February 29, 2004
Leap Snow & Biryani

Woke up this “leap Sunday” morning to be greeted by a pretty view out of the window:

Just started to snow quite heavily.
(Route 79 bus stop in the middle there.)

It was bound to happen I suppose - it’s been really cold here in London for the last few days …

… which is why we treated ourselves to a great Saturday-night-in dinner of Lamb Biryani. Perfect winter-time, sit-in-front-of-TV-and-watch-a-great-film soul food. Inspired in part by StroppyCow’s comment to my “More Slough” posting below - I added it to my list of recipes “to-do” - but immediately brought it to the front of the list after the temptation grew too much to bear.

Lamb Biryani - click here to learn how to make it!

Posted by jag at February 29, 2004 09:37 AM

No snow down here in Brixton. The ground’s a bit damp too, so probably won’t settle if it does snow.

Posted by: Nigel on February 29, 2004 09:44 AM

It’s still snowing here quite heavy - has been since around 9am. Not settling on road or pavement - but is settling on grass, cars and trees.

Posted by: Jag on February 29, 2004 09:53 AM

Earlier, I was in Heathrow Airport and I was snowing heavily but lewisham is looking like summertime.

Posted by: Remi on February 29, 2004 12:48 PM

Hi Remi - well it’s now looking like summertime here! The snow has completely gone - not a trace of it anywhere - and the sunshine is positively glorious. What madness there is in the British weather!

Posted by: Jag on February 29, 2004 12:50 PM

Why wont all the snow in the world fall in water starved, getting hotter Chennai - Could really use some snow here.
It looks damn cool.
Isnt the biryani supposed to be a little more dry?

Posted by: sat on February 29, 2004 05:08 PM

Hi Sat - it rains and snows in all the wrong places I guess! Yes - the biryani in the photo has been taken before it’s finished. My “finish” photo came out so blurred that it was pointless showing it - but yes you’re right - it should be a lot “dryer” than shown in the picture - which admittedly isn’t a very good one!

Posted by: Jag on February 29, 2004 05:12 PM

jag, all your recipies look very tempting but i am so lazy to try. are they easy ? if so, i may start printing them out and giving them a go. i have an indian friend here who can help me with the spices at the indian supermarket in town .…

and we still have snow on the ground, but admittedly, i do live in the sticks ;)

Posted by: zed on February 29, 2004 05:34 PM

Hi Zoe - you live in “the sticks” ? Nah - Belgium is just another suburb of London! ;-)

Anyway - I won’t pretend that it’s easy cooking the Indian-style recipes - but there is an element of “using the force” as it were; i.e. constant tasting, practising etc. until you get it right. You might screw up a few times - but if the best thing in my view about cooking Indian-style is that it’s a lot of fun doing it - very theraputic I’d say. My advice would be to start with vegetarian dishes - practising getting the “base” right - which is fried onions, garlic, ginger, chillie and spices and tomato in the right quantities - then just add the veg or the meat - and some water if necessary and slow-cook until the right consistency is achieved. If you master the art of cooking Indian-style Basmati rice - then even better as an accompaniment for meat and pulse dishes. If I were you - I would also Google some recipes and compare a few - including mine - and then have a go. I admit that you might not get it right first time - but with practise you’ll be hooked! By the way - do not be afraid to try the packet-mixe style recipes - you can always liven them up with touches of your own - like finely chopped onions and tomatoes thrown in towards the end of cooking.

One thing however, be sure to have the basic core spice ingredients in your cupboard and freezer: specifically:

Garlic, ginger, chillie - zapped to a pulp in food processor and stored in freezer bags. Break off chunks when needed. Also: essential dry spices are: garam masala, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, cumin seeds, salt, chillie powder. And be sure to garnish end-product dishes with fresh coriander leaf - which you can buy in bunches from practically everywhere.

For me - the fun in cooking Indian is shopping for fresh/cheap ingredients - I admit that this may not be easy in Belgium - but if you have Indian friend that do ask for advice; wherever there are Indians there are shops that cater for them!

Posted by: Jag on February 29, 2004 09:08 PM

cheers for that! i always have fresh ginger and garlic at home and have several different indian spices lying around that my indian friend leaves after he’s cooked for us :)

and where i live is nothing like london .… remember, i don’t live in brussels itself - just work there ;)

Posted by: zed on March 1, 2004 10:56 AM

brr. feels cold. summer has begun here in mumbai. temperatures are upwards of 34 degrees C

Posted by: harini on March 1, 2004 01:27 PM

34 degrees - and at the start of summer - that’s heavenly .… (we would struggle to reach that in the height of summer over here - even though we hit 40 on one day in 2003 - which was probably a freak of mother nature)

Posted by: Jag on March 1, 2004 05:47 PM

i loved the snow on sunday morning, but low and behold a few hours later, sun comes out and it’s all gone!

Posted by: Jaina on March 1, 2004 07:06 PM

Indeed Jaina! It was definitely like you described on Sunday!

Posted by: Jag on March 1, 2004 11:00 PM

London hit 40 - thats way high for a city in the temperate region - Even we hit 45-46 . (And I am not proud of that either :) )

Posted by: sat on March 2, 2004 02:58 AM

Great garlic, ginger, chilli tip.…I’ll definitely try that. I bet it smells heavenly when you do it too

Posted by: sue on March 2, 2004 02:48 PM

The lamb biryani is delicious! It’s definitely going on my list of recipes to cook for friends and family. I served it with a nice raita and chappatis and had to restrain myself not to overeat. Thanks for the recipe!

