Main Meals

Akni with tomato-and-onion salad and dhay

30 minutes
2 hours

“This really is a one-pot wonder. The ingredients are cooked in one pot so that the rice becomes moist and takes on the flavour of the curry. It’s a popular wedding dish that can feed the masses and is really exceptional when cooked on a fire.”

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  • 500 g rice
  • 2 T sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 kg lamb knuckle or chicken pieces
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t fresh ginger
  • 1 t garlic, crushed
  • 1 t ground jeera (cumin)
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground barishap (fennel)
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1 t chilli powder
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 whole allspice
  • 3 pods cardamom
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tomato, grated or finely chopped
  • 4 potatoes, halved
  • 1 cup water
  • dhania (coriander), chopped, to garnish
  • For the tomato-and-onion salad:
  • 1 large onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bird’s-eye chill
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • For the dhay, mix:
  • 2 cups buttermilk or plain Greek yoghurt
  • sugar, to taste
  • ½ cucumber, grated and strained
  • a pinch salt
  • dhania (coriander) a handful, chopped

1. Cook the rice in salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes. Rinse and drain in a colander.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and braise the onions until golden, about 5–10 minutes.

3. Add the meat and spices and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 35–45 minutes, or until tender.

4. Add the tomato, potatoes and water and cook until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 15 minutes.

5. Add the rice, tossing with a fork to coat it in gravy. Take care not to let the rice get too mushy.

6. Steam, tightly covered, over a low heat for a further 20 minutes.

7. Sprinkle with the dhania just before serving.

8. To make the salad, sprinkle the onion with salt, and rub it in well. Pour over 1 cup hot water and drain in a colander. Squeeze out any excess moisture. Combine with the remaining ingredients.

9. Serve the akni with the salad and dhay.

Photograph: Jan Ras
Production: Abigail Donnelly
Recipes: Sadiqah Assur-Ismail
Food assistant: Emma Nkunzana

Find more Ramadan and Eid recipes here.

Sadiqah Assur-Ismail

Recipe by: Sadiqah Assur-Ismail

Sadiqah Assur-Ismail is a freelance photographer who has photographed many TASTE editorial features and digital campaigns. Follow her on Instagram @sadiqah_photography for more food photography.

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