Beef Biryani, with extra love

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Indian food holds a very special place in my heart. A couple of years ago I didn't know how wonderful it was and never stopped to think there was more to it than the twist and pour of a shop bought jar. Oh my God, how my eyes have been opened. There is so much more to Indian food than Chicken Tikka Masala and overly garlicky jarred curry sauce, I just hadn't a clue.
So with my taste buds ready to be tantalized and my spice rack fully stocked, I started researching different curry recipes, different recipes I could make from scratch, play around with and fall for. Yes, I did just say I'd fall for a curry. Weird? Probably.
I've never really experimented with beef, it's all a little pricey if it goes wrong, so for this recipe I adapted a recipe from the trusty Hairy Bikers, that you can find here. Luckily, everything went smoothly and methodically and was a massive hit. So here I am, ready to share.
The reason I call this recipe, Beef Biryani, with extra love, is because this recipe takes a little time and needs a little care, but when its finished, you can tell a lot of love has gone into this dish, along with a hefty punch of flavour.
This recipe will take you a couple of hours from start to finish, so is perfect to impress on a special occasion or for a weekend meal. I think a vat of this stuff would make for a wonderful Sunday lunch, just with a little exotic twist.

For Beef Biryani, with extra love you will need (serves 2-3): 

500g braising steak
3 onions, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
thumb sized piece fresh root ginger
2 chillies
3 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
1 tsp sea salt
¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
100ml natural yoghurt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp caster sugar
170g basmati rice
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

To serve:
50g sultanas
20g flaked almonds
2 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander

Don't be put off by the long recipe list, there are lots of stock cupboard ingredients on the list that you probably already have. 
Begin by trimming the beef of fat and cutting it into bite size pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the beef for 2-3 minutes until sealed. Make sure to season well.
Once the meat is sealed, tip the contents of the frying pan into a large saucepan. Set both aside and make sure not to wash the frying pan just yet.


Roughly chop 2 of your onions, the garlic, ginger and chillies and put into a food processor or blender.


Add 25ml water and blend.


You should be left with a smooth paste.


Now grind together the cloves, cumin, seeds of the cardamon pods, cinnamon, coriander and salt until you have a fine powder. Grate in the nutmeg over the top.


Add this powder to your onion paste and season with black pepper. Mix together well.


Heat the frying pan used for the beef with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry your spiced onion paste for around ten minutes.


Then add it to the saucepan with the meat along with your yoghurt.


Add 225ml water and stir together.


Pop in your bay leaf and leave to simmer for an hour and a half.


In about an hours time, you can start preparing your extras. Toast the almonds in a dry pan for 5 minutes on their own. Add in the sultanas for a minutes and then set aside in a heat proof bowl.


Thinly slice your last onion and fry for no longer than six minutes. Set this aside too.


Once the meat has been simmering for an hour and half, stir in the sugar and turn up the heat for ten minutes to thicken.
Now rinse your rice thoroughly and then put in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil for five minutes.
Drain your rice and add in the chopped coriander. Mix through well.


To assemble your Biryani, in a heatproof dish start with a layer of the meat, then the rice and then a scattering of the onions. Repeat this step once more until you have two layers. Fit the dish tightly with two layers of foil and bake in a oven preheated to 180c for 30 minutes.


Hard boil your eggs by putting both in a boiling pan of water for 9-10 minutes. Then rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.


Peel off the shells, cut in half and then cut them into thirds.


Gently fluff your rice as you take the dish out of the oven and serve with scattered sultanas and almonds, sliced eggs and a few sprigs of fresh coriander.
The garnishing colours are beautiful, it all smells incredible and it tastes amazing.


You may want to serve this with naan or hungry mouths will keep coming back for more until they polish it off. This one is a definite crowd-pleaser, and the delicate balance of flavours makes every eater aware that they're enjoying a Beef Biryani, made with extra love.

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