|Biryani spiced wil boar steak served on bed of vegetable biryani|
Biryani is comprised of rice and spices, as well as a wide variety of potential meat and vegetable enhancements. In UK Indian restaurants and takeaways, popular biryani types include chicken, lamb, prawn, as well as various vegetarian options. It will perhaps most often be prepared by frying precooked and cooled rice with the meat/vegetables and spices. As always, I hope the purists will forgive me as - being me - I have in this recipe taken a few liberties with established preparation techniques...
There is a second and much more important circumstance which led to me coming up with this particular recipe today of all days - and the clue is in the latter part of the title. A couple of weeks back, I was talking online to a friend in Spain and she happened to mention that she had a birthday coming up. I decided therefore that as an unusual form of gift, it would be fun to create a dish incorporating some of her favourite ingredients to mark the occasion. I'm delighted to say that she gave me a very wide and generous remit, requesting something spicy (but not too spicy!) with perhaps a Chinese, Indian or Thai influence.
Well, I thought about it a bit and remembered the two wild boar steaks I had in the freezer. I believe wild boar is fairly popular in Spain so this may be described as a biryani with a little bit of a Spanish twist. (I did of course defrost these steaks in the bottom of the fridge overnight) So, Happy Birthday Sue for today, Friday 19th! I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating and enjoy reading about what I've created in this post to help mark the occasion. Maybe you'll even try making it some time!
Note that although I have used wild boar leg steaks here, you could easily substitute more conventional pork leg steaks. Do be sure though to use leg meat and not the likes of shoulder because it would not work cooked in this fashion. Alternatively, you could use chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, or the meat of your choice, remembering of course to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
|Wild boar leg steaks|
Ingredients (Serves Two)
2 wild boar leg steaks (about 6 ounces each in weight)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon medium strength chilli powder
2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling steaks
5 ounces basmati or long grain rice
1/2 small white onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely diced
1/2 small head of cauliflower, broken in to florets
1 to 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 pint fresh chicken stock (British pint, 20 fluid ounces = 1 and 1/4 US pints - it's important to get this right)
Salt and pepper
1 small tomato, cut in to six wedges
3 moderately thick cucumber slices (1/2 inch or so), cut in half in to crescents
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro, plus extra to garnish
The first step is to combine your spice mix ingredients. Half the spice mix is going to be used as a dry marinade for the wild boar steaks and the other half will be used later as an ingredient in the vegetable/rice part of the dish. Simply measure the four spice ingredients out in to a small bowl and stir well to fully combine.
|Wild boar steaks left to dry marinade in biryani spices|
Lay the wild boar steaks on a large dinner plate and use half the spice mix to scatter over them on both sides. Use your hands to very gently rub the spice in to the meat. Cover and leave to marinate for one hour. Do not put them in the fridge as the steaks need to be cooked from room temperature.
|Rice is carefully washed through fine sieve|
When the steaks have been marinating for approaching an hour, pour the measured out rice in to a fine sieve and wash thoroughly under running cold water. Set aside on your draining board to drain off until required.
|Half onion and large garlic clove|
Prepare the onion and garlic and gently bring a couple of tablespoons of sunflower (or vegetable) oil up to a moderate heat in a large pot.
|Starting to sautee spices, onion and garlic|
Add the spices, onion and garlic to the warmed oil and sautee for a minute or so, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until the onion is softened. Be careful here as you don't want to burn the spices. This would cause them to turn bitter.
|Cauliflower florets and cinnamon stick|
Try to break/cut the cauliflower florets in to fairly even sizes of around maybe an inch across. This not only makes for even cooking but easier eating.
|Cauliflower and rice added to onion and spices|
Add the rice and the cauliflower to the onion and spice mix. Stir carefully but well with a wooden spoon.
|Stock and cinnamon stick is added to vegetable biryani pot|
Pour the chicken stock in to the pot and add the cinnamon stick. Turn up the heat just until the liquid begins to simmer.
Start your griddle pan heating on maximum heat as it will take a few minutes to reach the smoking hot heat you need.
When the chicken stock starts to simmer, reduce the heat to maintain a moderate simmer (uncovered) for ten to twelve minutes until the liquid is almost but not quite completely absorbed, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook or you will not only find it sticking to the pot, the rice will become mushy.
|Marinated wild boar steaks are oiled for griddling|
When the griddle pan is smoking hot, carefully oil the marinated steaks and lay them in the pan with cooking tongs. Be careful of sputtering.
|Starting to griddle wild boar steaks|
The steaks will take around five minutes each side to cook, depending of course upon thickness. They should be turned only once.
|Wild boar steaks are turned in griddle|
While the steaks are griddling, prepare your tomato, cucumber and coriander leaf/cilantro.
|Tomato, cucumber and corainder|
Ideally, the steaks should be ready just before the liquid has all but disappeared in your rice dish. Lift them to a plate, cover with tinfoil and give them five minutes' resting time. This is essential as the meat has to relax to become moist and tender after its time on the hot griddle.
|Griddled wild boar steaks are rested|
Add the tomato, cucumber and coriander to the rice pot. Stir fold carefully with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat.
|Tomato, cucumber and coriander is added to vegetable biryani|
Taste and season the rice as required with salt and pepper.
|Vegetable biryani is ready to serve|
Divide the rice between two serving plates to serve as a bed for the wild boar.
|Vegetable biryani is plated|
Slice each wild boar steak on a chopping board across the grain in to four or five pieces and lay on the rice beds. Scatter with the extra coriander as a serving garnish.
|Sliced wild boar steak is laid on vegetable biryani|