For Valentines days I have busted out some India Lamb Curry for my best friend ! This time I decided to make the curry from scratch and it is a labor of love let me tell you. There was sweat (not great ventilation in my kitchen) , blood (when I cut my finger trying to act all samurai with my knife) and tears (when I touched my eye after chopping a chili). Enjoy and have a cute valentines day !
“Masala” is a very generic term used to describe any blend of spices in Indian cooking. Masala can be dry or wet, chunky or smooth, hot or mild, thick or brothy. In curry making it is a pasty, spice mixture, which forms the base. You add water or broth to the masala and make a ‘sauce’ or ‘curry’. Curry is not a dish by itself in India, it is a sauce. You prefix the name of meat or vegetable before “curry” to derive the name of the dish…chicken curry, potato curry, cauliflower etc.
To make the curry base here is a good video Curry Base
- 1lb boneless Lamb - Cut into pieces
- Two cloves garlic, 2 pieces ginger and 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp of the following: cumin seeds, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, fennel, cloves, paprika, garam masala, fenugreek, black gram, nutmeg,
- 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
- four bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds and 4 tsp. coriander powder
- cinnamon stick
- 2 large spanish onion - Finely chop as small as you can
- 1 Tin ground or crushed tomatoes canned. I think ground worked really well
- 1/1 tsp tamarind paste and 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped for garnish
- For the Garam Masala mix JUST to garnish To make - 1 tbsp Cumin Powder, 1 tbsp Coriander powder, 1 tsp salt to taste, 1 tsp garlic crush to a paste, 1 tsp ginger crushed into a paste, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds finely crushed, 1/2 tsp Chili powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1) How to prepare the Madras Curry mix
- In a food processor, combine , chilies, garlic and ginger together until you get a smooth paste.
- Toast the coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cardamoms, fenugreek, black gram, nutmeg, and cloves and grind them in a coffee grinder until a powder is formed.
- Heat the oil on medium heat in a saucepan until the consistency of the oil is like water. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cinnamon.
- When the cumin seeds begin to pop, add the onion, chili, garlic and ginger mixture and lower the heat to medium low. Stir the mixture occasionally while it cooks for about 20 min, or until the onions begin to brown. Add in the spice powder you made in step 2.
- Add the remaining ingredients specified in the ingredients list mix together.
- In a separate pan take ghee (See ghee above) and get it hot (ish) you don't want to discolor it. Turn to a low heat and cook onions until golden brown, about 20 minutes. You can see from the video attached you want to cook the onions on a really low heat so they slowly caramelize.
2) I threw in some extra turmeric and some curry leaves at this stage just because !
2) Add ground tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes again on a low heat, you want to make sure all the tomato is cooked through so keep stirring the mixture.
3) On a low heat combine the mixture with the Madras masala paste and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes.
5) Get your Lamb and add to the mixture, you want to get it fully covered fully with the Madras Masala curry mix. Cover the lid and let it simmer (low) for 20 minutes. Just keep watching it and stirring until you get a nice mixture as below:
6) Add the sugar and tamarind and lemon and mix well. Add the water slowly, keep staring. Get that lid back on and leave it to cook for 20-30 minutes so the meat is melt in your mouth. I actually left mine cooking for 2 hours to make sure the lamb was really tender and just kept adding a little more water to moisten.
8) Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro and Garam Masala. (My dish looked like a train wreck at the end so I transferred it into this nice crock pot to serve !!)