This curry is really special. It originates in Awadh, India. It takes raw whole spices and yoghurt and transforms them into a delicious sauce over time. It is a kind of lazy simple curry involving little preparation and attention. The list of ingredients is short and there is no pounding in a mortar and pestle and best of all no worry. Just place your heaviest the pot on your smallest burner on and cook on a small flame until the meat is tender and you are ready for dinner. As with all curries this will be even better the next day.
The spices are key here. The list is short and if you wish to make this curry you should make sure you use all of the spices listed. No omissions or substitutions please. The spices will meld and mellow in the curry creating balance in the dish. Indian cooking has its roots in Ayurveda, a traditional system of Hindu medicine which seeks to create a balance of the body, both mental and physical, through food. Each ingredient in a dish is believed to have its own properties and role to play.
When making this curry take time to examine each on its own noting individual characteristics of colour, fragrance, size, fragility. Find pleasure in creating your meals and perhaps find a bit of balance.
The following recipe was written by Pushpesh Pant and published by Phaidon as India the Cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks. I have adapted it slightly by reducing the amount of ghee by half and used goat instead of lamb. I encourage you to find meat with bones for flavour although boneless will do. You will find that the yoghurt creates a beautifully textured and flavoured sauce in conjunction with the juices of the meat and spices. You must use at minimum 3% mf yoghurt have this beautiful gravy. Non-fat or reduced fat yoghurt can be used on your cereal if you insist on buying it.
Lamb or Goat with Whole Spices
* serves 4-6 people
1⁄2 cup ghee
250g (2 small) onions, sliced
15-25 cloves garlic, sliced lengthways
3″ piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
2 bay leaves
4 black cardamom pods
1⁄2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1⁄2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
6 green cardamom pods
2″ cinnamon stick
300g (3 small) tomatoes, chopped
1 kg (2.2lbs) lamb or goat cut into pieces
500ml (2 1⁄4cup) plain minimum 3% mf yoghurt
In a large heavy pot, heat the ghee over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of water and season with salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mixture looks paste like and the oil has separated out from the sauce. Add the meat and the yogurt. Cover and cook on your smallest burner on low heat until the meat is tender, 1 1⁄2 – 4 hours depending on the animal. Add more water during cooking if necessary and stir every so often so the bottom doesn’t catch and burn. Garnish with additional ginger slivers.