Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beef Biryani and Chickpea Dahl

Biryani is a favourite dish of mine in an Indian restaurant, most recently I had a chicken version when I was out for a meal with some friends and it got me thinking about trying a homemade version.  I had a look round for different recipes and then basically took ideas from all of them and came up with this version.  I used beef because I had it in the freezer but you could use chicken, lamb, pork, prawns or even do a veggie version.

I have served this with chickpea dahl which is a dish from my childhood but, and please don't judge, we used to eat a tinned version of dahl.  I can also tell you (and again, do ask you not to judge!) that the tinned version was fabulous - I LOVED it!!  We used to eat it with tandoori chicken drumsticks and rice (or occasionally chips).  I have looked for the tinned version in supermarkets but have never had any luck so here is my own homemade version.  It goes well with the biryani, which is quite a dry dish but I would also recommend eating this with my childhood dish of tandoori drumsticks and chips.

One note on both these dishes is that the quantity of spices can be changed according to your taste.  The quantities I have specified make a medium curry so decrease if you would prefer it mild and increase if you are in the mood for a hottie!

Beef Biryani

200 grams of brown rice
1 teaspoon of salt
I tin of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of oil
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger
300 grams of beef, sliced into strips
3 handfuls of frozen green peas
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
Half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons of creme fraiche
4 handfuls of raisins
A handful of chopped coriander

Place the rice in a pan with the salt and pour the coconut milk over the rice.

Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown.

Add the beef and stir fry until cooked to your preference.

Add the peas and all the spices, cook for one minute, then add the cream fraiche, raisins and rice.

Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and cover with a lid (this will hold in all the steam).

Cook over a very low heat for 10 minutes.

Serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled over, wedges of lemon and chickpea dahl.

Chickpea Dahl

1 tablespoon of oil
1 red chilli
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 medium potato, chopped into small cubes
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons of creme fraiche
2 tablespoons of curry powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 tin of chickpeas

Heat the oil in a pan then add the chopped chilli, ginger, onion, garlic and potato.

Cook for a few minutes then add the tin of chopped tomatoes and all the spices.

Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and add the creme fraiche and the drained chickpeas.

Cook for about 10 minutes until everything is soft and piping hot.

As with most food, this is actually better if left over night and then re-heated so that that the flavours have a chance to develop.


  1. Chickpea Dahl is a great side for a biryani!

    1. I agree Freddie - I hope you enjoy this dish. Thanks for your comment!

  2. This sounds delicious! Never sure on biryani because I always find it a little dry! Love the idea of serving dahl with it. Got addicted to dahl in India last year, not made it at home yet so will have to give this a try!

    1. Hi - thanks for your comment, hope you are well. I am sure the dahl in India will be far superior to mine so if you have any tips, I would love to hear them. Let me know how you get on with this one. Also just so you know, I had forgotten to include a potato in the dahl recipe - it has been updated though. All the best, have a fab weekend.