Curried Lamb Shanks in Yoghurt

Here’s a recipe for a delicious lamb shank curry. It takes it’s paste from a balti recipe I had, but uses a few different ingredients to give a rich soupy gravy that is just delicious. Lamb shanks are a great cut of meat. They’re an excellent way to ensure I don’t eat too much. It is a mental hurdle for me to physically grab two huge bones of meat and put it on my plate. It’s as close to diet food as I’ll ever get.

For the curry paste:
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick (crumbled)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
7 cardomom pods
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3 whole cloves
10 fresh curry leaves
2 dried bay leaves (crumbled)
1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 crushed garlic clove
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoons chilli powder
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Other Ingredients:
4 x lamb shanks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
2cm piece ginger (chopped)
1 teaspoon garam masala
4 cardomom pods
2cm piece cinnamon
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 large tomato (chopped)
3 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 hot red chillies (whole, slit along side- optional)
salt & pepper

To make the paste. Dry fry together the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, black mustard seeds, cardomom pods, fenugreek and cloves for 1 minute until aromatic. Pour into a spice grinder or pestle & mortar and add the bay leaf. Grind into a fine powder. Stir in all the other ingredients and then fry in a small pan over a moderate/low heat for 3-4 minutes until slightly darker and aromatic.

In a food processor, blend together the onion, garlic, ginger and garam masala until semi smooth. Heat a large casserole pan with oil over a moderate heat then add the onion paste, cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon and fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the spice paste and fry for a further 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stir for 1 minute until they begin to break down. Add the yoghurt, stir then the lamb. Pour over 400ml of warm water. Add salt and pepper and the fresh red chillies (if using). Stir well, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, turning the lamb every 15 minutes. The oil will rise to the surface. It will look pretty fattening, but just stir it in and pretend you didn’t see, or blot it slightly with some paper towels.

Serve with plenty of rice to soak up the delicious sauce!

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