For some strange reason, I began craving the lamb over rice at 53rd and 6th in NYC, the other weekend. Opposite the Hilton (if I remember correctly). So many evenings, G and I, either bored shitless, or me just having flown into NYC or him just having gotten done with work, or because we were broke and still wanted to eat out… the most inconsequential reasons… But the most amazing food. Always the same, never failing to fix our petty issues or bad moods, always stuffing us to the core and leaving us walking back to the subway station or sometimes even beyond that, strolling around hand-in-hand and in-love. I really miss G sometimes, I do. It’s a pity we couldn’t work our issues out. But I’m sure he’s in a happier place and with wonderful people. And I can only always wish him good (no, I’m not trying to be sappy or the bigger person or any such thing).
I remember I wrote a note to him before I left, when I gave him a little farewell gift. I remember sitting at the subway station at 14th street, scribbling my note, until the train arrived.
“I hope that if our paths cross some day, we’re both better people.”
Am I a better person, two years later? At some level, I want to believe I am. I know I’ve come a long way since – in the work I do, in my relationship with Ma, in working on my anger and issues that come with it… Things are great right now. I’m happy. And I know I must only try harder to be that better person I always said I’d be.
Oh well, enough with the drama. This is about good food, isn’t it?
I think I fared pretty well on recreating this recipe too. It brought back some wonderful memories and I did eat two bowls full. That’s about enough praise for it that I can give myself, really.
The only thing missing was pita bread. Honestly, I forgot about it, completely. What is there?
For the lamb:
Olive oil, to cook
250 grams of (halal) lamb, minced
1 large onion, ground to paste
8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 pieces of ginger, minced (about as much as the garlic)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon jeera poweder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
For the pilaf:
1 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon ghee
A small amount of saffron
1 star anise
Water, to cook
Salt, to taste
For the white sauce:
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspooon (dried) thyme
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
For the hot sauce:
Lettuce, torn into manageable pieces, as much as you might need
1. Saute the onions, ginger and garlic, until they begin to sweat and brown a little.
2. Add the minced meat and the spices and cook until done.
1. Melt some ghee and mix in the saffron in it.
2. Wash some basmati rice and add sufficient water to it.
3. Also add some salt to taste and the ghee and saffron. Give it a good mix, so that the saffron infuses into the rice.
4. Add a star anise and some cloves and cardamom for added flavour.
5. Boil the rice, until done.
1. Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl and refrigerate until use.
1. Blend the harissa and a little bit of water to make a smooth sauce, much like the consistency of sriracha.
Putting it together:
1. Fill half a bowl with rice and the other with the meat.
2. Serve with some lettuce and pita bread, on top.
3. Add some hot sauce over the rice and meat and a liberal dose of the white sauce.