29 April 2012

Red Lamb Curry

Whenever my parents go to India, I send them on excursions to bring something back for me. Sometimes it's a tiffin, sometimes it's a pashmina. Last year I asked for English-language cookery books specialising in Kerala's cuisines.

They returned with three thin shopworn paperbacks by someone only named as "Mrs. K. M. Mathew." The books really didn't elaborate on her life--she edited a woman's magazine and became a cookery writer. Wikipedia added a tiny bit more information.

Naturally, her recipes do remind me of My Dear Little Cardamummy's. Mind you, I can see Mum making mental notes to "fix" them. I'll probably take the books over and ask her for suggestions as to make them...like how she would make them. She will, of course, say that she doesn't know or say something like "oh...it needs some...you know...(name spice) but not too much." No one cooks quite like Mum...

This Easter I decided to cook a number of curries, and turned to Mrs. Mathew's Flavours of the Spice Coast for inspiration. The curry was tasty and easy to prepare.

Don't let the two teaspoons of ground chillies it calls for scare you off--there is a bit of a zing, but it doesn't scorch the tastebuds. You can, of course, reduce the quantity, but I'd recommend serving it with a cooling raita, made of sour cream, cucumbers, onions, salt and pepper.

Red Lamb Curry
Adapted from Mrs. KM Mathew's Mutton Red Curry recipe found in Flavours of the Spice Coast.

Serves six


For the Masala
1dpsn (2tsp/10ml) ground chilli
0.75tsp (3.75ml) coriander seeds
0.5tsp (2.5ml) black mustard seeds
0.5tsp (2.5ml) cumin seeds
0.25tsp (1.25ml) whole black peppercorns
0.25tsp (1.25ml) fenugreek seeds
2.5cm (1") ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1Tbsp (15ml) vinegar

3-4Tbsp (45-60ml) flavourless oil
2 onions, sliced into thin lunettes
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
750g (1.5lbs) lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
0.75tsp (3.75ml) salt
500ml (2c) water

To make the masala paste,
Put the coriander, mustard, cumin, peppercorns and fenugreek in a frying pan, over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the seeds colour. When they begin to scent the air, remove from the pan and let cool on a saucer. When cooled, add to a mortar and pestle or grinder and grind with the ginger, garlic and vinegar, to a smooth paste, then set aside.

To make the curry,
In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmery. Add the onions and saute until golden. Stir in the tomatoes and the masala paste and cook for a few minutes. Turn down the heat to medium-low until the water evaporates and the oil begins to rise to the surface.

Tip in the lamb and add the salt, and mix well in the spicy tomatoey mixture, to coat the meat. Add enough water to cover the meat (you may need more or less than then 500ml called for). Stir well. Turn up the heat to medium and stir occasionally until it boils. Lid the pot and let boil for about five minutes.

Turn down the heat to a simmer, remove the lid, stir and reduce the liquid until the gravy thickens and clings to the pieces of lamb. Balance flavours to taste. When done, the The lamb should be fork-tender.

Serve over rice, with a dry veggie curry.

  • If you use an electric spice grinder, make sure it's one that can handle liquids.
  • I prefer meat curries with a thick gravy that clings to each piece of meat, which means it could blurble away, scenting your kitchen for a good while. Of course, if you want a thinner gravy, you it doesn't need to simmer as long. Mind you, if you want a thick gravy, but don't want a terribly long blurble, you can simply let it cook down over medium or medium-high heat).

I'm a quill for hire!

1 comment:

Katherine said...