This weekend I made a trip to the nearest ethnic supermarket. My dals were running out. Curry leaves depleting. And I needed quality lamb to warm my frozen Bengali veins.
The trip had been avoided for ages. Both my local supermarkets now sport “Asian” sections. The joy of being able to buy bags of green finger chillies with a case of French wine has been life changing. I save the special trip for when I really need to restock most of my supplies. Also buy meat on the bone for rich, flavoursome curries.
I jumped out of the car narrowly avoiding being run over. Mentally derided myself for wearing a floor length pure Angora coat to this monument to dust, exposed vegetables and spices. Apologised a thousand times for bumping into a hundred auntyjis.
And ended up buying overpriced “best quality” lamb. Thanks, I croaked, as I contemplated how best to transfer the meagre, meat-coated change from my Â£10 (for 1 kg) into my beautiful leather purse. While my man looked on in disgust.
This lamb needed a recipe worth the pain and the pleasure. I came across one while researching birthday cakes on a certified inspirational passionate baker. It’s Deeba’s Gosht Dopiaza, a North Indian lamb stew cooked with double onions. The sweetness of the onions and tomatoes was out of this world with the hearty meat and whole spices.
But never mind what I think. This is Deeba’s mom’s favourite recipe. Moms know best. My man summed it up eloquently with “this kicks arse”. He has also forgiven me for dragging him to the spice shop and offered to make it a weekly treat.
For this recipe, I might even agree. PS= Deeba advocates the addition of green chillies, but her original recipe was spicy enough to clear our collective sinuses and heads. Proceed with caution PPS = The garam masala powder was my addition to balance the flavours and can be omitted altogether
Slice two onions finely and fry in the oil on a high heat in a large pan. In the meantime, peel and mince / puree the ginger and garlic. As the onions turn golden, add in the lamb and fry for another five minutes sealing them well.
Now add the yogurt and keep sauteing for another five minutes. Stir from time to time and chop the remaining onions and the tomatoes into one-inch pieces . Next, mix in the whole masalas, paprika and chilli powder and mix through. Then stir in the ginger, garlic and onion pieces.
I next added half a cup of hot water and left the lamb to cook covered on a medium high flame for half an hour stirring viciously every few minutes. Finally, I took the cover off and let it dry up and keep softening for another half an hour. If you have a pressure cooker, this will take no more than one whistle plus 25 minutes on a low flame.
Stir in the garam masala when the lamb just melts in your mouth. Spoon into bowls and attack with ready made naan.