Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Curry Dinner

Here's last week's curry dinner from the freezer, in its earlier incarnation when I first made it before Xmas. The vegetables are large yellow beans - which look a little like penne pasta in this picture - red capsicum, and green spinach.

It was based closely on a Madhur Jaffrey recipe called "Palag Ghosht".  I have actually cooked this before, and last year even blogged it here, but I like this variation even better. In this updated edition, it's a bright and fresh flavoured thing, with the spinach just barely cooked. The original recipe has the spinach cooked for 45 minutes,  which makes it a bit more the spinach puree types that you usually find in Indian restaurants. I also added some extra vegetables.

Recipe: Lamb and Spinach Curry
600g boneless lean lamb
a thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger
7 cloves garlic
2 tblsp whole coriander seed
75ml sunflower oil
1 medium onion, sliced in fine half-rings.
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
300g spinach
300g mixed vegetables

* Grind the coriander seed, finely grate the ginger and crush the garlic.
* Cut the lamb into 3cm chunks, and mix in the coriander, ginger and garlic.
* Mix well and set aside for an hour.
* Heat the oil and fry the onion until golden and crisp. Do not let them blacken.
* Remove the onion with a slotted spoon, and blot off oil on kitchen paper.
* Add the lamb and its marinade, with the turmeric, cayenne and salt to the remaining oil.
* Stir well and cover.
* Cook for ten minutes, lifting the lid to stir every couple of minutes.
* Add the yoghurt a tablespoon at a time, stirring well and allowing to simmer before adding the next spoonful.
* Add the fried onions.
* Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the meat is just tender.
* Add sliced beans, capsicum and simmer for ten minutes.
* Add finely shredded spinach leaves, stir well through and cook until just wilted.

I used hoggett chops - this is old lamb, not quite mutton yet, and you need a specialist butcher or meat grower to get it these days. A few of the market sellers have it in season. It's a little tougher, a little more strongly flavoured, and takes a little longer to cook than lamb.

I use an old cheap blade-cutting coffee grinder for spices. We upgraded to a proper burr grinder for the coffee, and it really makes a difference.

And the final gadget is a newish toy: a mini food processor, about 1 cup capacity. It's excellent for chopping the ginger and garlic, as well as for herbs.

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