Diwali Holiday Dining: Chef Gurj’s Lamb + Blueberry Rogan Josh and Blueberry Biryani

The e-vites have been sent, SMS responses tallied and new outfits purchased. But what’s on the menu for your Diwali or Holiday party this season?

One of our favourite chefs, Gurj Dhaliwal, has created two delicious recipes guaranteed to knock the socks off your closest friends and most critical relatives. Happy dining.


Lamb and Blueberry Rogan Josh

Lamb Rogan Josh Recipe by Gurj Dhaliwal

2 tbsp (30 ml) Vegetable Oil
1 tsp (5 ml) Coriander Seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) Fennel Seeds
5 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Green Cardamom Pods
2 cups (300 g) Yellow Onion, chopped
3 tbsp (30 g) Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 tbsp (30 g) Ginger, chopped
4 Fresh Red Chillies, chopped
1 tbsp (15 ml) Garam Masala
2 tbsp (30 ml) Paprika
2 ½ lbs (1.2 kg) Boneless Lamb Shoulder or Lamb Leg cut into large ¾”cubes
2 tsp (10 ml) Turmeric Powder
1 tsp (5 ml) Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp (10 ml) Salt
1 ½ cups (325 g) Fresh or Frozen B.C. Blueberries
1 cup (250 g) Canned Diced Tomatoes, drained with no tomato juice
½ cup (125 ml) Water
1 tbsp (15 ml) Fresh Mint, chopped

  1. Place a large wide flat-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp (15ml) of oil and preheat for 2 minutes, then add coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Toast all spices in oil for 3 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium high, add in the chopped onions and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add in garlic, ginger, chili, garam masala, paprika and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the turmeric, black pepper, cubed lamb and remaining 1 tbsp. (15ml) of oil.
  5. Add the lamb into the onion spice mixture and stir to coat in all spices. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add in blueberries, canned tomatoes, salt, and water. Cover with lid, reduce the heat to medium low and cook the lamb for 15 minutes.
  7. Uncover and continue to cook over medium low heat for 45 minutes until the lamb is tender and the sauce is thick.
  8. Garnish with fresh chopped mint and serve with yogurt.

Makes 4-6 servings.


Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Biryani Rice Salad

Biryani Salad by Chef Gurj Dhaliwal

1 cup (250 ml) Basmati Rice
2 tbsp (30 ml) Vegetable Oil
1 tsp (5 ml) Coriander Seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) Cumin Seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Green Cardamom Pods
1 tbsp (15 ml) Garam Masala
2 tsp (10 ml) Turmeric Powder
1 tsp (5 ml) Ground Black Pepper
½ tsp (2.5 ml) Salt
2 cups (500 ml) Water
2 tbsp (30 ml) Shallot, minced
1 tbsp (15 ml) Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tbsp (15 ml) Ginger, minced
1 Fresh Red Chili, sliced thin
⅓ cup (25 g) Sliced Almonds, toasted
½ cup (75 g) Raisins
1 Lime, juice & zest
¼ cup (10 g) Cilantro, chopped
1 cup (170 g) Fresh B.C. Blueberries

  1. Begin by rinsing the rice 3 times with cold running water and in a large bowl, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat and add in 1 tbsp (15ml) of vegetable oil for 1 minute. Add in the coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. Toast all spices in the oil for 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the rice and cook, stirring until toasted for 1 minute. Add in the garam masala, turmeric, black pepper and salt, then add water, turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and let steam until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the rice rest covered for 10 minutes before fluffing up with a fork.
  6. Heat a small sauté pan over medium with the remaining 1 tbsp (15ml) of oil; add in the shallots, garlic, ginger and sauté for 5 minutes until the mixture is cooked and translucent.
  7. Turn the heat down to low add in the chili, almonds, raisins and cook for 1 minute in order for the flavors to come together, turn off the heat.
  8. In a large bowl combine together the warm rice, shallot mixture, lime juice, lime zest, fresh cilantro and a pinch of salt & pepper.
  9. When the biryani has cooled down for 20 minutes, gently fold in the fresh blueberries.

Jugni Style Tip: We tried making the biryani with thawed frozen blueberries and they worked too. Just be gentle with them so the rice doesn’t turn blue! We also threw in a cup of cooked chickpeas for added protein and it was delicious.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.


More Holiday Recipes:
Diwali Dining: Pan-fried Potato Onion Bhaji and Chickpea Paneer Curry with Coconut Milk
Naveen Atwal’s Family Butter Chicken Recipe
Chef Gurj’s Skewers Done 3 Ways: Masala Paneer, Tandoori Chicken and Coconut Prawns

Recipes and Photographs Provided By BC Blueberry Council