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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Hyderabadi chicken biryani


"This is richer and spicier than the biryani I grew up with," says D'Sylva, "and has complex layers of spice flavour." Begin this recipe a day ahead to marinate the chicken.

You'll need

2 tbsp sweet paprika 1 tbsp each black peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds 2 tsp each ground turmeric and chilli powder 3 cardamom pods, bruised 3 dried red banana chillies, coarsely broken 2 cloves ½ cinnamon quill ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg 3 star anise 3 fresh bay leaves 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 2 tsp coarsely grated ginger 220 ml vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp extra 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced 400 gm plain yoghurt ½ cup each coarsely chopped mint and coriander 1 long green chilli, finely chopped 1.5 kg skinless chicken thigh on the bone 80 gm butter, coarsely chopped 500 gm aged sella rice (see note) 50 ml milk ½ tsp saffron threads To serve: fried shallots, coriander and lemon wedges

Method

  • 01
  • Dry-roast paprika, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, chilli powder, cardamom pods, red chillies, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 star anise and 2 bay leaves in a frying pan until fragrant and toasted (2-3 minutes). Finely grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and set aside.
  • 02
  • Pound garlic and ginger with a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste (adding a little water to loosen if necessary) and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and stir occasionally, until golden (6-8 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl, add yoghurt, mint, coriander, green chilli, spice mix and ginger-garlic paste, season to taste with sea salt and mix to combine. Add chicken, coat well in the marinade, then cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 04
  • Heat 30gm butter and extra oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add rice, remaining bay leaf and remaining star anise, and stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add enough cold water to cover by 2cm, then add salt to taste (it should taste salty). Bring to the boil, then strain immediately and set aside.
  • 05
  • Spread chicken and marinade in an even layer in a large casserole, spread rice evenly over the top. Stir milk and remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts, add saffron and stir occasionally until infused. Pour over rice, cover with foil then a lid, and cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Remove from heat and stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove chicken, shred meat, then return to casserole, combine with rice and sauce, and season to taste. Serve hot scattered with fried shallots and coriander, with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Note Sella rice is an aged, unpolished long-grain basmati rice available from Indian grocers; or substitute regular basmati rice.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Vadiaperti Coda di Volpe 2009 Campania.

Featured in

Sep 2013

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