Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lamb curry

The cold weather has made me want curry, even though it's hot weather food. I found wonderful lamb shoulder chops at Fairway for $5.99 a pound, so shunned the leg of lamb at twice the price. The loin chops were $18.99. So, in the US of A, I recommend the shoulder chop. It's good.

The butcher said, Good choice! (Does anyone know an unfriendly butcher? Do tell.)

My mother cooked from Charmaine Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook (1975), and I have one of the printings of the 1992 revised version. It is one of my favourite, most used books, even though it would seem to possess a laughable title. Complete? Asia??? But her writing and her introductions are wonderful reading , and I have dwelt long in the Indian and Indonesian pages, with frequent trips to Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

This is a curry I grew up with. Purists will snicker at the curry powder (this recipe is an exception in its use of a commercial powder). But the snickering will cease once the mouth is full.

I have all these spices in my tiny pantry - I consider them staples, even though some of them I use infrequently, like cardamom and cumin.

So, here it is, with some tweaks and changes in quantity.

This is for 2 people, with leftovers. Or 1 with lots of leftovers

Mutton Kari
Lamb Curry

3/4 kg (1 1/2lb) boned shoulder of lamb
1 Tbsp ghee or oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice [I used 1/2 Meyer lemon's juice]
garam masala*
[*Instead of grinding the garam masala spices together, I added them individually: 1 tsp coriander, ground; 1/2 tsp cumin, whole; 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1/4 tsp ground cloves; 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg; seeds from 2 cardamom pods; 1/4 tsp ground black pepper]
3 large tomatoes, chopped
[1 Tbsp tomato paste]
2 fresh chiles [I used 2 Tbsp dried chile with seeds]

Saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft and golden. Add ginger, curry powder and vinegar or lemon juice, stir. Add garam masala spices and stir to toast them. Add tomato paste. Add lamb and cook until the meat is coated with the spices. Add tomatoes and chiles. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender. The tomatoes should provide enough moisture.

I made yellow rice with currants, by adding 2 tsp of turmeric to 1 cup of toasting basmati rice before adding 2 1/2 cups of water, and 3 Tbps currants, after adding the water. Bring to boil, covered, switch off heat, allow water to be absorbed.


  1. I love lamb curry! And here in the land where curry is now the nation's favourite food, it's so easy to get really good spices and, if you're in a hurry, ready-made pastes. But now and again, to recall childhood, I'll have a simple dish made with curry powder - my mother's choice was always Vencatachellum's Madras - and suddenly I'm 11 again.

  2. mmmmmm i love curry! was introduced to garam masala by a Native American gentleman living in NYC who had served in India during WWII as an ambulance driver and learned a lot about Indian cuisine. The smell of toasting spices would fill his tiny apartment.

  3. Yum. I haven't had curry in a very long time. I'll have to find the motivation to make some soon, that is, if I can fix the fan in my you might know, the smell of curry can really linger.

  4. If you're looking for unfriendly butchers, come to Czech Republic. You'll find plenty.

  5. This sounds wonderful; I'm saving it for when we come back. I love these stew-y dishes. Have you ever had Fessun Jan? I bet you'd love it: chicken, pomegranates, walnuts. There's an excellent Persian restaurant around the corner, Persepolis, and no matter how many great things are on the menu, I always choose the Fessun Jan. I bet you'd like it.

  6. Hi Rachel - Yes, it s rather like being 11...I liked being 11.

    Paula - what an interesting man he must have been (be?)...short story material.

    Thomas - oddly, this one didn't, and I made another curry last night, and it didn't either. Not sure why. in real butchers or...fugitives from justice ? :-(

    Ellen, are you sippin' tropical punches??? - Hmmm, no I have not heard of Fessun Jan. But the pomegranate walnut combination is one I do know, in a paste. Persepolis has been added to the database..

  7. Ellen, that was dumb of me - forgot we're leaving the same day!

  8., we're leaving Friday. Have a great trip.

    I'm talking to myself again.

  9. Mmmm, I may have to make this, given or weather, and the husband's undying love for curry. Oh, and the little tub of divine-smelling homemade garam masala that another blogger gave me (refer to previous comment on the kindness of foodbloggers!).


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