• Kashmiri salan walah chawal (lamb and rice) (Sarina Kamini)Source: Sarina Kamini

Salan walah chawal is a classic one-pot Kashmiri Pandit meal that relies on a meticulous browning process, patience, and two favoured spices - black cardamom and asafoetida. This is real Kashmiri 'home' food, and I make it every time I miss my dad.

Serves
4

Preparation

20min

Cooking

3hr

Skill level

Mid
By
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 tbsp ghee, heaped
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) yoghurt 
  • ¼ tsp powdered asafoetida or a few drops of asafoetida water. 
  • 1 kg lamb shoulder, fat-trimmed and cubed to 4 cm x 4 cm pieces
  • 8 lamb bones, cut into 5 cm x 5 cm pieces
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups Basmati rice

Yoghurt-chilli water

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ⅓ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder of a few drops of asafoetida water (see Note)

Masala

  • ½ tsp medium red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 4 tsp coriander ground, heaped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger paste
  • 3 tsp cumin seed
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 5 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 4 bay leaves

To finish

  • 1 tsp garam masala, heaped
  • Salt, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

  1. Cook sunflower oil and ghee into a heavy-based pot and heat on medium-high. When hot, add the yoghurt and stir immediately. It should spit and sizzle. Straight away, add the asafoetida and stir through. 
  2. Add cubed lamb, lamb bones and salt. Allow the lamb to release its water, stir occasionally with a metal spoon as the yoghurt and ghee cook down. This should take 30 to 40 minutes. You will see the fat cook away, the lamb begins to stick, and the oil from the meat split, brown and then clear. Cook this oil down until no more than a thin layer on the pot’s base. Turn the heat down to medium if the lamb begins to burn. 
  3. While the lamb, yoghurt and ghee are cooking down, repeatedly rinse two cups of rice in a large bowl under cold running water four or five times, until the water runs almost clear. When finished, covert rice with water and leave to soak.
  4. To make the chilli water, combine water, yoghurt and spice and stir well and set aside.
  5. Once the lamb, ghee and yoghurt have cooked down, begin browning the lamb with a metal spoon in small portions of the chilli water - around 2 tbsp at a time - on medium to medium-low heat. Wait until each addition of chilli water has cooked down before adding more. The lamb should be stirred during the browning process to remove the caramelised pieces from the bottom and sides of the pan. This process is slow and will take from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the width of your pot. A wider heavy-used pot will brown faster (see Note).
  6. Once the meat has cooked, open the pot, add the pre-soaked rice with four cups of water, 1 tsp salt and garam masala and cook on low heat until no water remains. This will take around 30 minutes.
  7. When the rice is dry, cover with the lid, lined with a tea towel inside to catch condensation and help the end dish to dry. Place on a griddle or a pot rest over low flame and cook for 13 to 15 minutes on very low. When done, the rice grains should be separated and standing up along their lengths and the meat will be tender. Serve with fresh parsley and raita.

 

Note

Asafoetida water is made by dissolving a pinkie fingernail amount of asafoetida resin in two cups of water until opaque. Keep in a sealed jar in the fridge. Asafoetida resin is softer than powdered asafoetida, and so is used at intervals through the cooking process. A mild ground red chilli can be used to replace Kashmiri chilli powder.

• If you have a pressure cooker, transfer the meat to the pressure cooker at this point, add the masala, cover the meat with water and cook under pressure for 15 minutes over medium-high heat, or until the meat is cooked. Without a pressure cooker, keep the meat in the heavy-based pot, add the masala and enough water to cover the meat and cook on medium-high heat for seven minutes, then turn to medium heat and cook for another 35 to 40 minutes or until the lamb is tender.

 

Photography, styling and food preparation by Sarina Kamini.