House Biryani (Photo by snowpea&bokchoi/flickr)

Serves 16-18
Cooking time: approximately 20-25 minutes
Oven temperature 170-190°C (350-370°F)


Use large, wide banana leaves, strip them from the centre rib and cut into pieces, approx. 30-38cm (12-15 inche) long. Wash and dry with a clean cloth and heat over a gas flame for a few seconds on each side. This makes them pliable and they will fold without splitting. If you cook yby electricity, put banana leaves in a large bsin or sink and pour boiling water over. If no banana leaves are availabl, use 38 cm (15 inch squares) of aluminum foil.

Prepare ghee rice, making three times the quantity. For 6 cups rice use 9 1/2 cups stock. On each piece of leaf or alumimum foil, put 1 cup  firmly packed ghee rice. Around rice, arrange 2 tablespoons lampries curry, 2 frikkadels, 2 teaspoons vambotu pahi, 1 teaspoon chili sambal and 1 half teaspoon prawn balachan. Pour 2 tablespoons coconut milk over rice.

Fold leaf over and fasten with bamboo skewers (obtainable from barbeque departments of large department stores) or fold aluminum foil over to make a neat oblong package. Some people prefer to enclose leaf parcels in aluminum foil. (This a god idea in case leaf splits while heating or serving). Heat lampries in a moderate oven for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Arrange on a large tray.

When guests open the lampries, the fragrance of the food is unbelievably unappetizing. Allow one to two lampries per guest. A bowl of chilled cucumber sambol is serves as an accompaniment.