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 soft brioche bun, along with pickles and onions, and serve it with salli 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, and it will totally hit that spot.
The Lamb Raan Bun is available at Dishoom Shoreditch all-day and Dishoom Manchester and Dishoom Birmingham at lunchtime for a limited time, so make haste and join us, lest you miss out on its legendary juicy deliciousness.
With each new café that we open, we write a story deeply rooted in Bombay history or culture. This story, known to us as the founding myth, informs all aspects of the restaurant’s design. We spend months researching the Bombay of the period and combing the city for the right furniture, both vintage and new. In a way, you walk across our thresholds into our stories.
Bedecked in their annual finery of baubles, tinsel and lights, our cafés are ready to receive you for your Christmas celebration. So too are our chefs, who have assembled a most excellent array of festive fare for your table.
Our soft launch will run from 27th November to 2.30pm on 5th December. And to express our gratitude for being among our first guests, all food can be enjoyed at 50% off across breakfast, lunch and dinner – yes, really.
Stop by any Bombay tapri (street stall), café, or home, and you will likely find yourself with a gently steaming glass of chai in hand. Before the invention of chai, Bombayites drank kadha, an ayurvedic remedy for coughs and colds made of boiled water and spices like cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. Eventually locals started adding tea leaves, milk, honey and sugar to their ‘kadha’. Chai was born.