Sunday, April 22, 2007

Peter's Lamb Curry

I love curry! I think it is safe to say this is my favourite food. I love Indian, Malaysian, Thia, Indonesian curry' name it, I usually like it. So when a week or so ago I bought the Jamie Oliver book, The Naked Chef Takes Off, I had to try the entry entitled "Peter's lamb curry". It looked fabulous, even if it was a bit of today, I decided to give it a go.

At first I was a little intimidated, because I had never heard of "fenugreek seeds". I looked it up on my always knowledgable friend, Wikipedia, where it informed me that "The rhombic yellow to amber colored fenugreek seed, commonly called Methi is frequently used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders and pastes, and is often encountered in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. The young leaves and sprouts of fenugreek are eaten as greens and the fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor other dishes. The dried leaves (called kasuri methi) have a bitter taste and a strong characteristic smell".

I had no idea where to even get it. So I asked my Indian colleague who kindly informed me, that yes, Indians do use it a lot in their cooking and he even told me an Indian store where I could buy it. So I took the short detour after work on Friday to Langly Park and found the Patel Brother's Indian store, where they sold huge bags of it for only 99c. I think it is now safe to say that I have a lifetime supply of fenugreek seeds!!

So, after 3 hours of cooking to get the "best Indian curry", according to Jamie, my verdict is....well, that its pretty good. I wouldn't say the best I have ever had, but it was very tasty. I actually couldn't get any lamb at the grocery store this week, so I used beef instead, which I don't think affected the taste too much. So without further ado, here is Peter's Lamb curry recipe.

Peter's Lamb Curry
(Serves 8)

1 hot and fragrant rub recipe (see below)
2 tbs butter
2 14oz cans of chopped tomatoes
1 cup stock or water
3 1/2lb of lamb, diced
1 handful of chopped mint and cilantro
1 cup plain yogurt (I used fat free)
salt and freshly ground pepper
lime juice to taste

Curry Paste
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
2 tennis-ball sized red onions, peeled
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 fresh chillies, with seeds
1 bunch cilantro

Hot and fragrant spice rub
2 tbs fennel seeds
2 tbs cummin seeds
2 tbs coriander seeds
1/2 tbs fenugreek seeds
1/2 tbs black peppercorns
1 clove
2 cardamom pods
1/2 a cinnamon stick
salt and freshly ground black pepper

lightly toast all the ingredients in a pan over a gently heat before crushing into a fine powder.

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly toast the hot and fragrant rub mix and then chop the paste ingredients roughly. Add the rub and paste ingredients to a food processor and puree. In a large casserole dish, fry the curry paste mixture with the butter until golden, stirring regularly. Add tomatoes, stock or water and bring to the boil. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours to let the flavors intensify. This is the basic curry sauce.

2. Fry the lamb in a little olive oil until golden then add to the curry sauce and simmer for an hour or until tender. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and mint and stir in the yogurt. Season to taste and add a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with basmati rice.

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