Sunday, 18 September 2016


I love Indian food, I love eating it and I love cooking it.  I have always been intrigued by it and on the purchase of my first book by Madhur Jaffrey in 1986 (!) I set about trying to learn the secrets of the spicing and the textures, all so different to the food my Mum taught me to cook…
Since then I have tried many recipes and this has become my own curry, the one I cook when I can’t be bothered to follow a recipe.  I make no claims for its authenticity so I want no howls of outrage about my technique or ingredients but we love it.
As an aside, if you love Indian food I do urge you to book into dinner at one of Asma Khan’s Darjeeling Express events – cooking the food she was brought up with and drawing on the cooking of Hyderabad and Calcutta it really is some of the best, authentic, Indian cooking you will find in this country.
This recipe gives a thick smooth gravy (apparently what ‘curry’ means) which is well flavoured but not particularly hot – if you like your curries hot add more dried red chillies to the spice mix.  I will also admit to the fact that I now buy frozen pureed garlic and ginger, makes life so much easier...
Curry Powder - 2 tblsp. cumin seeds, 4 tblsp. coriander seeds, 1 tblsp. fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tblsp. cardamom seeds (and yes I mean the seeds out of the pod - good Indian supermarkets will sell the seeds by themselves), 2 inch cinnamon stick, 4 dried long red chillies, 12 cloves.

2 tblsp. vegetable oil

5 cardamom pods
6 cloves

0.5kg lamb shoulder, cut into 2" chunks

3 red onions
1 tblsp. grated ginger
1 tblsp. grated garlic
4 large ripe tomatoes chopped
Handful of chopped coriander
1 tbsp. tamarind paste

Put all the spices in a frying pan and warm over a low flame until you start to smell them – don’t try and rush this stage with a high heat as it will burn them…they should be ready after a couple of minutes.  Tip them into a spice grinder and grind until you have a fine powder.
In a large frying pan heat half the oil and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes until the onions are soft.  Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes.  Once everything is collapsed blend it – I do it by putting everything in a bowl and using a stick blender but whatever works for you.
Give the frying pan a quick wipe out then add another tblsp. of oil.  Heat it then, once hot, add the cloves and cardamom. Once they are sizzling add the tomato onion paste, cook for a minute or two then add 2 tblsp. of the spice powder.  Stir everything round briskly for a couple of minutes, making sure it doesn’t catch, then add the lamb.  Keep stirring for a few minutes then add half a pint of water.  Make sure everything is well mixed then turn down to simmer for an hour.  Check from time to time to make sure it’s not getting too dry.
At the end of the cooking time check that the lamb is tender – if not, give it a bit more time.  Add the tamarind and coriander, give it all a good stir and taste – it might need a bit of salt.
I usually serve this with dal and a vegetable.  My current favourite vegetable is spinach and potatoes.  Take a large bag of spinach, put it in a frying pan and let it wilt in the heat then drain and chop. At the same time cut a couple of potatoes up into 1” cubes and boil for 10 minutes, drain.  Heat a tblsp. oil in a frying pan and add a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon each of coriander and fennel seeds.  Toss the potatoes in this, once coated add the spinach, then add a dash of water and let the whole thing cook and homogenise for five minutes.  Add a bit of salt to taste.



1 comment:

  1. Loving your blog! Great to see that you love Indian food too.

    Have you heard about Ruby & Pickles? It's the supperclub I co-run and we are popping up in Camberwell on Sat 26 Nov. You can find out more at or via our social media channels: Twitter & Instagram @rubyandpickles or Would be great to see more local food fans there!