This is my all time favourite curry to make. It’s adapted from a recipe my Indian friend gave me and the pungent flavour wins me over every time. You can use beef instead of lamb but simmer it for another 20 minutes or until the meat melts in your mouth. This is a great dish to make beforehand because it tastes better after a day or two.
1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-8 dried red chillies (depending on how hot you want the curry)
6 fresh curry leaves
5- 7 cloves garlic, chopped, or ten teaspoons of garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste or fresh chopped ginger
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 kg diced lamb
125g ghee or butter
100ml vegetable oil
4 medium onions, sliced
1 tin (400ml) of coconut milk
1 cup (250ml) water
6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind paste mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water
1 heaped teaspoon Garam Masala
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Making the curry paste: In a dry frying pan, dry roast the coriander seeds till they start to go brown, then pour into pestle and mortar or a food processor. Repeat this with cumin seeds and dried chillies. Add the salt and the curry leaves to the mortar or food processor and grind them into a fine powder without any lumps. Add the garlic and the ginger and pound or stir to form a thick paste. Leave aside.
Making the curry: dry roast the fennel seeds as you did for the coriander etc, set aside. Sprinkle the turmeric over the diced meat and make sure it’s all coated. Set aside.
Heat the butter and oil and add the onions and fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the meat and fry for 1 minute. Add 2/3 of the tin of coconut milk and the water and bring to the boil. Cook on a medium/high heat for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat right down so the liquid gently bubbles. Stir in the cardamom pods, the cinnamon stick and the fennel seeds.
Cook for 1 1/2 hours with the lid partially on, stirring occasionally to ensure it isn’t sticking. Add little bits of water if it reduces too much.
Add the tamarind, sugar and garam masala and cook for 5 more minutes or until the sauce thickens. Scoop out the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick before serving.
Lovely but so rich. A little goes a long way. I used the food processor to make the paste. I think it would of been better in the pestle and mortar. I chose the beef option as it was far cheaper than using lamb. - 07 Apr 2014