We both love lamb, especially if it is cooked right, even though we don’t eat it all that much. And I love curries of all kinds – Indian, Thai, Chinese, etc., it doesn’t really matter. They are all good to me. I made a deliciously warm Indian lamb curry that was perfect for a cold and chilly night. It warmed us up from the inside out, just like a curry is supposed to do. It was most definitely a delicious win/win for us.
There is an infinite array of curried dishes from around the world. A curried dish is more a style of cooking rather than any particular recipe. In Indian dishes, a curry is simply a recipe of any combination of fish, meat, chicken, vegetables or tofu that is in a spicy “gravy” or sauce. They normally contain a wide variety of different spices too. They can be hot and spicy or mild or anywhere in between. You can add as little or as much heat as you like. The only common characteristics of curry, no matter where they hail from, is the use of chilies, spices, garlic and onions. Other than that, the infinite possibilities are left to the maker’s own imaginations and creativity.
Curries, from Southeast Asia to the Middle East to India, have been a staple of eastern cuisine for centuries. No one really knows the exact origins of curried dishes, but we do know that people have been using spices to “cure” and flavor meats since 2500 BCE and even earlier. It is believed that these different “curried” spices and flavors traveled around the Middle East and through the East via the Silk Route, and from there, they made their ways into Spain and Portugal and Southern Europe, and then expanded on to the rest of the world. As with anything that is so widely popular, each region has its own unique style and flavors, making for many, many delicious possibilities and varieties that can be found around the globe.
The traditional method of using spices in curries is to make a ‘tarka’, or pan fry spices in oil first. The heat releases the flavors and infuses them in the oil, which is then poured over the main ingredients. This process also mellows out some of the harsh tones of the raw spice mixes.
Indian curries, in particular, are known throughout their home country as a dish that brings people together, either for a quick snack or a decadent meal shared by family and friends. This is a trend that has been brought to many countries with Indian communities, and undoubtedly when most people think ‘curry’, they think of delicious Indian food, though as I stated above, there are many wonderful and different versions of curry from around the world.
This is but one of an infinite collection of fabulous curries. I don’t think I will really ever be able to try ALL the curries available, but I am certainly willing to give it my very best efforts. 🙂
Indian Curried Lamb
3 cinnamon sticks (I used 1 TBSP of cinnamon nibs instead this time though)
4-6 whole cloves
either 4 whole green cardamom pods or about 1 tsp of dried caradmom
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
2-3 bay leaves
1-2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced very thin
1 1/2-2 lbs lamb, cubed
2-3 tomatoes, diced medium
1 1/2 TBSP garlic
1 TBSP ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1-1 1/2 cups green beans, cut into pieces about 1 inch in size
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups water
salt & pepper to taste
Heat the tarka ingredients together and cook in about 1 TBSP olive or cooking oil for about 1-2 minutes.
Once the tarka is ready, add the lamb and more oil and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
Add all the vegetables except for the tomatoes and the remaining spices and combine well. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, water, salt & pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for an additional 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the lamb, potatoes and vegetables are tender, the curry is done. Serve over rice or lentils. I chose to serve it over red lentils this time for something a little different.
I chose a rich, creamy, buttery chardonnay to compliment the meal. The rich creaminess of the chardonnay helps cut down the heat and the spiciness of the sauce. Delicious!
Happy New Year Everyone! May 2022 be better than 2021 for one and for all. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.