I have always wanted to make a lamb Biryani but whenever I look at recipes for it i get a little put off by the amount of time it appears to take.  So I thought I would take similar ingredients and make a quick, midweek version!  I am quite sure people from India would be a little disgusted with me for taking one of their national dishes and deconstructing it the way that I did, but I have to say…….I was pretty happy with it!

Prep time:  30  Minutes        Cooking time:  30  Minutes (+ 1 hour marinating time)        $$  Low-Medium Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

8-12 lamb cutlets

1 cup of greek yoghurt

1 clove of garlic, grated or minced

2cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1/2 tsp of chilli powder

1/2 tsp of ground cumin

1/2 tsp of ground coriander

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbs of honey

1/2 a cup of almond flakes, toasted for garnish

Coriander sprigs for garnish

For the Pilaf:

1 tbs of olive oil

20gm of butter

11/2 cups of basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear

2 cups of chicken stock

A good pinch of saffron

6 cloves

5 cardamom pods

2 tsp of cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup of raisins

1 cup of coriander leaves

Sea salt and cracked pepper

For the Raita:

1 cup of mint leaves

1 cup of coriander sprigs

1 cup of greek yoghurt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sea salt

In a mixing bowl combine the garlic, ginger, spices, yoghurt, lemon juice and honey.  Mix well with a wooden spoon to combine.  Lay the cutlets in a tray and pour over the yoghurt marinade.  I find the best way to coat them is to get your paws in there.  Cover with cling wrap, pop them in the fridge and marinate them for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you wish.

Heat a heavy based saucepan and add the oil and butter for the pilaf.  Lightly fry the onion, cloves, saffron, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon until the onion is nice and soft and the spices are fragrant.  Pour in the rice and currants and stir well to coat it in the oily mix and fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add the stock, stir to combine and bring the rice up to a simmer.  Once simmering, pop a lid on and turn the heat to really low.  Allow the rice to absorb the liquid for 12 minutes and then turn the heat off and allow it to stand for at least 5 minutes.  Just before serving add the coriander leaves and fluff the rice with a fork to mix it in.

Heat a heavy based fry pan to nice and hot and add a little oil.  Fry the cutlets for approximately 3 minutes on each side for medium rare or for longer if you prefer.  Remove them from the heat and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.

To make the raita, place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse a couple of times until you have a nice cooling sauce.

To serve the dish,  place a couple of spoonfuls of the pilaf on one side of each plate and pour a little sauce on the other side.  Stand the cutlets up in a fan-like fashion on top of the sauce, leaning on the pilaf, sprinkle over the almonds and garnish with the reserved coriander sprigs.