2lbleg of lamb cut into bite-sized pieces – a butcher will have to do this for you. Make sure all the fat is taken off the meat or use a 5-lb chicken, skinned and cut into pieces, not too small otherwise it will overcook and break up
3cupsbasmati rice, washed in a sieve
1 medium-sized tin of chopped tomatoes or 5fresh tomatoes, chopped up
2tsp crushed ginger or 1tbspginger/garlic paste (you can buy it in Indian food stores)
4tspwhole cumin seeds
1 large potplain low-fat yoghourt
2tsp crushed garlic
4potatoes, peeled and cut into largish chunks
Cook the meat or chicken over a low heat in yoghourt mixed with ginger, garlic and fresh chillies in an ovenproof saucepan with a lid. When almost cooked, remove from heat.
Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns and cardamom pods to a mug of water.
Parboil the potatoes.
In another pan (yes, this is a problem with the dish – a pile to wash up afterwards), heat the oil gently and fry the cumin seeds and onions slowly until the onions are soft and slightly brown.
Add the water with whole spices and the tomatoes. Cook for six minutes, again over low heat.
Add the potatoes, meat, cooking juices and extra water, and let that come to the boil.
Add the rice and salt and stir very carefully.
Let that come to a boil, turn down heat and cover. Cook for six minutes.
Place the pan in the oven at a medium temperature (350°F, 180°C, gas mark 4) for about fifteen minutes. The traditional way was to surround the pot with hot coals at this stage for a while, then wrap the pot in a thick sheet or with a seal of soft dough.
Check that the rice is cooked and the potatoes too. If not, sprinkle over a little more water and return to the oven.
Remove and let the dish rest for ten minutes.
Serve with yoghourt, whole spring onions and radishes or tomato salad.