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.
The sun is momentarily out again. Calendars are fast filling up. There’s many a thing to do and many a friend to meet. And if we may kindly add to the excitement and the plan-making, here’s our list of what we’re looking forward to in September.
While we were at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we caught Evening Conversations, an engaging show by Sudha Bhuchar. We caught up with her after the show to talk about her journey and her views on South Asian representation on screen, which you can read below. And for those who didn’t walk down the cobbled streets of the city or stumble into an impromptu performance this year, we highly recommend it for 2024.
Each year as August dawns, the streets and rooms and corners of Edinburgh fill with music, art, laughter and song. Wander into grand halls and pokey pubs, as the morning sun rises or in the dark of night, to see creations of every kind as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In honour of this wonderful celebration of the performing arts (and as a little treat), here’s a special edition Dishoom Loves, covering all the acts we’ve circled on our festival programme.
For anyone looking to learn or read more on Partition, this page holds a series of resources, for all ages, created by people knowledgeable and knowing about such matters. It is by no means definitive – we have simply found them to be useful, inspiring and accessible.