Building a Biryani
Assemble the Lamb Marinade
Combine browned onions with mint, cilantro, yogurt, lemon juice, chiles, garlic, ginger and spices. Add trimmed and cubed boneless lamb shoulder and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Cook the Lamb
Sauté the lamb mixture in ghee until well browned. Add water, cover and braise gently until tender.
Parcook the Rice
Simmer fragrant basmati rice in water with caraway seeds and a cheesecloth bundle filled with peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, nutmeg and mace. Drain when the rice is three-quarters cooked.
Assemble the Biryani
Layer the braised lamb with the parcooked basmati rice, browned onions, saffron-infused milk, ghee, cilantro, chopped mint, rose water and garam masala.
Cover the Biryani
Make a flour-and-water dough and knead until smooth. Roll out to a thin round and drape over the casserole. Press to seal all around. Bake the biryani.
Make the Raita
Stir yogurt until creamy and smooth, then mix in chopped tomato, minced Thai chile and onion, and fresh herbs, spices and sugar. Serve the raita with the biryani.