Monthly Archives: April 2015

Slow Roast Black Masala Lamb Biryani

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Serves: 4

Introduction:

We’ve been threatening to post non “BIR” recipes for a while, and here is our first one.

Black Masala Lamb Biryani

Black Masala Lamb Biryani

This biryani recipe is most definitely not quick, but is worth it, we promise you. The recipe makes use of the Black Masala or Kaala Masala mix powder, you can find the recipe here: https://thecurrybible.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/black-masala-mix-powder/ We’ve chosen to use boned and rolled lamb shoulder, but there’s no reason you couldn’t leave the bone in, or choose to use lamb leg instead.

This recipe is made up of two stages. The first stage is the marinade and slow roast of the lamb, the second stage is putting all of the ingredients together as a biryani. Enjoy.

Stage 1

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Black Masala Mix Powder
  • 3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 750 gm Boned and rolled lamb shoulder.
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely sliced.
  • 1/2 Onion, finely sliced.
  • 1 Lemon.
  • 150 ml cold water.

Method:

Firstly, you need to marinade the lamb. Add the lamb shoulder to a clean bowl, add the finely sliced garlic cloves, oil, juice of half the lemon and the black masala mix powder, massage it all over the meat, inside and out. Now cover the bowl with cling film and leave for at least two hours, preferably over night.

Lamb Shoulder marinading

Lamb Shoulder marinade

Once the meat has had time to marinade take a flame-proof casserole dish and put it on a medium heat, also turn the oven on to 160c, 140c fan. Using a spoon take about 2 tbsp. of the spiced marinade oil and add it to the pan. Add the finely sliced onion and brown off in the spiced oil.

Caramelizing onions

Caramelizing the onions

Once the onions have begun to caramelise remove them from the casserole dish to a bowl. Now add the lamb and the rest of the contents of the marinading bowl. Brown the lamb all over, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the onions back to the dish, both halves of the lemon and add the water to deglaze the pan. Using a wooden spoon scrape up and brown bits from the bottom of the dish. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and pop in the oven for four hours, or until the meat is beginning to fall apart.

Lamb shoulder ready to go in the oven

Lamb shoulder ready to go in the oven

Stage 2

 Ingredients:

  • Cooked lamb from stage 1.
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil.
  • 240 gms Basmati Rice, washed and drained.
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger, grated.
  • 1 tsp. Cumin powder.
  • 1 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. Curry powder.
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili powder.
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder.
  • 3 tbsp. Sliced Almonds.
  • 6 Cardamom pods.
  • 2 Cloves.
  • 1 bunch of Spring Onions, sliced.
  • 1 bunch of Coriander, finely chopped.
  • 300 ml cold water

Method:

Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the flameproof casserole dish to a clean bowl, using a slotted spoon, fish out the sliced onions and garlic, discard the lemon pieces. Cut any butcher’s string holding the lamb together and using clean hands, simply tear the meat in to bite sized chunks. Try you’re very best not to just stand there eating it all with your hands, remember, you’re cooking a biryani!

Pour away all but about two table spoons of the liquid from the casserole dish, add the vegetable oil, and pop it on the hob on a medium heat. Add the spring onions and ginger, and stir for a few minutes until the onions are softened and the ginger is fragrant. Now add the spice powders, cloves and cardamom pods. Stir thoroughly for a minute or two, then add the rice and the sliced almonds. Stir well and ensure all of the rice is coated with the spiced oil. Now add the ingredients from stage 1, the lamb pieces, garlic and sliced onions. Fold everything through carefully, add the water, then pop the casserole dish lid on and pop it back in the oven for a further 45 minutes or so.

Check the casserole after 45 minutes and rice should have steamed to perfection. Stir through the chopped coriander and serve. Biryani’s are often served with another curry as an accompaniment, we chose to serve ours with a Vegetable Bhuna.

Biryani and Vegetable Bhuna

Biryani and Vegetable Bhuna

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Black Masala Mix Powder

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Introduction:

Black masala is sometimes referred to as Kaala Masala and is a blend of spices from the Maharashtra region of India. It’s referred to as Black Masala as the spices are roasted before grinding, which darkens them signifcantly, however thy’re still not black, more a dark brown.

