Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Recipe: Lamb Curry with French Beans

After a long week, mainly filled with dreaming up and cooking up seasonal summer dishes, The Boy and I were in need of a good curry and were determined not to give up on our newly found self-sustainable lifestyle in favour of a takeaway. I've made a number of Thai curries from scratch in the past but decided it was high-time I attempted to make an Indian curry paste. A trip to Radmore Farm Shop for some locally reared lamb was all the incentive I needed to give it a try. I also picked up some green beans (regrettably, a little early for the British season so imported would have to do) and some fresh ripe tomatoes (UK grown) to add to the sauce.

I'm a huge fan of Indian food and I am definitely planning to start cooking more curries from scratch. For this first attempt, I started with a simple, fairly mild curry paste and added chilli flakes to adjust the taste and heat as I went along. Next time, I'd consider blitzing a chopped chilli with the onion. If you wish to follow the recipe below, make sure you've got a food processor or similar to hand so you can make the paste!

Ingredients (serves 2):

400-500g boneless lamb, cut into cubes - I used a mix of cubed lamb neck and leg 
2 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-2 large tomatoes, diced 
1 tbsp finely crushed garlic or garlic paste
1/2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1-2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt, to taste
Chopped coriander, to garnish (if you have it; my coriander plant died and I couldn't buy any British grown so I used dried coriander from the store cupboard instead).

What to do:

1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan (one which has a lid) over a medium heat and, when hot, add the thinly sliced onion. 
2. Sauté until pale golden brown and then drain using a slotted spoon and kitchen towel laid over a plate. 
3. Grind the onions into a smooth paste (adding just a little water if needed) in a food processor. Remove and put in a bowl to one side. 
4. Add the diced tomatoes (if the tomatoes you are using are very big, use only one as the juice can make the paste too liquid), garlic and ginger to the food processor and, once again, grind into a smooth paste and remove into a bowl for later use. 
5. Heat a little oil in the same pan and add the onion paste and fry gently for 2-3 minutes. Follow with the tomato paste and the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and red chilli powder, and garam masala.  
6. Gently fry the mixture until the oil begins to separate from it, which takes about 5-10 minutes. Add the lamb pieces, season with salt and stir until the mixture coats the lamb.
7. Sauté until the lamb is well browned, then add half a cup of hot water to the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan.
8. Cook the lamb for between 30 and 60 minutes, checking regularly and stirring, adding water if necessary, and keeping it from sticking as a thick curry/gravy forms. Taste the sauce and adjust the heat by adding chilli flakes / spices as necessary.
9. Just before serving, add the green beans and simmer for about 5 minutes until cooked to your liking. 
10. Serve with fluffy white basmatic rice with coriander sprinkled liberally on top.  

Enjoy! :-)