutes. On another stove, get 5 cups of water to a boil.

While the lamb cooks, grind all the masala ingredients to a fine paste.  Add just a little water if needed. Stir the paste into the cooking lamb and onion mixture. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook covered now for 10-12 minutes.

Add in 5 cups of boiling water (lesser if you like your pilaf flaky, more if you like it soft and mushy) and 1 cup of coconut milk, bring to a boil. Take out a lamb chunk and test it. Cut through the middle, if it has cooked 75 percent, and the outer surface is flaky, we are good.

Now drain the soaked rice and add it into the bubbling mixture slowly. Let it simmer on high for 3 minutes.
 
Add in the lime juice, then, cover the simmering mixture, and cook on low heat for the next 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, very gently. All the liquid will evaporate. Test to see if the rice is cooked. If it is watery, let it stay on low heat for a few more minutes. 

Tip: You may use a damp towel to seal he edges of the lid, so no steam escapes, that way the pilaf cooks well.

The lamb should peel easily, and the rice should be soft and greasy. Turn off the heat. Smear the top of the pilaf with 1tsp ghee just before it is served. Serve hot with some raw onion and lime slices. Enjoy!