Our quick version of this usually labor-intensive Indian rice dish is intricately spiced and irresistibly delicious. Don't let the long ingredient list put you off; almost everything is a pantry staple. Indian cooks leave the whole cloves and pieces of cinnamon in when serving, but of course they don't eat them. Fish these spices out before serving if you prefer.
WINE RECOMMENDATION:
The spices here immediately indicate a zinfandel from Napa or Sonoma, classic examples of which are redolent of the very same spices. The full body of these wines will match the intensity of the biryani nicely.

ingredients

  • 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, divided
  • 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 cashew nuts

directions

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.

VARIATION:

Other nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, can easily stand in for the cashews.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.

RecID 1341

nutrition information per serving

630 calories; 20g total fat; 98mg cholesterol; 1121mg sodium; 79g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 34g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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