Friday, August 18, 2023

Lamb Biryani starting with Leftovers, a Book Review and the Weekly Menu

I just finished reading The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese.  What a beautiful story.  

The Covenant of Water

My cousin recommended this book and I am glad that she did.  I was familiar with Verghese's work, having read Cutting with Stone many years ago.  That was before I was reviewing books on the blog, however, it did make my list of 10 Authors I wanted to read again.  I don't know why it took me so long.

Lamb Biryani

The Covenant of Water follows a family through 3 generations from 1900 to 1977.  It is set in the South Indian Malabar coast.  This family suffers a strange affliction having at least one family member from each generation die from drowning.  

The story starts with a 12-year-old girl, later known as Big Ammachi sailing across the water to meet her (much older) husband and start her life on Parambil Estate that her husband's father started and that he has continued to build.  

Parambil is home to Big Appachen's (the husband) family and also to members Pulayar caste led by Shamuel, the most senior of the caste, who becomes like family to the Parambils.  By the time you are done reading this book, you will feel as if you are a member of the Parambil family too.

There is a lot of food mentioned in this story and a lot of time spent in the kitchen where Big Ammachi and the other women work together to keep the Parambil estate a good home for all who dwell there.  Most often mentioned is Biriyani (also spelled Biryani), a rice and vegetable dish that is flavored with spices and sometimes contains meat.

Biriyani with Wine

I had made a Roast Leg of Lamb for this past Easter Sunday and had used the leftovers in Biryani.  I had yet to share that recipe with you and was pleased to be able to share it with you today along with the review of this wonderful book.  

I also made Biryani with Seafood when Biryani was the theme for a Fish Friday Foodie event back in 2020.  It turned out wonderful as well.  I love having planned leftovers when making my Weekly Menu and Biriyani is a great way to plan on using leftover lamb or chicken.

Speaking of the Weekly Menu, I am sharing mine with you today.  I have had the Angel Face all week long as she attended theater camp.  Tomorrow she and the other students are putting on the play "Goal" in the morning, after which we will all be going to brunch to celebrate her daddy's birthday.  

Then, tomorrow night, we are going out to dinner with Roz before attending a showing of Hello Dolly at the same theater.  My birthday is Wednesday and Amy has taken the day off work to host a Lady's Day lunch poolside to celebrate.  I'm letting Frank worry about what we are doing for dinner that night.

Thursday, Frank has his brother, Bob, and Chet coming over.  They get together once a month to discuss firearms, a hobby they all share in common.  I have invited Cathy and Rebecca to come and hang out with me while the boys play with their toys.  I'm preparing a "make ahead" dinner for us.

What's on your menu this week?

Out for Brunch and Dinner

Sunday Supper
Grilled Bok Choy Salad with Chile Garlic Shrimp

Meatless Monday
Spinach Ravioli with Tomatoes and Cream

Taco Tuesday
Chicken Fajita Salad

Wednesday-My Birthday
Frank is in charge of dinner

Pita and Hummus
Chicken and Steak Kabobs
Chile Infused Honey Madeleines 

Fish Friday
Steamed Rice

Entrees, Lamb, Casseroles, Rice, Leftovers
Entrees, Lamb
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Wendy Klik
Lamb Biryani

Lamb Biryani

This is a great dish to plan on serving when you are roasting a leg of lamb and will have leftovers to use.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 40 Min


  • 2-3 t. olive oil
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t. ground coriander
  • 1-2 c. leftover roast lamb, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. basmati rice
  • 12 oz. frozen peas
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Pour the oil into a dutch oven placed over med-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in the onions and garlic, cooking until fragrant, then stir in the rice and lamb.
  3. Add the stock, cover, and place into preheated 350* oven for about 30 minutes, until stock is absorbed. Stir in the peas and return to the oven, uncovered for another 5 minutes before serving.


Adapted from a recipe found at Fuss Free Flavors

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

12.33 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

4.82 g

Carbs (grams)

37.7 g

Fiber (grams)

3.33 g

Net carbs

34.39 g

Sugar (grams)

4.54 g

Protein (grams)

12.46 g

Sodium (milligrams)

526.6 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

32.38 mg


  1. The book does sound very interesting. And I absolutely love Indian food! Just so happens there is a bit of left over lamb waiting for new birth in my fridge as well. As well, I am often re-purposing rice into various fried rice dishes using whatever else needs a home.

    1. I think you will enjoy this biryani Claudia, as well as the book.

  2. I read Cutting for Stone years ago, too. But I have never heard of this book. I can't wait to track it down. And biriyani is one of my favorites. Yours looks delicious.


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