Biryani doesn't need to be as complicated as it looks. Here's a simple one-pot version that's full of flavour. Success depends on getting the right amount of liquid to cook the rice. Don't lift the lid too often or you will let out too much steam. If your biryani is too wet at the end of cooking, just leave it uncovered and heat gently to dry it out.
1 cup yoghurt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1kg lamb leg, cut into 5cm pieces
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cashew nuts
5 brown onions, finely sliced
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp salt
2 cups basmati rice
1 cup mixed quinoa
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups milk
a pinch of saffron
1/2 cup sultanas
coriander leaves and 1 cup coriander raita (see samosa recipe) to serve
1. Combine the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, chilli and lamb pieces and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
2. Heat oil in a large casserole dish over medium heat and fry the cashews until golden brown.
3. Remove cashews and set aside.
4. Fry the onions until golden brown. Remove onions and set aside.
5. Add the lamb to the oil and fry until browned, then return the onions, reserving 1/2 a cup for garnish, and add cinnamon quill, salt and 3 cups of water.
6. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until the lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.
7. Wash the rice and quinoa and cover with 5 cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl.
8. Microwave on high for 7 minutes, then remove and drain.
9. Stir the potatoes and the par-cooked rice and quinoa through the lamb and add the milk, saffron, sultanas and butter.
10. Cover tightly and cook on very low heat for 20 minutes.
11. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes before uncovering.
12. Scatter with fried onion, cashews and coriander leaves and serve with the coriander raita.
For a family feast serve this biryani with Adam's vegetable curry puffs (cheat's samosas).