Ingredients:

  • 2 inch piece of Cassia bark.
  • 2 tbsp. Cumin seeds.
  • 1 tbsp. Fennel seeds.
  • 1 tbsp.  Caraway seeds.
  • 1 Star Anise.
  • 2 Cloves.
  • 2 tbsp. uncooked Basmati rice.
  • 1/2 tsp. Asafoetida.
  • 1 tbsp. Sesame seeds.
  • About 6 Black Peppercorns.
  • 1 tbsp. Salt.

Method:

Black Masala Ingredients

Black Masala Ingredients

Quite simply add all of the ingredients to a small, well seasoned pan and slowly warm through, we used a tried and trusted cast iron frying pan. As the spices roast they will beging to darken and release a wonderful aroma.

Black Masala Ingredients Roasting

Black Masala Ingredients Roasting

After around 15 minutes on a medium heat the spices will have taken on a deep rich hue, at this point take the pan off the heat and allow everything to cool down.

Black Masala Ingredients Roasted

Black Masala Ingredients Roasted

This cooling process is important, especially if you’re going to use an electric spice grinder. Grinding warm spices will cause condensation inside the spice grinder and make everything go clammy and unpleasant. Once the spices have cooled grind them up, you can use a pestle and mortar if you wish, or an electric spice ginder. Blitz it all to a fine powder then store it in a clean, air tight jar away from sunlight.

Black Masala Mix Powder

Black Masala Mix Powder

Top Tip: Knives

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You need sharp knives, it’s as simple as that. Blunt knives are dangerous as you need to apply more pressure, that equates to more chance of slipping and cutting yourself. This doesn’t mean your knives need to be expensive, cheap knives can be kept very sharp too, but they’ll just need a little more looking after than a high quality knife.

Sharpening knives is relatively easy, and made that much easier by doing it regularly. Our advice is to purchase a wet stone, sometimes called a sharpening stone, like the ones found here: https://www.steamer.co.uk/atoz/a_to_z_sharpening_stones You basically soak the stone in water, for a given amount of time, then scrape the blade back and forth at a constant angle. This very gradually shapes the blade, removes burrs and polishes the edge. You could always use a “grind” sharpener, the type with a V shape groove you drag the blade through, however these can often damage the blade and leave a rough edge. Butcher’s steels are also very good, but can take a bit of getting used to.

When it comes to cleaning knives there is only one golden rule you should follow; never, ever, ever put them in a dish washer! This rattles the knives around, clanking them together which will ruin the blade edges, also the dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, which will also damage the blade surface. Clean them in the sink with normal washing up liquid, rinse them and dry them straight away.

Knife storage is quite simple, use a good quality knife block, or a magnetic holder. Don’t just bundle them into a cutlery drawer for the same reasons you don’t want them knocking together in the dish washer. If you’ve got very expensive knives, you can even buy rubberised sheaths for them, to protect the blades even further.

As far as brands go, knives can be a bit “snobbish”. However, to be fair to the more expensive manufacturers, there is definitely a difference. We use everything from £10 Stellar knives right up to £100+ Global knives. The Stellars are perfectly serviceable knives and we use them regularly, however the Globals definitely have the edge (pun intended). They’re sharper from the start, stay sharper longer, have a better balance, and with any luck, will last longer. Other brands we like include Robert Welch, I.O. Shen, Kin and Yaxell.

Shatkora

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Serves: 1

Introduction:

Shatkora is an Asian citrus fruit that is very popular in Indian cookery. Apparently, if you’re unable to source fresh or frozen shatkora, a good substitute is grapefruit, but we’re not convinced by this. Most Asian supermarkets will probably stock shatkora, just ask if you can’t find it on the shelves.

Ingredients:

  • Precooked meat or vegetables
  • 400ml Base gravy
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Garlic & Ginger puree
  • 1 tsp. Mix powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Methi leaves
  • 1 tsp. Cumin powder
  • 2 chillies, chopped.
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • 1/4 of a peeled, chopped Shatkora
  • 1 tbsp. of Shatkora zest.
  • 1 tomato, diced.

Method:

Heat the oil in a hot pan, then add the spring onions and the garlic and ginger puree. After a few minutes add the chillies, diced tomato, mix powder, chilli powder, salt and cumin. Add half of the base gravy and allow to boil for a minute or so, now add the shatkora fruit and zest, add your precooked meat and the rest of the base gravy. Allow to boil and thicken for a few minutes, before finally adding the methi leaves. Give it all a good stir and serve, garnished with a little extra shatkora zest, or some coriander if you prefer.