Lay the lamb pieces in the bottom of a flat copper dish or Dutch oven. Add papaya paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, turmeric, chile powder, cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom pods. Mix the spices into the meat with your hands.
Heat 1-inch of refined peanut oil or sunflower oil in a saute pan to 360 degrees F. Add the thinly sliced onions and fry until light golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Reserve the oil. Crush the fried onions onto meat and mix with hands. Add yogurt and mix again. Add lemon juice, fresh herbs, and 2 tablespoons of the oil that is leftover from the onions. Cover and refrigerate for 40 to 45 minutes, for the flavor to develop.
While the meat is marinating, par boil the rice as if it were pasta in a 6 cups of salted boiling water. When the rice is still crunchy in the middle, remove from the heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquid. In a small bowl, mix the ghee with 2 cups of the water from the boiling rice and pour over the rice. Add the saffron and milk mixture to the rice and pour over the meat mixture. Place a lid over the dish, but do not remove it until completely cooked. Cook in a preheated 350 degree F, oven for 40 minutes. Serve with Nan bread and salad.
Recipe courtesy of Mehboob Alam Khan