Lamb Rogan Josh

Monday 20 August 2018

My Todd is very fond of a curry, so every now and then I make one for him.  I have a few Indian cookery books that I like to use if I am making one from scratch. Yes, I confess, often I will just use a good jarred sauce (Lloyd Grossman makes lovely sauces) but the other day I decided to make him a Lamb Curry from scratch and Lamb Rogan Josh is one of his favourites. 

Curry's are not all that difficult to make.  They are like stews really, but with completely different spices and aromatics than what you normally use in a stew.   

This one uses cubed lamb. Neck fillet if you can get it, or leg of lamb.  I find it most annoying that in the shops you can normally only get New Zealand lamb when we raise beautiful lamb right on our own doorsteps.  I adore British/Welsh lamb.  It is beautiful.  For this curry I used New Zealand leg of lamb, cubed. 

To begin you will need to make a curry paste.  This is as simple as bunging a few ingredients into a blender/food processor and blitzing them until smooth . . . coriander stems (cilantro), red chili, cumin and coriander seeds, paprika, turmeric and tomato puree.  Its very simple.

To start the curry off  whole spices (cinnamon sticks, cardamom, bay leaf and cloves) are  fried in a bit of oil until quite fragrant, which only takes a few minutes.  Then you add the onion and the lamb, quickly browning it off, and then adding some garlic and grated fresh ginger root.

Next, you stir in the curry paste that you have made, making sure that the lamb is well coated in it and then a quantity of water is added.  The lamb is then simmered until the juices reduce and thicken and the lamb becomes very  tender . . . this takes about 45 minutes or so.

Finally you stir in some thick yogurt which makes the sauce somewhat creamy.  Oh, but it is quite delicious.  Its not as mild as most of the curries I make, but its not blast your head off hot either.  Todd really likes it. 

I like to serve it with Pilau Rice and poppadoms.  Have you discovered poppadoms?  They are like Indian potato chips,  or thin crisp tortillas, except they are made from ground lentils and fried until very crisp.  I buy them ready made and heat them in the oven.  You can buy them plain or with flavours added, the most common being garlic and coriander.  That is that crisp bread you see on the side there. Oh but they are some good!

*Lamb Rogan Josh*
Serves 4 

A moderately spiced curry from Kashmir in the North of India. This is an area which is famous for its aromatic and sumptuous curries! 

For the Lamb:
1 TBS peanut oil
1 (2 inch) cinnamon stick
5 whole cardamom pods slightly bruised
3 dried bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 onion, peeled and chopped
600g lamb neck fillet, trimmed and cubed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger-root, peeled and grated
100g fat free natural yogurt (scant half cup)

For the curry paste:
1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stems separated
1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 TBS tomato puree (tomato paste)
400ml water (14 fluid ounces)

First make the paste.  Put the coriander stalks, tomato puree, red chili, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, paprika, turmeric and garam masala into a small food processor.  Blitz to smooth.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, bay leaves, and cloves.  Fry for 2 minutes until very fragrant.  Add the onion and lamb.  Stir fry for 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger root.  Cook for a few minutes longer.  Stir in the curry paste and cook for a few minutes longer. Add the water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes until the meat is tender.  Stir in the yogurt. Garnish with the coriander leaf and serve.

A curry is a funny thing  . . .  you crave them, you make one and then you are happy not to have another one for a month or so until you start craving one again.   Over here they are quite traditional fare on Saturday nights or for eating after a pub crawl. My pub crawling days are long since over, but every now and then I do enjoy a good curry for our tea. This one makes a change from Chicken curry, and is moderately spiced.  Its very good.  Adapted from a recipe found on BBC Good Food.  Bon Appetit!


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