Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Myn's Mum's Biryani
by Susu

Myn Donos is said to have been drafted into the Corellian forces and trained as a sniper because he's always been a crack shot, though he wouldn't admit it. He was too scared.

It wasn't always so, for as a boy, Myn was always trying to improve his natural skill at shooting. He'd set up targets all around his district in Corellia, trying to create challenges for himself. One day, he'd set up his targets on the foot of a distant cliff. As he shot, he noticed the movement of some white, fuzzy creatures about half-way up the sheer face. He realized then that the nerfs were moving along a track leveled there for railway sleepers centuries before. The transports and rails were gone, but the flat track dug out of the hillside remained for animals to use.

The nerfs seemed undeterred by his shooting, so he continued on as planned. As they walked one behind the other, he got used to their even, constant movement and was able to get in his day's practice.

Unfortunately, familiarity can breed carelessness and Myn suddenly realized he'd been shooting at the creatures walking along the ancient track! They'd looked so much like a shooting gallery game that he blindly took potshots at them, and watched helplessly as the red-splotched creatures fell and rolled down the cliff face.

In a panic, young Donos realized he'd be arrested as a poacher if he were ever discovered. So without thinking, he collected all the evidence of his actions: targets, laser rifle, and the unfortunate nerfs, slung over his shoulders. Fueled by adrenaline, he ran everything home and wept as he revealed his crime to his mother. She told him to clean up and not to worry.

When Myn came down to dinner later, he nearly died -- at the table sat magistrates, the CORSEC chief, and many local officers and security men and women. Sure he was going to be arrested, he started to babble, but his mother sushed him, sat him down, and started serving the meal out of a huge lidded kettle.

As the meal progressed, he realised what was going on ... his mother was serving the "game" he'd shot to the local security staff! And they were taking second and third servings! If anything had come of it, they would have eaten the evidence, leaving Myn safe and well-fed.

Here's her recipe!

  • 2 lbs lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoons papaya or guava or kiwifruit paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 teaspoons cardamom, ground
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons yogurt, plain
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green chiles, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or oil
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron (or 10 threads fresh saffron) boiled in 1-cup milk for 5 minutes
To the cubed lamb, add papaya paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, turmeric, chile powder, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom pods. Work the spices into the meat.

Heat an inch of oil in a skillet to 360° F. Fry the onions until light golden and crisp, then drain. Do not discard the oil. Add the onion, yogurt, lemon juice, herbs and about 2 tablespoons fo the oil to the meat and work in to distribute the seasonings evenly. Set aside for 40 to 60 minutes to marinate. Do not exceed one hour.

Heat 6 cups of water to a rolling boiling and dump in the rice, cooking it as you'd cook pasta. Drain when the rice is par-cooked and still crunchy, but reserve the cooking water. In a small bowl, mix ghee or oil with 2 cups of the water from the boiling rice and pour over the rice. Add the saffron and milk mixture to the rice.

Place the lamb in a large covered oven-proof casserole or skillet or Dutch oven and pour the rice mixture over the meat, covering it completely. Place the lid over the lamb and rice, and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 40 minutes.

Makes 4 servings. Serve with naan and salad.

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