Keralan Lamb Stew

A tasty curry which, though mild enough to serve to the wimpiest non-curry aficionado, I find myself being asked to cook again & again by even hardened India hands.

About 3 lbs  of stewing lamb, neck or shoulder is best, either left on the bone or trimmed and cut into small chunks;  4 tbsp rice or veg oil; cinnamon sticks in 2″ pieces, about 2 or 3; 10 cloves; 10/12 green cardamom pods; 2 tsp black peppercorns; 1 lb onions finely sliced; 2″ fresh ginger, peeled then finely sliced and cut into ‘matchsticks’; 6 whole long green chillies slit down the centre; 1 lb potatoes, peeled, big enough to cut into 4 lengthways and give you thick wedges; 1 pint thin coconut milk; 1/2 lb ‘banana’ shallots, peeled and thin sliced; a handful of fresh curry leaves or about 2 tbsp of dried; 2 tbsp lime juice.

For this you will need a large casserole.  Heat the oil and when hot put in the cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamoms, and peppercorns.  Stir to coat with oil, then add the onions and ginger.  Cook until the onions are translucent, then add the lamb, green chillies and 1 pint of the coconut milk.  Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for about 35 mins.  Add the potatoes, bring back to the boil and then fast simmer for about 20 mins or until the potatoes are soft enough to push a fork into but not falling apart.

Heat a little more oil in a small pan and saute the shallots until they are nicely browned.  Add the curry leaves and stir through. Put in the remaining coconut milk and when it comes to a simmer add the whole pan to the stew stirring it in along with the lime juice.

The result will be a delicious creamy stew, the chillies will have lost all their heat, the lamb will be mouth-wateringly tender and just watch people fighting over the potatoes!  Serve in large bowls,  just accompanied by Naan Breads to wipe up the last bit of juice!

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