Serves at least 6
750 g lamb, mutton or chicken pieces
For the marinade:
3 stick cinnamons
5 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp grated garlic
2 – 4 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp koljana / coriander
½ tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
3 tsp jeera / cumin
2 tsp leave masala / roasted masala
1 – 2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala
2 medium tomatoes
½ cup plain yoghurt
½ bunch fresh dhanya, chopped
2 tsp salt
½ – 1 cup brown lentils
4 large potatoes
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large onions
3 – 4 cups long grain or basmati rice
2 bay leaves
2 stick cinnamons
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
Wash and drain the meat or chicken. Using a large dish or bowl add the meat and spices.
Liquidise ginger, garlic, tomato and yoghurt together. Pour this mixture on top of the meat. Add the ¾ of the chopped dhanya. Mix well and cover with cling film. Leave to marinade for at least two hours in the fridge or better still overnight. This will allow all the flavour to develop and the meat to be really flavourful.
Meanwhile boil the lentils, the amount of lentils depends on your taste, my family doesn’t like a lot of lentils in breyani, so I only use half a cup.
Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into round slices. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the potatoes in the oil until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
Peel and cut the onions into thin slices. Fry the onions in the same oil as you fried the potatoes until brown and crispy. Remove and set aside, reserving the oil.
Add the marinated meat into a large pot and cook until the meat is soft and tender about 35 – 45 minutes, depending on what cut or type of meat you using.
Parboil the rice with the salt, cinnamons and bay leaves. As soon as the water start bubbling remove from the heat our into a colander, rinse and leave to drain.
Mix the parboiled rice and cooked lentils into a bowl.
Now start the layers. Add a layer of potatoes in a large, deep and lightly greased ovenproof dish.
Then a layer of rice and lentils mixture. Add a layer of the cooked meat, including the sauce, followed by some of the fried onions. Continue layering the potatoes, rice, onions (reserve some onions for garnishing) until all the ingredients have been used and finishing with a layer of rice. Garnish with the braised onions, reserved dhanya and the butter, cut in pieces. Add 1 cup of hot water. Cover tightly with foil or the lid of the ovenproof dish. Cook in a preheated oven at 180C for 45 – 60 minutes.
Ensure you dish from all the layers by inserting your dishing up spoon right down and lifting it up. This way you can be sure to get from all the elements of the dish.
Serve with dhai (yoghurt sauce), tomato & onion salad or atchar.