Posted by: Jo on April 25, 2004 02:59 PM

The best I have ever tried making biryani lamb! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Posted by: kh lee on June 13, 2004 11:09 PM

Hi Jo and KH Lee - many thanks for your feedback - and glad you found the recipe useful!

Posted by: Jag on June 14, 2004 07:14 AM

This is the best recepie site on the internet i have ever been

thank u very much for doining a great job

best regards Wolfgang

Posted by: Gosch Wolfgang on June 15, 2004 12:19 PM

Dear Wolfgang - thank you so much for your very nice compliment! I’m glad to have been of pleasure!

Posted by: Jag on June 15, 2004 12:27 PM

Wow, thanks

This is the first time I’ve ever tried to cook a recipe (trying to impress!!!)

Very easy to follow and tasted FANTASTIC!

I was a bit nervous about not lifting the lid but I followed your instructions to the letter and voila! will be trying more very, very soon.

Thanks again

Posted by: Paul on June 17, 2004 10:20 PM

Cheers Paul! Glad it worked out OK for you! And please do let us know how your other attempts work out too! Any other tips appreciated.

Posted by: Jag on June 17, 2004 10:38 PM

Greetings from America on a pleasant September day. I was looking for Lamb Biryani recipes and came across yours. I love the photogs, and the simplicity of the recipe. Yes, Biryani is tedious if done “correctly” but I also get good results by cutting half the layering steps, etc. I’m going to try yours this p.m. Let you know what I think. Have a grand day. M.

Posted by: mara on September 13, 2004 10:06 PM


I was looking for a lamb biryani and came across your recipe. The pictures, and the way you explained the process is really good. and i apreciate it. I have gone thru many recipes before, but i never come across the recipe that explained so well. After reading your recipe, before trying the same i feel like posting the comments. Hats of to your recipe. Keep me posted if you try anything else…


Posted by: Sreedevi on September 24, 2004 08:57 PM

Mara: thanks for your comment! Do let me know how it turned out for you!

Sreedevi: And thank you too for your kind comment. There are plenty more recipes - if you go to http://www.route79.com/journal - and then look under the “food” section on the left-hand side - there are links to more of my cooking instructions. Enjoy!

Posted by: Jag on September 24, 2004 10:22 PM

awesome site…thanks for all the hardwork…

Posted by: leo on December 4, 2004 09:45 PM

Hi there, just made your lamb biryani recipe, (with chicken) it’s fantastic! Yumm.… Will try some of your others now!

Posted by: Rob on December 11, 2004 08:49 PM

Dear enroute 79,
Your recipes are very nice. I prepared most of them and they tasted marvellously very

well. But one recipe that is Lamb Biryani. The ingriedients etc., are proper but the end product

apppears different from what it is usually prepared in our region. The appearance itself did not

prompt me to try it.
The procedure is the same but two things differ. One is meat and rice are prepared

differently. After both are cooked they are put in layers in a separate pot and put on very slow

fire to do the cooking by steam.
For the meat gravy the onions are fried slightly golden in color then all other things

that is the spices and the marinade of the meat is put. When the meat is tender the gravy is

cooked here in the gravy oil should float.
The rice is to be cooked with few whole cardomons, cloves and little ginger garlic paste.

When the rice is 3/4 th done it should be drained in a colander.
Lastly the above mentioned steps should be followed that is rice and the meat gravy should

be layered in a pot and cooked on very slow fire for 10 to 15 minutes. After that remove the lid

and fluff the rice by slightly mixing the layers. The Biryani is ready.
You try this and if you find it tasty then you put this recipe on your site too. As many

people will like this type of Biryani.
Here is another recipe of Biryani where you can cook very easily and it tastes very good

too. chicken is the ideal choice for this recipe but meat can also be used. If you are using

meat apart from all the ingridients papaya paste or meat tenderiser is needed. 1 to 1 1/2

teaspoon of papaya paste will do. For chicken there is no need of anyting to tenderise it. Lime

jusice or vineger will do it.
First the meat should be washed clean.Now take glass bowl and add the meat. The other

ingredients also have to added. That is either whole garam masala or the powdered(

Cloves,cinnamon, cardamon), cariander powder, chillie powder, termeric powder, salt, green

chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves, bay leaves, tomatoes cut (optional), Vinger or lime

juice -1 table spoon, curd. Now mix all these well. Now take 3 onions and cut them lenght wise

and fry them crisp golden in oil. Drain the onions using a spoon on to a plate and when they get

cold crush them and add to the marinadeAnd add the oil also and mix well. Put this in the fridge

for about tree hours or so. You can keep this is the freezer for many days even for months. When

you need to cook the biryani you have to cook the rice as said in the above Biryani recipe and

drain the water. Here you have to put the meat along with the marinade in the pot first then on

top of it all the drained rice.On the top put few mint and coriander leaves, one spoon of lime

juice and a handfull of fried onions. First on the stove to a high burner and after 2 minites

lower it to very low fire and let it be so for about 20 to 25 minites. Off the flame and serve

from side ways so that you get the equal portion of meat and the rice. Or you can mix also.

Serve with yogurt raita made of cucumberslices, coriander leaves,mint leaves, little lime juice,

salt pepper powder, finely chopped onions, green chillies, tomatoes. Mix well and serve with any


My mail id is maqboolbasha@hotmail.com

Posted by: shaik Maqbool on December 21, 2004 06:55 PM

Hello Shaik - I would like to thank you so much for your kind feedback and very comprehensive suggestions. I will certainly give them a try sometime - and I will post the results here too.

Once again - many thanks!

Posted by: Jag on December 22, 2004 08:20 PM
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