1 thumb’s length piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
125ml chopped dhania (coriander) leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tsp ground jeera (cumin)
1 tsp chilli powder
1 heaped tbs masala
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp salt, or more to taste
1 kg mutton, cut into pieces
2 cups (500 ml) cooked basmati rice
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
Pinch of saffron for the rice
1 tbs ghee (or butter)
1½ tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
6 cardamom pods, cut open and seeds removed
1½ tsp mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
2 sticks cinnamon (or cassia)
3 large onions, finely chopped
2 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbs (60 ml) boiling water
1 large onion, halved and sliced thinly
Pour the yoghurt into a large bowl and add the ginger, chilli, chopped dhania leaves, ground cumin, chilli powder, masala and ground turmeric.
Add a little salt to taste and mix well, then put in the mutton pieces and coat the meat well.
Leave aside for 1 hour or more to marinate. There’s nothing to stop you having done this hours earlier to marinate for longer.
Make the rice and keep aside, adding a pinch of saffron or turmeric to the water. Retain a cup (250ml) of the rice water.
Melt the ghee and add the whole jeera, cardamom and mustard seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.
When the seeds start to crackle, add the chopped onions and garlic, and saute until the onions are softened.
Add the meat, including the yoghurt marinade, and braise for a few minutes. Add the boiling water. Season to taste with salt.
Cook this on a low heat for about 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and add a layer of parboiled potatoes (if using), then top that with a layer or rice.
Frying the remaining sliced onion in ghee or butter until golden brown, and sprinkle over the rice.
Carefully, pour the rice water over the top, cover and simmer for as long as it takes for the mutton to become tender, which could take up to 2 hours (or more) - it’s done when the meat is very tender.
This must be done on a low heat so that the rice mixture does not catch at the bottom.
If it appears to be drying out, add a little more boiled water, but not too much.