Javanese Lamb Curry with Snake Beans

If you’re looking for something vibrant to serve for dinner then look no further. This curry really stands out in both colour and flavour. With plenty of turmeric, the yellow of this curry is so vibrant I actually had to tone it down in Photoshop for the picture. Taste wise it’s an spicy, intense heat with an earthy hit from the aptly named snake beans which seem to go on forever. You should be able to find them at any Asian greengrocers but you can substitute with French beans if you can’t. All in all a lovely curry with lots of sauce to soak into the rice.

For the paste:

3 shallots (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
4 small red chillies (seeded and chopped)
1 tablespoon galangal (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh turmeric (chopped. Or 2 teaspoons ground)
1 lemon grass stalk (white par only, chopped)
3 macadamia nuts

For the curry:
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon sugar
800g lamb (3cm diced)
400g coconut milk
2 lemon grass stalks (bruised at end)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
12 snake beans

To make the paste:
Pound all the paste ingredients in a pestle and mortar until you achieve a fine paste. No less than 15 minutes of pounding!

To make the curry:
Heat the oil in a wok over a moderate heat. Fry the spice paste for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the shrimp paste, sugar, nutmeg, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper and lemon grass and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the meat and stir continuously to brown all sides, about 2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and 200ml water and then the fish sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until the lamb is tender. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes until soft.

Remove from the heat and stir in half the fresh coriander.

Sprinkle over the remaining coriander and serve alongside some fluffy Jasmine rice.

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