Lamb mince pulao with cucumber raita

1 3/4 cups (350g) basmati rice

1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil

4 whole cloves

2 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3 black cardamoms, bruised

4 green cardamoms, bruised

2 dried bay leaves

1 large onion, thinly sliced

4 long green chillies, split lengthways

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbs ground coriander

11/2 tbs ginger & garlic paste (or 3 tsp each ginger and garlic paste)

500g lamb mince

2/3 cup (110g) toasted nuts (we used blanched almonds and cashews), plus extra, to serve

1/3 cup (55g) raisins

1 tomato, finely chopped

300g potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces

1 cup (120g) frozen peas

2 large lemons, one juiced, one cut into wedges to serve

1 Lebanese cucumber, finely grated

250g natural Greek-style yoghurt


Rinse and drain rice, then soak in water in a large bowl for 30 minutes. Drain well. For the cucumber raita, place cucumber in a fine sieve and press to remove excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir through the yoghurt to combine. Season with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.



Place oil, cloves, cumin seeds, both cardamoms and bay leaves in a large saucepan. Cook, untouched, over medium- high heat for 20-30 seconds until spices crackle. Add onion and chilli. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until golden.


Add ground cumin and coriander and ginger & garlic paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add lamb, nuts, raisins and 100ml water and season with salt flakes.


Cook, using a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 10 minutes or until lamb is almost cooked. Reduce heat to medium, add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes until tomato is soft. Add potato and peas and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes to remove extra moisture from pan (mixture has to be moist enough to avoid burning).



Reduce heat to low, then stir through pre-soaked rice and 3 cups (750ml) water. Season with salt flakes.


Cover and cook, untouched, for 20-25 minutes for the rice to absorb all water and become tender. Remove pan from heat and stir through lemon juice.


Serve pulao sprinkled with extra toasted nuts and with cucumber raita and lemon wedges served alongside.