We Brits have had a love affair with Indian cuisine ever since India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. It has even been claimed that fish and chips is no longer our national dish, having been replaced by Chicken Tikka Masala, I’m not so sure about that, but it’s definitely a close second. If you’re interested you can find the recipe for it here:
If further proof is needed of the wonderful quality of curries to be had in Britain, it is provided by my Indian boss at one of the places I worked in California. He told me the best curry he had ever eaten was in England, at a place called Bradford in West Yorkshire! It just so happens that my hubby Mick was born there – though he claims no Indian ancestry. :-)
Unfortunately, many people assume that all Indian curries are too hot to handle, this is not so. Most of them are made from a subtle blend of spices that go together to create fabulous flavors that titillate the palate, rather than overpower it. Sure, you can create really hot, spicy curries if you like; it’s all a matter of personal taste. I like hot curries, Mick not so much, so this one is quite mild, but in no way tame. This recipe is kind of an amalgamation of several curry recipes, and I have to say, I thought this was one of the best curries I have ever made, hubby certainly concurred.
As many of you already know, I have great difficulty in obtaining lamb (amongst other things), around these parts. But last year, just before Thanksgiving, we did manage to persuade a local butcher to procure us a leg of lamb, which he chopped into joints and chops for us. At the time we were packing it away in the freezer, Mick looked at the skinny part of the leg, (it was larger than a lamb shank, but not as big as joint) and said he didn’t know what I would do with that. I, on the other hand, immediately earmarked it for a lamb curry, and this is what happened to it.
Don’t let the cast of characters put you off making this, most of them are spices.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large lamb shank, or a couple of smaller ones, whatever you use it should have bone in for more flavor. Make some deep slices in the lamb to enable the meat to better infuse the spices.
1 large onion sliced
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons red curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or 1 teaspoon ground coriander. These seeds came from some cilantro that I grew last year.
½ cup chicken stock/broth
1 large can whole tomatoes. I used a 3-cup container of my tomato gloop, which I make every summer from homegrown tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and herbs, and which I always use in place of canned tomatoes. That recipe is
½ cup tomato paste
½ cup plain fat-free yogurt
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
3 - 4 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup raisins
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over a medium high heat. Add lamb to pan and keep turning meat until evenly browned. Remove lamb from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium, and sauté onions until translucent, add garlic and sauté for a further minute. Stir in all spices except crushed coriander seeds.
- Return lamb to pan, stir in crushed coriander seeds. and turn meat in spices to coat. Add a splash of chicken stock if mixture is too dry, and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add canned tomatoes, (or tomato gloop) and chicken stock, bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer covered for 1½ hours.
- In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, tomato paste, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, stir into the pan, along with potatoes and raisins, and simmer for a further 45 minutes.
- Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve with hot Basmati rice. I had intended to make some naan bread, but left it too late, so I heated some flour tortillas which served as chapatis for scooping up all the delicious sauce.
BTW, Like all stews, curry leftovers taste even better the following day.