Monday, 24 September 2012

Two lamb curries

I'm really going to have to fight the urge to have a moan again. If people aren't stealing things from me at the moment (passport, driving licence, phone et al) I'm breaking my own things by dropping them (another phone) or having things taken from my grasp at the last moment just when all the arrangements have been made (a house). And it's raining. Woe is me.

I will fight the urge. No more complaining. This is a food blog, not a lifestyle complaints blog, and I'll never win any awards if I carry on like this. That, in case you were wondering, was a not very subtle hint.

*Shameless self promotion alert*. I'm very lucky to have been shortlisted in the category for 'Best food and drink blog' at the Blog North Awards, so on the off chance you like what you read here, your vote would be greatly appreciated. Failing that I'd recommend that you take some time to read some of the other blogs on the shortlist, there are plenty of talented people in the North sharing their words and thoughts.

Back to the real point of this post. If your spirits are down and it's pissing it down, what better remedy than to cook a curry. This is really just the one curry, split in half at the last and customised two different ways for a slightly different finished article.

Both versions are gently warming, aromatic rather than fiery, and richly satisfying with either rice or bread. The aubergine version has a smokier taste, the chickpea one is nutty with a pleasing tang and sweetness from the addition of tamarind.

This takes around 3 hours from start to finish but you'll only actually be doing anything for half an hour or so. It might look like a lot of ingredients and effort, but it really isn't. For the most part it's a case of throwing stuff in a food processor and leaving a pan to simmer.

Serves about 4-6 people in total

Base ingredients
2 onions
tin tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
900g lamb shoulder
bunch coriander leaves
vegetable oil

Wet curry blend
8 cloves garlic
1 or 2 long green chillies
2 thumb sized piece of ginger
stalks from a bunch of coriander

Dry curry blend
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 dsp cumin seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
2 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds

for the aubergine version
6-8 baby aubergines
1 tsp cumin seeds
oil and sea salt

for the chickpea version
400g tin chickpeas
1 dsp tamarind sauce

What to do

1. Peel and quarter the onions, then chuck them in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Put them in a large pan to sweat on a low heat with a splash of oil.

2. Roughly chop all of the wet curry blend ingredients, then chuck them in the food processor and blitz into a loose paste with a splash of water.

3. Put all of the dry curry blend ingredients in a dry frying pan and heat over a medium heat until they start to brown just a little and become aromatic. Tip them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, leave to cool for a few minutes then grind to a powder.

4. Trim and chop the lamb into bite sized chunks. The onions should have started to soften by now so remove them from the pan, turn up the heat and throw in the lamb to brown it.

5. After the lamb has browned for a few minutes remove it from the pan and put it with the onions. Put the pan back on the heat and throw in the wet curry blend. Fry, stirring so it doesn't stick, for a minute or two. Add more oil if it needs lubrication.

6. Throw the dry curry blend ingredients into the same pan and fry for another minute or two, then add the onions and lamb back into the pan, and fry for another couple of minutes.

7. Pour in the tin of tomatoes plus one empty tin's worth of water, then add the tomato puree and give it a good stir. Bring to a gentle simmer, put a lid on the pan, and leave it be for a good two hours. Give it a stir after an hour or so if you feel like it.

8. After two hours the sauce should still be quite runny but the lamb should be tender. At this point set the oven to maximum heat, prick the aubergines then give them a coating of oil, sea salt and a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

9. Split the curry into two separate pans, half in each. Put the aubergines into the oven, roast the hell out of them until the edges are slightly blackened and the innards mushy. This will only take ten minutes or so.

10. Into one pan of curry put the chickpeas, drained of all the can juices, and a spoonful of tamarind sauce (you could make tamarind juice up yourself from pulp, but I find this works just as well). Bring it to a gentle simmer with the lid off for about twenty minutes.

11. Bring the other pan of curry to a gentle simmer as well, and keep it bubbling gently with the lid off. As soon as the aubergines are ready chuck them straight in.

12. The curries are ready to serve as soon as the sauce has reduced to your liking. Garnish with coriander leaves and eat with rice and breads.


Karen said...

They look great! Might add them to my curry repertoire...

Dave said...

Hi Karen, thanks. They're defo worth a try, just had the leftovers for my tea tonight.

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