In the 'Perfect Indian' episode of Perfect, spice king Cyrus Todiwala gives an old Indian recipe a modern day twist.


  • 1kg basmati

  • ½ kg leg of lamb

  • 20gms salt

  • 750 gms ghee

  • Three nos. finely & evenly sliced onion

  • 20 gms chawal no masalo(cassia bark, cloves, green cardamom & Bay leaves)

  • ½ nutmeg

  • 5gms Mace( javantri)

  • 2.5 gms shah jeera (caraway seeds)

  • 500 gms dahi (yoghurt)

  • 1gm saffron (kesar)

  • one lime

  • 125 gms almonds

  • 125 gms sultanas

  • butter

  • tamarind pulp

  • jaggery or raw cane sugar

  • ginger, garlic, green chilli. Chopped for the tempering

  • cumin seeds

  • turmeric powder

  • cumin powder

  • coriander powder

  • fresh Mint & Coriander

  • boiled eggs to serve

  • For the daal:

  • Toover or Toor = Yellow preserved with Oil (to be well washed to get oil out) Ratio is two is to one is to one 2:1:1. Two of Toover and one of each of the others

  • Masoor=Pink

  • Moong= split mung beans


  • 1.

    Clean the lamb, wash & set aside

  • 2.

    Place in a pot & pour enough water to cover the lamb and cook until done & the water is almost dry. When done drain the water and set aside. Blend the yoghurt into the boiled lamb.

  • 3.

    In another pot place two to two & a half litres of water, put a blob of ghee and bring to the boil. Wash the rice and put it into the boiling water, along with 20gms of salt. When rice is almost cooked (al denté is best) drain in a colander. Heat the saffron & add the juice of one lime. Sprinkle it over the boiled rice.

  • 4.

    Take another pot and add 150gms of ghee and saute the sliced onions until brown. Remove some of the onions and set aside for garnish. Add the whole garam masala, nutmeg grated, mace & the shahi jeera - both the last to be pounded in a mortar & pestle

  • 5.

    To the fried masala add the almonds sliced and the sultanas and fry for a while until golden.

  • 6.

    Blend the lamb & yoghurt with the masala and set aside.

  • 7.

    Alternate the lamb & the rice in layers in a nice casserole pot

  • 8.

    8Pour over any stock and place in a moderate oven for up to one hour.

  • 9.

    To make the daal

  • 10.

    Before serving sprinkle the brown onions on the top.


Serves eight roughly when accompanied with Daal and other food.

This is a hundred and ten year old recipe and has been altered a bit only to suit modern day cooking. however none of the ingredients have been changed or added to. these days we make pulao a bit differently for various reasons. these are related to the avaialbility of time, to consciousness of fat due too a more mundane lifestyle and so on. The parsees also ate a sweet pulao quite frequently. To do this just to try and find out what it tasted like you will need to make, a strong sugar syrup of soft ball consistency. for the above, take 150gms of sugar. add the syrup to the hot pulao only and blend.

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