South African Malay Lamb Breyani (Or Chicken)

READY IN: 2hrs 30mins
Recipe by Zurie

This is from "Culture & Cuisine of the Cape Malays" by Cass Abrahams, a well-known Malay cookery expert. It's not the way I would make it, but more traditional. I use the spices, but would make a meat main dish from it. Please note that Cass talks of mutton, although we make this dish in its many variations with chicken or beef or even pork (the latter is not eaten by Muslims). Her instructions are quite sparse, and you might have to use your own initiative here.

Top Review by Lattegirl

Nice recipe but it got mixed reviews in my family so I averaged it out. I didn't know biryani (assuming breyani is the same thing) was an African recipe, but it does seem to borrow heavily from the traditional Indian biryani, but not quite as good. Interesting variation to try though, and oh, I cut back way on the oil.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. (Masala, a ground mixture of different spices, is available from Indian shops).
  2. Boil rice, cassia, cardamom and salt in sufficient water to cover. Drain and set aside. Boil lentils in sufficient water to cover until almost soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. Fry onions in oil until golden, remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Fry onions in same oil until golden, remove and set aside.
  4. Mix everything for the marinade together.
  5. Place the meat in a large bowl with half the fried onions and cover with the marinade. Leave for at least 1 hour.
  6. Pour the used oil into a large saucepan. Sprinkle 2 cups cooked rice over the oil, then arrange the meat with its marinade over the rice.
  7. Layer lentils, potatoes and the rest of the rice over the meat.
  8. Layer remaining onions over potatoes and sprinkle over saffron (or turmeric).
  9. Dot with the butter, pour the cup of water over, and close saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 10 minutes over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or more until meat is tender.
  10. (Okay, I won't make it this way, but this is true-blue Malay down to all that oil! Which you can reduce!).

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