Chettinad Lamb Curry

It’s been quite a while since I made a curry! I have been carried away with all things Mediterranean of late so to rectify the situation and also celebrate my booking of a holiday to India, I decided to make something delicious and SPICY! This Chettinad curry is typically hot. But that’s just what I wanted. A rich and flavoursome sauce makes way for a lingering heat that really leaves it’s imprint. Not in a bad way I must add – just a tingle around the mouth that any chilli addict would know and love.

For the spice mix:

1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoon fresh ginger (chopped)
8 garlic cloves (chopped)
90ml coconut cream

Other Ingredients:
900g lamb (cubed)
6 tablespoons peanut oil
2 onions (chopped)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 cinnamon stick (4cm)
4 cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 bay leaves
20 fresh curry leaves
1-2 teaspoons salt

To make the spice paste:

In a spice grinder, grind together the fennel and poppy seeds to form a fine powder. Tip into a bowl and combine with the chilli powder, paprika and turmeric. In a food processor, blend till smooth the garlic, ginger and coconut cream. Mix this into the spice powder and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate/high heat. When hot, drop in the cinnamon, bay leaves, fennel seeds and cardamon – stir briefly then add the curry leaves. Stir once and then tip in the onions. Stir for 3-4 minutes until the onion begin to brown. Add the tomato and salt and stir for 3-4 minutes until mushy. Now add the lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes until the pan is nice and hot. Spoon in the spice mix and stir until bubbling. Pour in 3 cups water (750ml) and stir until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to simmer, uncovered for 70 minutes until the lamb is tender. Add a little water if it reduces too much.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with fluffy basmati rice.

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