As my time quickly winds down in Australia, I realize I should be enjoying this time. I should be taking extra trips to the ocean, maybe visiting some more wineries or hugging a couple extra koalas. Instead, I am working hard to finish my dissertation, sell my apartment, move home and find a real job. And you know, if I have time, solve world hunger, the war in Iraq, and decide who the Democratic presidential candidate should be. Shouldn?t be too tough. Just today, I found out it was going to cost $700 to ship my beloved cat Nugget home, $500 to get home the glorious food books I have acquired. The four bottles of wine I sent home with my brother (to save money on shipping, of course) were detained in LAX airport thanks to a ridiculous policy held by United Airlines (which was not on their Web site, thank you very much), and my partner chipped his tooth exactly one month before we actually get dental insurance. No, this cheese doesn?t come with any wine, but it does come with a nice curry. I?m a gal that likes to drown her sorrows in a fair bit of heavy duty cooking, followed by even heavier duty eating. Today, it was lamb curry from scratch. I?ve been able to get delicious legs of lamb from a local butcher, and I think it is fair to say, I?m lamb crazy. Nothing smells better than a leg of lamb roasting in your oven, unless that leg of lamb is accompanied by ten pounds of Nueske?s applewood smoked bacon. You know. The vegetable of the meal. The butcher boned the leg for me, and then trimmed the fat and cut it into 2 inch chunks. I found this recipe in one of my Tyler Florence books, which I really liked because it has you blend your own curry powder. The recipe can be found in Tyler Florence’s cookbook, Real Kitchen, but I will also post it at the end.
I mixed the spices and toasted them over low heat in a dry skillet, basically shaking the pan and heating them until I could smell it all throughout the house. A quick whirl in the spice grinder (just a coffee grinder, really) and I was set. This curry powder was so good, I also used it in my mango chutney recipe. The recipe itself was pretty straight forward. Brown the meat and remove.
Add onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves (I got mine fresh from an Asian store and will NEVER go back to dried) and curry powder until slightly soft and then put the meat back in along with some liquid (the recipe called for chicken stock, but I made lamb stock with the bone from the leg of lamb I got. Totally worth the effort), tomato puree and a little lemon juice.
Cook for a while, stir in some almonds, potatoes and raisins, keep cooking until the lamb is tender, yadda yadda yadda.
When the whole thing was done, I threw in a bit of yoghurt to even out the heat, and topped it off with some fresh cilantro.
And that was it?the Indian had made her first curry, topped it off with her first chutney, and ate it all up. This curry was so good, I made it again for some friends and we ended up scraping the last of it out of the pot with slices of bread. I know, I know…I am one classy broad.
Apu would have been proud.
Recipe: Tyler Florence’s Lamb Curry (with changes by Leena!)
Summary: Simply the best lamb curry recipe I have ever used. I love you, Tyler.
- 2 tablespoons of black mustard seed
- 2 teaspoons of coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons of freshly ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons of garam masala
- 2 teaspoons of tumeric
- 3 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 pounds of boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- Canola Oil
- 1 onion, small diced
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 3 cups of Lamb Stock (use chicken stock if you have to, but lamb tastes better)
- 1 cup of tomato puree
- 2 potatoes peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (I used Yukon Golds)
- 1/2 cup of raisins
- 1/2 cup of flaked almonds
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- cilantro to garnish
- toast all spices in a dry skillet over low heat, shaking constantly so they do not burn. When they are fragrant, remove cinnamon stick and grind the rest in a spice grinder until fine. Set aside.
- Salt and pepper the lamb, then using the canola oil and a giant pot, brown it on all sides and set aside on a plate. Do not overcrowd the pot! Do it in several small batches if you have to, otherwise the meat will not brown properly and not brown meat = not good curry. Cook the onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and toasted spices in the same pot until you can smell it, shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
- Add lamb back to pan and make sure to pour any juices that leaked onto the plate back into the pot. Add stock, tomato puree, lemon juice. Bring to a simmer (lightly bubbling), cover and lower heat, cook for 45 minutes.
- add almonds, potatoes and raisins, stir together in pot and cook for 30 more minutes. Make you stir it every once in a while or it will stick to the bottom and burn. Season with salt and pepper, and check to see if meat is tender.
- Remove from heat, mix in yogurt, top with cilantro and Leena’s kick-ass mango chutney and enjoy! note
*I like my curry spicy, so if you don’t, use only 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes. The yogurt really mellows out the heat, so you can also add more yogurt. *I like to use green cardamom pods and grind them with a mortar and pestle. Don’t buy ground if you can avoid it–it loses its flavor soon after they grind it.
Microformatting by hRecipe.