Lamb Biriyani

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A royal festive dish from the days of the Moghuls of India

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr

Serves: 4


1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 pound boneless lamb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, preferably basmati
2 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped cashews


In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the garlic, cayenne, cumin, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Stir in the lamb.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cardamom, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, rice, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the lamb mixture to the pan. Stir in the water and raisins. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the rice and lamb are almost done, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, until the rice and lamb are just done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cashews.

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