This is a Lamb curry often seen on the menu at dodgy English curry houses. The kind straight out of a jar, ramped up with chilli powder. I remember eating it last time I was back in the UK and it was just hideous. This recipe is something else altogether. It’s a stunningly rich, intense flavour. Medium in spice, so it won’t blow your head off. I just wish I could go out and buy it and have it taste so good.
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried mace
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 red dried red chillies
8 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 cardamom pods (bruised)
4 tablespoons ghee or peanut oil
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
1kg lamb shoulder (trimmed of fat and cubed)
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (chopped)
300ml natural yoghurt
Make the spice mix first by heating a small frying pan without any oil. Add all the spice mix ingredients and fry for 1-2 minutes until aromatic and slightly browned. Now either pour into a spice grinder or pestle & mortar and grind into a fine powder. Set aside.
In a blender or in the pestle & mortar, blend together, till smooth the garlic and ginger with about 2 tablespoons of water. Pour in the spice powder and poppy seeds and stir well to make the paste. Set aside.
Heat a large pan, over a moderate heat. Add the ghee or oil and then the onions. Gently fry for 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft and golden. Now add the spice paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add 1/2 the yoghurt, continuously stirring to blend completely. Add the rest of the yoghurt and the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the lamb cubes and stir in 1/2 cup water, turn up the heat and when it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer gently for 1 hour, until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Stir in the garam masala, and simmer for 3-4 minutes more before serving.
Fish out the cardamom pods if you don’t want a perfume surprise. Sprinkle over the fresh coriander and serve with rice or breads.