Quite literally. The story goes that the dish can be traced to Alexander the Great – whom Indians call Sikandar.
Sikandar captured the Indian king, Paurava of Takshila, after a tough and bloody battle. Even in defeat, the proud and valorous Paurava, his head held high, asked that he be treated befitting his status as a king. Sikandar, impressed with his adversary, released him, and they became friends. The barbecued whole leg of lamb was the centrepiece of a banquet laid on to celebrate the new friendship of Sikandar and Paurava, and hence the dish became known as Sikandari Raan.
Over time, the Raan has journeyed from being rustic, hearty fare to being a rather exclusive and refined dish enjoyed only in the most costly restaurants. But this felt all wrong to us. Raan shouldn’t just be the preserve of fine dining. We needed to take it back to its roots.
By putting this on our menu – and even more so by putting it in a bun – we wanted to democratise this very special dish and make it much more accessible. It’s a proper feast for every day.
To make the Raan (which literally means “leg”), a whole leg of lamb is rubbed first with a dry marinade of salt and Kashmiri red chilli, and then second with ginger and garlic. It is marinated overnight, then submerged and braised in a juice of whole spices (including star anise, cinnamon and bay leaf) in malt vinegar and slow-cooked for several hours. We skewer the braised meat then grill it over hot coals until it’s nicely roasted (basting as we go, to keep it moist). Finally, it’s pulled off the bone in loose chunks, and the tender meat is dressed with a spices, butter and fresh lime for a final hit of rich juiciness, or juicy richness. Either way, it’s very rich, and very juicy and you’ll mourn a little when you take your final bite.
To make the Lamb Raan Bun, we put a generous pile of Raan into a strong sourdough bun, along with pickles and onions, and serve it with sali crisp-chips and deep fried green chillies. Pick it up with both hands and take a properly big bite. Juices may run down your chin. Then, carefully, take an occasional nibble of the fried chilli to cast a warm glow over the whole meal. Wash it down with our deliciously hoppy Dishoom IPA, from Hackney’s Beavertown Brewery, brewed to stand up to the strong flavours in the meat. And it will totally hit that spot.
We serve the Lamb Raan Bun only at Dishoom Shoreditch. But for the first time ever, we will be serving the Lamb Raan Bun in the wild, outside its natural home – at FEAST. Come and see us as part of this spectacular banquet event on on 7-10 March 2013 at Tobacco Docks in Wapping, and taste it for yourself…
Whether you show fondness with acts of service or with suitably thoughtful gifts, the Dishoom Store is brimful of curiosities sure to impress loved ones this Valentine’s day. Do read on for our handy gift guide below and find an ample array of gifts from make-at-home café classics to calming home fragrance. The Home Feast will soon be making its departure from the Dishoom store, (so while you still can) delight in generous servings of our most-loved dishes, to be cooked at home.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
The phone keeps ringing shrilly through the flat. Nauzer holds his head in his hands, palms clamped over his ears. “Beta, the phone!” He forgot his mother would still be here. He can’t have her answering in case it is Devia. He runs into the corridor to pick it up. It stops just before he can reach it. Breathless, he looks up and sees his mother in the kitchen.
Tucked away in a lovely corner of Wood Wharf, Dishoom Canary Wharf is now officially open and ready to welcome you all. The marble-top bar is ready to hold your drink, the textured, patterned (and extremely comforting) chairs are waiting to be kept warm and the hand-painted mural and carefully curated art – from Bombay and beyond – are waiting to be part of your conversations.