Biryani From Pakistan

Pakistani Entree

BIRYANI

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions
1 pound lamb or chicken
2 green chiles
1 garlic clove
¾” ginger root
1 large tomato
3 cardamom seeds
3 cloves
1½” cinnamon stick
¾ teaspoon garam masala
3 peppercorns
1 teaspoon red chile flakes or ½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 tablespoons ghee or butter
1¼ cups basmati rice
2½ cups water
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon saffron or  ¾ teaspoon safflower
¼ cup warm water
½ cup fresh mint leaves

SPECIAL UTENSILS

blender or food processor
mandoline
sonic obliterator

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Slice onions ⅛” thick using mandoline or knife. Cut lamb into 2″ cubes. Seed and dice green chiles. Use food processor to turn garlic cloves and ginger root into a paste. Puree tomato in blender.

Add green chile, onion, cloves, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, garam masala, peppercorns, red chile flakes, salt, turmeric, and ghee to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat or until onion softens and browns. Stir frequently. Add garlic/ginger paste. Sauté at medium heat for 5 minutes or until garlic/onion paste becomes fragrant. Stir frequently. Add tomato. Cook at medium heat for 3 minutes. Add lamb. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until lamb starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning.

While lamb simmers, add rice, 2½ cups water, and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil using high heat for 15 minutes or until rice is al dente. Stir occasionally and add water as necessary to avoid burning the rice. Remove bay leaf. Drain and set aside. Add saffron and ¼ cup warm water to small mixing bowl. Stir, Add rice and saffron/water mixture. Cover and simmer at low-medium heat for 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick.

While lamb/rice/saffron simmers, dice mint leaves. Garnish dish with mint leaves. Use sonic obliterator on any guest who crosses you in any way at anytime during preparation or serving.

TIDBITS

1) Pakistan is home to the ATM at the highest elevation in the world, 15,397.

2) The highest polo stadium on Earth is also in Pakistan. at 12,140 feet.

3) This means you can leave the stadium after a particularly exciting match and still have to climb up over a half mile to withdraw some cash. So, It really is best to come prepared with enough money for post-game activities.

4) Over half of the world’s hand-sewn soccer balls come from Pakistan. The British rulers of Pakistan, during the time of the Raj, loved to play soccer. But it took forever to ship soccer balls from Britain to Pakistan. The rest of the trip was by train. By the time, the soccer balls got to the soccer pitches, everybody would have gone home months ago. So, the British soccer officials asked the local businesses to make soccer balls. They produced fantastic leather spheres. Now, the British could play soccer whenever they wanted. The local businesses burgeoned. Now Pakistan dominates the hand-sewn market.

5) This is just one consequence of global imperialism.

6) Pakistan’s national anthem has been rated as one the best in the world. Well done, Pakistan.

7) On the other hand, two Pakistani brothers created the world’s first computer virus. Boo.

8) In 2011, Pakistani officials arrested a monkey crossing its border with India. I don’t know the charges. I’d really like to know the charges. No passport?

9) The national fruit is the mango.

9) One of the two national languages of Pakistan is Urdu. Only 7% of the population speak it. The most used non-English language is Punjabi.

10) Okay, suppose you’ve just withdrawn some rupees from the word’s highest-up ATM and you wish to buy some mangos at the local market. How would you say it? You would tell the merchant, “Iha aba kina hai?”

11) There, you have one fewer thing to worry about should you ever travel to Pakistan.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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