Mughal lamb and rice dish, Serves 6-8

600g/1Ib 6oz lamb, cubed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 teaspoons coriander powder
11/2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon each red chilli powder, turmeric powder and kewra essence (optional)
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons shop-bought ground almonds
275g/10oz long-grain white rice, washed and soaked
for 30 minutes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus a little extra
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands, soaked in 4 tablespoons
warm milk
Juice of 1/2 large lemon

For the marinade

11/2 tablespoons each ginger paste and garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
175g/6oz low-fat yoghurt, beaten


6 cloves
3 large bay leaves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
3 brown cardamom pods, lightly crushed
5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 blades of mace (optional)

Pierce lamb with fork. Mix marinade ingredients in a non-metallic bowl, add lamb and refrigerate overnight. Bring back to room temperature. Heat oil in large non-stick pan. Add whole spices. Fry for 30 seconds. Add onion and brown well. Increase heat, add lamb (reserve marinade) and brown all over, stirring for about five minutes. Stir in spices and salt. Add marinade, almonds and 250ml (9fl oz) hot water. Bring to boil, cover and cook on lowest heat until meat is tender (about an hour). Stir occasionally and add hot water as necessary. Increase heat for five minutes. If necessary add extra water - the gravy should be thick but not coating. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Parboil rice in plenty of salted, boiling water until just underdone - around five minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish with a tight-fitting lid. Spread a thin layer of gravy over base, cover with half the rice and drizzle with half the saffron. Top with Iamb and cover with rice. Drizzle over saffron and kewra and dot surface with small bits of butter. Cover foil and lid. Bake for 30 minutes until rice is done. Squeeze over lemon juice, and scatter over onions, and perhaps nuts and sultanas. Serve hot.