Lamb Balti

This is a repost from way back, but after deciding to try it again, as I couldn’t remember making it the first time, I was so impressed with the results that I just had to make it again. I simplified the cooking technique this time ’round too so that you’re not slaving over a stove for too long. The curry itself is rich, intense and incredibly complex in flavour. It’s absolutely delicious.

1kg lamb (cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion (finely sliced)
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoon fresh corriander (chopped) Optional.

For the curry paste:
This will make approximately double the quantity of curry paste, so freeze the rest or it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 cinnamon sticks (crumbled)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
15 cardomom pods
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
6 whole cloves
20 fresh curry leaves
4 dried bay leaves (crumbled)
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
3/4 cup malt vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

To make the curry paste. Dry fry together in a small pan the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves and cardamom pods for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

Transfer to a spice grinder or pestle & mortar, add the bay leaves and grind into a fine powder. Add the curry leaves, turmeric powder, garlic, ginger, chilli powder and vinegar. Mix well.

In a large pan, heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add the paste and cook for 5 minutes. remove from the heat. Spoon the paste into a container with a lid and leave to cool.

To make the balti. In a wok or large pan add a litre of water to 1 tablespoon of the curry paste and the lamb. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to very low and cook, covered, for 50 minutes until the lamb is almost tender. Drain and reserve the sauce. Wipe the wok clean and place over a medium heat. Melt the oil, add the onion and fry for about 5-6 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes. Increase the heat, add 4 more tablespoons of curry paste. Return the lamb to the pan and cook covered for about 5 minutes until it has browned slightly. Gradually add the retained cooking liquid while stirring. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and simmer again for 15 minutes or until the meat is tender and the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Sprinkle over the coriander if using and serve alsongside plain boiled rice or naan breads.

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