Sunday, January 22, 2006

Indian Lamb Curry

This is a basic lamb curry that's easy to prepare and very authentic tasting due to the indian spices used. Traditionally, the lamb is cooked together with the sauce for about 1 hour, but from my experiences, the meat tends to dry out that way. Therefore I prepare the lamb seperately and just add it to the sauce at the very end.

for 2 people:


1 pound boneless lamb (cut into 1 inch cubes)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (to sauté onions)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (to sauté lamb)
1 medium size yellow onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 medium size tomatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons curry leaves
handful of chopped cilantro (optional)

the spice mix:
2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1-3 dried chilies (depending on how spicy you like it)

update: if you're interested in trying a recipe like this but you don't quite feel like buying all those spices you'll need, email me (info under my profile) and I'd be happy to ship you some samples free of charge.


Prepare some rice in a rice cooker. Rice cookers are a must have in my opinion and there's a wide variety out there. I would get one that's big enough to be used as a steamer as well, like this Panasonic model.

Let's start by preparing the sauce. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, heat over medium heat, add onions and sauté for about 15 minutes until browned. Add ginger and garlic, mix for 1 minute and stir in the tomatoes. Keep cooking at medium heat until most of the tomatoes' liquid is absorbed.

In the meantime, put all ingredients for the spice mix into a mortar (you can buy one at Silom Supermarket or read more about it in this previous post) and pound until smooth. Add half of the spice mix to the tomatoes in the skillet and stir. Use the other half to rub into the lamb cubes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully add 1 tablespoon at the time of the yogurt and constantly stir to avoid the yogurt from curdling. Stir until all the yogurt is smoothly mixed into the sauce. Add curry leaves and water and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the sauce reaches a thickness you like. You can also throw in a whole chili to make the sauce more spicy or just to make it look more beautiful when served in a dish!

While the sauce keeps on cooking, start heating the rest of the oil over very high heat in a non-stick skillet or preferrably a wok. Once the oil is very hot, add the cubes of lamb and fry quickly on all sides no longer than 1 minute total. It is very important to do this over high heat to give the lamb a nice color outside but still keep it juicy inside. I use my cassette feu for that. Or Amazon has a portable butane burner.

Put the lamb into the sauce, stir to cover it with sauce all around and simmer it for another 2-3 minutes. Pour into a serving dish and decorate with the cilantro (optional).

If you're interested in some serious indian cooking, you won't get around the book by Neelam Batra: 1000 Indian Recipes.


At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Joey said...

Hey, I LOVE curry. If any of you are ever in Austin and feel a hankering for some curry go eat at the Clay Pit. Or just make Dan's thing.....thats an option too....

I tried out that zopf bread recipe, and after some quick metric conversions I had something that I think came out somewhat right. I added some honey to sweeten the dough a bit, but not much. Its a pretty tasty bread I gotta say.

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Dan said...

now you really convinced me to finally convert all the metrics and write down both versions. i wouldn't want to go ahead and convert stuff before cooking! so thanks for bringing that up. it'll be fixed.

good idea with the honey! i'll try that next time...

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous jenny said...

dan, is the lamb still rare when the curry is finished? i haven't tried it yet, but it seems that it may still be pink after just 1 min searing and a few minutes simmering. just curious, thanks!

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Jenny, if you cut the lamb into about 1 inch cubes, it will still be slightly red inside, but just a bit! it is very important you saute over very high heat for a short time only to give it a nice color outside, but to not dry it out. once you put the lamb back into the sauce, it will really only take a few more minutes to cook it through. if you prefer your lamb to be completely well done (which i wouldn't recommend), leave it in the sauce for another extra 1-2 minutes or so...


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