My Lamb Madras curry is one of those dishes I've been cooking for well over a decade. It's one of the first curries I memorised (the flavour and ingredients are engrained) and it's a curry that I return to time and again.
I ate it on a holiday in India in an aptly named restaurant, 'Gaylord'. As usual we'd ordered half the menu, so by the time this lamb curry arrived I was seriously struggling to push it down. I was a self-feeding foie-gras Goose - with a mild form of culinary self-abuse. Together with Brendan, we managed half before I actually thought I might die or rotundness.
Even though I was having a hard time I really loved the curry - It had the most amazing fragrant flavour - peppery, slightly sweet and sour and a texture so creamy and glossy. It's difficult to pinpoint an actual flavour here as there are so many spices at play, meaning each small measure of something brings everything to the party.
A labour of love
Now, I'm not really one who cares to create recipes to accommodate busy lives, that only include 3 ingredients etc... This curry is a little bit of a Mahabharata epic, time and ingredients wise, but don't let that deter you:
a) it's not really that difficult to put this curry together.
b) it's worth the effort.
c) it's worth the effort.
That's all I have to say on the Madras Lamb Curry. If you're looking for a quick curry, cook something else - maybe my delicious South Indian Salmon Curry - but if you're up for it - you won't be disappointed in the slightest in this. Go for it.
How to make my Madras Lamb Curry
For the curry powder
- 1 kg lamb (cut into chunks)
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 6 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- 4 onions (thinly sliced)
- 4 cardamom pods (bruised)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 400g can coconut milk
- Coat the lamb with salt, turmeric and garam masala and set aside
- Toast the cumin, corriander, chilli peppers together in a small pan until aromatic (1-2 minutes) then blitz together in a spice grinder or pestle & mortar until you have a fine powder.
- Mix this powder with the garlic, ginger and about 1/3 cup water, and set aside.
- Toast the fennel seeds until aromatic and set aside.
- In a large lidded pan fry the onions gently in the ghee until soft and golden brown. Add the curry paste and stir in for 30 seconds. Add the lamb and stir for about 3 minutes. If the lamb sticks turn down the heat.
- Add 1 cup of coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil and cook vigorously for 10 minutes stirring frequently to avoid sticking before adding the remaining coconut milk together with 1 cup of water. Bring back to the boil and add the toasted fennel seeds, the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.
- Reduce heat and gently simmer with the lid partially on for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the lamb is falling apart. If the sauce looks too thin remove the lid during the last 20 minutes to reduce the sauce. It should be fairly thick and creamy. Before serving, add the tamarind paste and sugar. Adjust salt seasoning and you're finally done!
- The Lamb Madras Curry is a Northern Indian dish, and the sauce thick and creamy so it pairs beautifully with Indian Breads. Mine were served with Fenugreek Chapati - which you should cook once (or more) in your lifetime! Basmati rice is also perfectly suited.
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