I’m Anne Doherty, and I work as a consultant in the State Library of NSW’s services for public libraries. I’m not quite sure what this has to do with what follows…..
I studied Patrick White at school and university (Tree of Man, Solid Mandala), and loved the recent film version of The Eye of the Storm. A quick perusal of Marr’s biography of White and the collected White letters shows often food and cooking is mentioned—clearly an important component of his household and social routine.
The birijani recipe was fine, though somewhat wetter than birijanis/birianis I have eaten at restaurants. I made a few substitutions – currants for sultanas, and added some garlic and vegies. The occasion was Saturday night dinner at home with my partner Denis and our friend Orlando. Denis and Orlando enjoyed the meal and I’d recommend the quantity in the recipe for four diners. We enjoyed raita and some riesling with our curry - Mr Mick’s, which seemed apt given White’s diminutive Paddy.
1 lb lamb
½ carton yoghurt
1 chopped onion (I also added two garlic cloves)
1 tbsp curry powder
1 pint stock
2 potatoes or 2oz lentils
2 oz rice
1 oz sultanas
Marinate diced lamb in ½ carton of yoghurt. Fry onion in oil and place in casserole. Fry meat (and curry powder) about 3 mins, add to casserole. Pour 1 pt stock in pan add potatoes (or lentils) and bring to boil.
Sprinkle rice and simmer for 10 mins. Add sultanas, pour into casserole. I added one diced carrot and a handful of broadbean pods and substituted currants for sultanas.
Season, cover and cook for 1 hr at 350 (200 celsius).
What’s the verdict?
I would use only about 2/3 of the stock prescribed in the recipe and limit the yogurt marinade to 2 dessertspoons to make the recipe less ‘wet’ on a future making.
Lamb birijani is mentioned in White’s letters—a “memorable dish” cooked by theatre director Neil Armfield from a Charmaine Solomon recipe. The Charmaine Solomon recipe (thanks Google books) is not the same as this recipe.
It’s a little creaky, but tasty.