Zanzibar knuckle briyani



With all the fasting that is happening concurrently I am not ever sure when I am supposed to be fasting, I am just waiting for the day to arrive without any planning on my behalf, well maybe a little planning as I haven’t bought meat the entire week, just using left overs to make food so that when the 10 day fast does start, I don’t have to throw any meat away that has gotten frost bite on.

I was watching Sarah Graham’s cooking show on Netflix the other night and I was engrossed in her food, that I thought it was high time to drag out her cookbooks and page through them.

I came across a recipe for a Zanzibar lamb pilau, I was going to turn the page, because I did just happen to scroll down the list of ingredients and came across the word basmati, not a fan the rice itself makes we think of silk worms, I prefer ordinary rice, but then a thought struck me, why don’t I used the base of her recipe and adapt and tweak it to make my own version of Zanzibar pilau and that is exactly what I did.

The original recipe asked for chopped apricots and believe it or not I just happened to have a sealed package in the pantry, of course my dad wouldn’t be my dad if he did not remark on the appearance of the dish… first statement so much carrots, but at least they are finely chopped and soft.

I first waited for him to finish eat before I thanked him on my carrots, but they weren’t carrots they were in fact apricots.


  • 1 x tbsp. oil.
  • 100g x butter.
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped.
  • 140g x harissa paste
  • 1 x tsp sugar
  • 750g x lamb knuckle.
  • 2 x cloves garlic, finely chopped.
  • 3 x potatoes, peeled can quartered.
  • 1 ¼ x cup plain white rice.
  • 2 x cups chicken stock.
  • Boiling water.
  • 2 x tomatoes, chopped.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • Zest of 1 lemon.
  • Handful chopped pistachios, chopped.
  • Handful dried apricots, chopped.
  • 1 x tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped.
  • 1 x Tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped.
  • 1 x Tbsp masala
  • ¼ x tsp turmeric


  • Heat the oil and melt the butter in a deep pot.
  • Add the knuckle and brown each side of the meat.
  • Add the onions, garlic and tomatoes, cover and cook for about 10 minutes till the tomatoes are soft.
  • Add the stock and boiling water, allow the mixture to come to the boil.
  • Cover and cook till the meat is almost soft.
  • Add the harissa paste, masala, turmeric, potatoes and sugar, give it a good stir to combine everything.
  • Cover and cook for about 15 minutes to allow the potatoes to cook a little bit.
  • Add the rice and about 2 x cups of boiling water.
  • Cover and cook till the rice is soft, the meat is cooked and the potatoes are soft and there is almost no sauce remaining.
  • Stir every 15 minutes or so, you can add more water if need be.
  • Place the briyani in an oven proof dish, cover the top with foil and pop into a preheated oven and bake at 180 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil, pour over the lemon juice and garnish with the lemon zest, mint, coriander , nuts and apricots.

Tell me what you think of this recipe