The husband and I have been playing a game of viral tag over the past few weeks and so, last weekend, while I was poorly, he had to take the reins of the kitchen. Now, while he is quite hands-on as a home-keeper and dad, he doesn’t quite make the special dishes – they somehow fall under my purview and are designated to weekends and a true blue Bong can’t not have some form of mangsho bhaat (lamb/mutton with rice) on a Sunday. But then, complications and SJ have never seen eye to eye – ergo, a quick and easy lamb pulao had to be made.
The result: ladies and gentlemen, the simplified version of the otherwise complicated ‘Azerbaijani Lamb Pulao‘!!
As the name suggests, the dish bears its origin in the Republic of Azerbaijan and has strong Eastern European/Western Asian influence in its flavour profile and taste. Full of the sweet, fruity richness of apricots, prunes and pomegranate and the heady aroma of saffron, this one pot dish gets done within the hour and tastes like heaven on a plate.
Makes: 4 plates Time taken: 1- 1.5 h Skill level: Easy
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil (or clarified butter/ghee , if you don’t mind the calories)
- 600g (1lb) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch/2.5cm cubes
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 250g rice washed and drained (we used arborio)
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 3 1/2 cup lamb or chicken stock or water
- 2/3 cup dried apricots and/or prunes, halved
- 2 tbsp raisins
- salt and pepper, to taste
- shredded mint and parsley leaves, to garnish
- Heat the oil (or ghee) in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the lamb, season with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat , turning frequently until lightly browned
- Add the onions, reduce heat to medium, and cook until they begin to soften. Add the cumin, garlic paste, rice and stir well to coat, until the rice turns translucent. Stir in the tomato paste and saffron threads
- Add the pomegranate juice and stock/water, bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, prunes and raisins. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice and lamb are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed
- Balance the seasoning as required, sprinkle the shredded greens over the pulao and serve hot!
The dish tastes fab on its own, but we had ours with a generous topping of some greek yoghurt raita and a side of wilted greens.
Once again, this is a simplified version of the dish – to make it quicker, easier and healthier and so, I have condensed a few steps, replaced a few ingredients, but it still tastes as close to the original that we have had in the past. So, relish it on a weekend or save up the extras for a weeknight – but do give it a try!
Until next time,