Dhal and Meat Curry

Dhal and Meat Curry

by G.L.R (Mrs G. L. Routleff)

The recipe is taken from The Economical Cookery Book (For India) which was first published in Lucknow in 1913.

Put three quarters of a large tea-cup of dhal, cleaned and washed, in three cups of boiling water, and boil till the grains are soft.

Strain the pulp through a coarse towel or a bit of curtain net, saving the gravy.

The mussalas to be ground are, one dessert-spoon of roasted and husked coriander, half a tea-spoon of jeera [cumin seed], half a tea-spoon pepper corns, four red chillies, six cloves garlic, one square inch of fresh ginger, one and a half inch turmeric.

Warm a table-spoon of ghee [clarified butter], and brown a sliced onion in it, then the mussalas, add half a seer [467g] of fat mutton or beef cut into one inch pieces, when both are nicely browned add the dhal pulp with salt to taste; have a very slow fire, and let the meat, etc. cook gently for ten minutes, then pour in the dhal gravy, and as much warm water as is needed to cook the meat, and form gravy.

Simmer the curry till the meat becomes tender. No acid is needed.



The biryani originated in Persia. The cooks to the Moghul emperors took the biryani and transformed it into a courtly delicacy by adding aromatic spices and other exotic ingredients. It consists of saffron infused layers of spiced rice and meat which has been cooked in a special masala containing many different spices and other ingredients.


  • 125g of best quality Basmati rice.
  • Buy the best you can afford. Do not wash the rice or soak it.

Filling – choose from :

  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • King prawn mushroom


  • 1 × 15ml spoon chopped fresh coriander leaves and fine stalks
  • 2 × 15ml spoons sultanas
  • 2 × 15ml spoons flaked almonds
  • 2 spring onions or 2 × 15ml spoons from a pack of ready-fried crispy onion slices

 For frying the cooked rice

  • 2 × 5ml spoons groundnut oil
  • 2 pieces cassia bark about 20mm x 7mm each
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 green cardamon pods
  • salt


Boiling the rice

  1. Boil as much water as possible, without any salt, in a large saucepan (a 22cm pan is ideal). Leave just enough room at the top for the water to lightly boil without spilling over the sides of the pan.
  2. Gradually sprinkle the basmati rice into the pan and stir round very gently to make sure no Grains are stuck together. Bring the water back to the boil, stir gently again. Do not cover.
  3. Simmer so the water is only just bubbling (absolutely not a brisk boil). Simmer the rice until it is almost cooked. It must still be “al dente” as the italians say about pasta. Try a grain after 11, 12, 13 minutes etc.
  4. Drain the rice through a large sieve or colander until the water has stopped dripping Through. Gently tip out the rice onto a large cold plate. Spread the rice out gently with a fork and leave to get cool.
  5. Once the rice has cooled to room temperature cover the plate with cling film and Refrigerate the rice. Do not leave rice out in a warm room as it can host some very nasty bugs.
  6. N.B. the rice must be cold before you start frying it.


  1. Make the filling of your choice according to the instructions.
  2. You can use the filling straight after cooking it or you can cool the filling down to room

Temperature and refrigerate it until needed.

Preparing the garnishes

  1. Finely chop the coriander leaves and fine stalks and measure out 15ml.
  2. Put the sultanas into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for at least 15 minutes to swell up.
  3. Heat up a small frying pan to a medium heat and add the flaked almonds. Dry roast the flaked almonds and flip them over from time to time with a palette knife. Cook until both sides of the almonds flakes are a light golden brown. Tip out the almond flakes onto a plate.
  4. Trim the roots off the spring onions and slice them at an angle so you get oval shaped pieces. If you are using ready-fried crispy onion slices just open the pack!

Frying the rice and whole spices

  1. The next step is to fry the rice but this stage can be done hours after boiling the rice, making the filling and preparing the garnishes. Remember to refrigerate the rice and the filling and cover the garnishes to prevent them drying out.
  2. N.B. the rice must be cold before you start frying it.
  3. Heat the oil in a large karahi or wok on a medium heat.
  4. Add the cassia, cloves and cardamons and wait until the cardamons and cloves start to swell up.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and tip the cold, boiled rice into the wok. Gently stir the rice around in the wok with a metal spoon and coat the grains with oil. Gently break up any lumps of rice with the edge of the spoon. Add salt to taste.
  6. Fry the rice for a few minutes stirring constantly to prevent it sticking to the base of the wok.

Constructing the biryani

  1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 3 / 170ºC
  2. Select an oven-proof casserole dish which is attractive enough to take to table for serving. It needs to be about 20cm in diameter.
  3. Put half the rice into the casserole dish and smooth down to make a flat bed. Take whatever filling you have chosen along with all its spicy coating and evenly distribute it over the layer of rice. Now cover the filling with the rest of the rice and, again, smooth down to give a flat top.
  4. Drain the water off the sultanas and sprinkle the sultanas and spring onion slices (if using) evenly over the top of the rice. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or kitchen foil.
  5. Place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the biryani is piping hot all the way through. Make the mixed vegetable curry while the biryani is cooking in the oven.
  6. 3 minutes before the end of the cooking remove the lid or foil and sprinkle the toasted almonds, chopped coriander leaf and, if using, the crispy onions over the biryani. Return the casserole to the oven but leave off the lid for the last 3 minutes.
  7. Prepare to impress your guest.

© David W Smith, 2004 -2012, all rights reserved

Source: http://www.curryhouse.co.uk/recipes/restaurant_style.html