The choice of saucepan is very important – the ingredients should fill no more than a quarter of its depth, so you need quite a deep pan with a heavy base to retain an even temperature.
Kumar Mahadevan's recipe for this famous Kashmiri Indian lamb curry is a winner. The lamb becomes meltingly tender and the spices smell enticing as you’re cooking them.
- 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp cloves
- 3 brown cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp green cardamom pods
- piece of cassia bark
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 4 small dried chillies
- 1 kg red onions, sliced
- ½ tbsp crushed ginger
- ½ tbsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp crushed fresh chilli
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 kg cubed lamb (from a leg or shoulder)
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- tomato wedges and coriander sprigs, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan until almost smoking. Add the bay leaves, cloves, brown and green cardamom pods, cassia, fennel seeds and dried chillies and cook until sizzling. (The brown cardamom is the most fun – it always explodes and all its flavours go into the oil.) Add the onion and ½ tsp of salt and fry until the onion is brown and sweet.
Stir in the crushed ginger and garlic and then the turmeric, chilli powder and ground coriander. Stir in the crushed fresh chilli and add a little water to stop the spices from burning. Add the tomato, tomato puree and a good pinch of salt and stir well to combine. Turn the heat up to high and add the lamb, searing all over and coating in the flavours. Add a little more water. Cover with a lid and cook for 35–40 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the chopped coriander. Garnish with tomato wedges and coriander sprigs.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby. Creative concept by Belinda So.
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