I guess it happens with most of you, when you are on a self proclaimed break from food blogging and even though you cook full time, you don’t really feel to update the blog here. And it has been the same story here,as I am fumbling with words here to start up a simple blog post about a gem of a recipe-lamb curry.
Although the everyday cook, yeah that’s me was not resting, for her it was just like any other normal day puttering around in the kitchen, cooking food and sharing them. Sometimes was doing alteration work on some of the clothes or was working on an unfinished knitting project. Here I made a cool and funky jhola bag out of my old jeans, now my daughter likes it very much. When ever we go out in park, she likes carrying it. I don’t yet have a sewing machine as we frequently move and travel, so I did the alteration then sewing all by hand which was little tiring but it gave me great satisfaction. You can even make these types of “jhola bag” with your old saree or silk clothes as well. You can even stitch some patch-work over each side, or put some bead work, just like the ones I put in a straight line or some decorating accessories- like the single flower over each small pouch on each side.
There are plenty of ways one can possibly think to re-cycle old clothes. One way is to make kitchen towels and coasters as well.Now to cooking.
This lamb curry that you see now was made about two-three weeks ago. Then, again made it yesterday, so thought of sharing the recipe here. One interesting fact I just wanted to share here, in our traditional joint family, there were separate saucepan /kadai for cooking non veg items and veg items even the cutting knife or the traditional Bengali “bonti” were also separate and kept separate at a distance, if accidentally someone put them together, they have to clean it again. Once the vegetarian items were cooked first, then it was the turn of non-veg items to be cooked. Over a period of time, this practice is lost some where, I don’t really notice this practice in every nuclear family that we have today especially in metroes. But as per rule I still have separate cutting knives for vegetables and non –vegetables and I strictly don’t inter-change them. After cutting and chopping the meat, fish or chicken, I wash them with warm water, dry them up and then store. These are some basic rules but it is good for hygiene purpose etc.
I have never cooked lamb meat here in abroad, perhaps was due to the fact it has an overpowering smell, but we were really craving mutton the goat ones, so I gave up my inhibitions about lamb. So, the recipe has been made with mint leaves and for the first time used kewda essence just to over-power the lamb smell, but I tell you even if you don’t add two of these ingredients, lamb meat when cooked with all the spice on slow heat gives excellent result, almost just like the ones I made back home with goat mutton.
The recipe is just like Kosha-mangsho,I guess with mangsho/meat nothing can go wrong even with few spices.
Without adding much to the intro here, let me write the recipe nowLamb curry
Recipe requirements (serves2-3)
About half a kg of portions from lamb leg bones off
2 heaped tsp of coriander powder
¾ tsp of cumin powder
2-3 tsp of extra hot red pepper powder
1 heaped tsp of meat masala
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 twig mint leaves or about 8-9 leaves chopped roughly
8-10 whole black pepper
½ inch cinnamon stick
1 flower of mace-outer covering of nutmeg
3-4 tej patta
4-6 heaped tbs of yogurt
1 tsp of salt or as per taste
3-4 medium size purple onions
5-7 garlic pods
½ inch ginger root
½ cup of cooking oil/sada tel or mustard oil
½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
2-3 heaped tsp of grounded or dried pomegranate seeds/anar dana
1 tsp of sugar or to taste
Few tsp of kewda essence (optional)
- Cut the lamb leg portions into small pieces. Wash and clean the knife well and store. (Small pre-cut pieces are already available in supermarkets or from the neighborhood butcher shop)
- Now if required trim off the fat layer otherwise keep them if you like.
- Marinate lamb pieces with yogurt, half of red pepper powder, turmeric powder and salt. Keep it aside for 1-2 hrs.
- Now chop onions, garlic and ginger finely...If you like then you may make a masala paste of onion, ginger and garlic to be used to fry it with marinated lamb pieces.
- Heat up a deep bottomed pan/kadai/dekchi.Add in mustard oil; let it come to smoking point.
