A curry is always welcome on my table, especially this one! Tender lamb flavoured with fragrant indian spices and baked for hours until meltingly soft. What’s not to like about that. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. The method of preparing it is pretty easy and straight forward. I didn’t make it too hot, although this curry is usually cooked with dried red chillies which add a lot of heat. If you like your curry really hot, just crush 3-4 dried chillies in a mortar and pestle and add to the rest of the ingredients. The curry tastes even better the next day.
- 1 kg lamb shoulder, in cubes
- 10 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4 Tbs greek yogurt
- 5 medium red or yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 2 red peppers (capsicum), roughly chopped
- 4 red chilli peppers (without seeds, see note)
- 1 Tbs green cardamom pods, bruised
- ½ Tbs cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in 2-3 pieces
- 2 Tbs cumin seeds
- 2 Tbs coriander seeds
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp paprica
- 3 Tbs sunflower oil
- 600 grams grated tomatoes (from a carton or can)
- 1 chicken stock cube disolved in 1 cup boiling water
- 1 lemon, fresh coriander and mint leaves to serve
The previous day, put the lamb cubes in a large bowl and mix with the ginger, garlic, turmeric, black pepper and yogurt. Leave the lamb to marinate, covered in the fridge, over night.
The next day, take lamb out of the fridge one hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 170 C (340 F). In a dry saucepan, over medium heat, add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and coriander seeds. Toast, stirring until fragrant and slightly darker in color. Be extra careful not to burn the spices as they will taste bitter. Put toasted spices in a blender with the onions, red peppers, chillies, chilli powder and paprica. Puree everything on high speed.
Take a large oven proof pot, preferably with a lid (a “Creuset” is perfect for this), and heat the sunflower oil, over medium-high heat. Add the onion puree from the blender and cook stirring for a minute or so. Add the lamb with its marinate and the grated tomatoes. Cook briefly stirring, until everything is well blended. Finally add the stock and stir to mix. Add salt to taste. Cover pot tightly with the lid and bake for 2 hours.
Squeeze some lemon juice, garnish with fresh coriander and mint leaves. and serve with basmati rice, fried onions and papadums.
Note: When I make curries I like to take out the seeds from the chillies as I can control how spicy the curry is. Once you put the seeds in the food, there is no turning back and no adjusting the heat. So I take them out and adjust later with chilli powder. Of course, you can go ahead and add them to your curry if you wish.