Afghani Lamb Pulao
The number of Afghani immigrants to Pakistan have made this a much loved national dish, served for family gatherings and special occasions. Fragrant spiced rice, tender lamb and sweet carrots and currants come together wonderfully here and although this is not a quick dish to make, elements can easily be prepared ahead.
- 450g (2 cups) white or brown basmati rice (we used brown), soaked in cold water for 1-2hrs
- 2 lamb shanks (800g)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
- 1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp Herbie’s Chaat Masala
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp Herbie’s Green Cardamom Pods, bruised
- 1 tsp Herbie’s Whole Cumin seeds, bruised
- 250g (approx 2) carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp Herbie’s Garam Masala
- 40g (1/3 cup) raisins, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained
- 50g unsalted nuts, roughly chopped (cashews, pistachios, almonds or a mix)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy based casserole or saucepan and sauté onions for 5 minutes over low heat before adding garlic and ginger for a further 2 minutes.
- Coat shanks in 1 tbsp of the chaat masala and push onion mixture aside to brown shanks in the same pan for 2 minutes each side.
- Pour 1 L boiling water on top of shanks, cover with greaseproof paper pan lid and place in oven for 2 hours, turning once, until tender (this is a good step to do night before and turn off oven after 90 minutes and leave in).
- Drain soaking rice and cover with fresh water and 1 tsp salt; cook until about 70% cooked through, still retaining a hard bite in the middle. Rinse in cold water, drain again and stir through 1 tbsp oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- For carrots, heat sugar in a frying pan and when it starts to dissolve, add carrots, 1/2 tsp garam masala, raisins, nuts and pumpkin seeds. Stir for 2-3 minutes to combine then remove and set aside.
- For lamb, take shanks from cooking liquid and strain solids from the broth and discard.
- To assemble the dish – in a large lidded casserole add 1 tbsp sugar with remaining tablespoon of chaat masala, cardamom pods and cumin seeds. Gently heat until sugar is dissolving, then stir in rice to coat thoroughly.
- Place shanks in the rice and pour in 500ml (2 cups) reserved stock and top with carrot mixture. Cover pan with a tea towel and lid and increase heat to high. Once boiling, turn off heat and leave on hob to steam for 10 minutes (the dish will stay hot to serve up to 20 minutes).
- Either serve from pan or move to a serving plate – the lamb can also be removed from the bone and stirred through rice if desired.