- Add in whole garam masala- cloves, crushed cardamoms, mace, whole black pepper and tej patta.Stir it for 1 mint till they start to crackle up. Now add in 1 tsp of sugar. Let it caramelize well.
- Now add in finely chopped garlic, ginger. Fry them well till they reach well charred stage or until a nice garlic smell hits your nose.
- Now add in finely chopped onions. Keep on frying the onions, about 6-7 mints at med-high flame or till they turn nice little brownish in colour.
- Add in all the dry powder ingredients- turmeric, red pepper, coriander-cumin, meat masala.Add in about 2-3 tbs of water. Mix and stir well so that all gets well incorporated.
- Add in marinated pieces of lamb with all the left-over marinade sauce. Keep on frying this for 6-7 mints or till they are well coated with the spices.
- Add in finely chopped mint and coriander leaves.
- Now keep on stir/frying or–“koshano” in Bengali for 15-20 mints at medium to medium-high flame, sprinkling little bit of warm water when ever you feel the spices is sticking to the base of the pan.
- This process of stir/fry should be done at medium flame to medium-low flame, to avoid rush in as this stir/fry process/”koshano” imparts that flavor which is required for these types of rich gravies especially mutton and lamb preparation.
- If the oil starts to separate out and the lamb gravy with all those aromatic spices turns dark in colour and little bit dry-about further 10-15 mints , transfer this entire gravy with lamb pieces to the pressure cooker.
- Add in grounded anar dana as well.If you have dried anar dana that will also work out fine.This is a new ingredient that I have used for making lamb curry and liked it very much because this gives a nice touch of sourness not over-powering the exact texture of the gravy.
- Add about 1 to 1 and half small teacup of water to it for thick gravy. If you wish to have a little runny gravy more like a “jhol”– then add in 3-4 large teacups of water. We like gravy which is not that runny, “makha-makha” in Bengali. Put the lid on, and at high flame let it go for one whistle. Put it to simmer for about 10-12 mints at low flame. Stop the flame and let it sit there for a while. Open the cover, once the pressure subsides.
- Open the lid-sprinkle half tsp of kewda essence and some cardamom powder. Stir and mix well and transfer the entire content to a serving bowl.(Most of you who do not like the essence, there is no need to add it, in fact when I made it again I skipped adding mint leaves and kewda essence, and I hardly can notice the aroma,-lamb meat all gelled quite well with other spices)
- Serve garnished with coriander leaves.
- I have added fried potato pieces as well as to us mangsho with out potato is unimaginable, however I have left to mention in the recipe procedure as some of you may not like it.
- Again used Shaan brand meat-masala.Any other meat masala can also work. Just thought of pairing meat masala along with home –made grounded coriander –cumin powder, and that worked very well, taking the levels high and I was not all disappointed.Please adjust the spice level according to your taste-bud.
- Personally I don’t use Kashmiri red powder in any of our meat preparations, which is only used for the colour, whatever the colour you see up there is due to the koshano process-stir/fry which requires little patience as well and the caramelisation of sugar.
- The recipe can well be adjusted with chicken or turkey. If you have any left-over gravy, then use this base gravy to make a quick rajma-or chick pea curry or cook rice in this gravy. They turn out absolutely delicious, or a biryani recipe can never go wrong with it.
- A quick tip- Use this left-over gravy with the cooked pasta – any paste shape goes well- we prefer spaghetti - giving the pasta a nice aromatic spicy Indian blend. Trust me this has worked great as pasta sauce as well on many weekend night dinner for us.
And recently liked a series on BBC by Rick Stein on India and the food that people generally like to eat.You can now even catch up with the series if you wish on Youtube. We have been to north Cornwall, so I can understand when he tries to remember everything with his hometown Padstow's fishing community and to that of Mumbai fish market or a Chennai fish village.A great series to understand that curry is just a tag , just to generalize but in reality, varieties are countless.
Wish you all a blissful period of Ramadan.
Happy Cooking Friends