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INDIAN RECIPE: Sultanpuri Pilau

Ingredients for Sultanpuri Pilau:

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 750 g (1 1/2 lb) lamb forequarter chops
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cardamom pods, lightly bruised
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Small piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely sliced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon black cummin seeds
  • 2 fresh red chillies, seeded and sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron strands or pinch powdered saffron
  • Pinch red colouring powder

Directions for making Sultanpuri Pilau:

  1. Wash rice well and leave to drain.
  2. Put lamb into a large saucepan with water, the chopped onion, cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and salt.
  3. Bring to the boil, then skim surface, cover and simmer gently for at least 1 hour until meat is tender.
  4. Remove meat from pan and leave until cool enough to handle.
  5. Measure stock. If more than 2 1/2 cups continue cooking with lid off pan until it is reduced to this amount.
  6. Add milk to make 3 cups.
  7. Cut meat into cubes, discarding bones and fat.
  8. Heat ghee and oil in a large, heavy saucepan and fry the finely sliced onion until soft.
  9. Add ginger and garlic and continue frying and stirring frequently until they are golden. Remove to a plate.
  10. Add meat to pan and fry, stirring, until meat is browned, remove with slotted spoon and set aside with the fried onion mixture.
  11. Fry the black cummin seeds and the chillies for 1 minute and set aside separately.
  12. Put half the washed and drained rice into the saucepan and spread with the meat and onion mixture, then cover with remaining rice.
  13. Sprinkle the black cummin seeds and chillies over rice.
  14. Reserve 1 tablespoon of milk and stock and gently pour the stock over the rice.
  15. Bring to the boil, then turn heat very low, cover tightly and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, heat the reserved stock and dissolve the saffron in it.
  17. If saffron strands are used, pound them first in mortar and pestle. If powdered saffron is used, put it straight into the hot stock.
  18. Add a very little red colouring also to give a bright orange-red colour.
  19. When the rice has cooked for 20 minutes, pour the saffron liquid over the top. It will not colour many grains, but this is the way it should be.
  20. Replace the lid and leave for a further 5 minutes.
  21. Before serving, gently fork the coloured grains through the rice. Serve hot.
  22. Enjoy your Sultanpuri Pilau. Hope you love this Indian recipe.

This recipe was contributed by content editors at


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