The lamb in this rich curry is gently poached in spiced water to make sure it is tender and flavoured right through.
For the lamb
- 1kg/2lb 4oz boneless lamb leg, chopped into 2.5cm/1in chunks
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 4 dried curry leaves
- 1 cassia bark, broken
- pinch of salt
For the masala
- 2–3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and roughly pounded in a pestle and mortar
- 2 tsp Kashmiri curry masala (see tip)
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 2 bullet chillies, roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeds removed and sliced
- 1 tsp jeera masala (see tip)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tomato, cut into 6–8 pieces
- pinch jeera masala
- chopped fresh coriander
Put the lamb in a large lidded saucepan and add the garlic cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom, curry leaves and cassia bark. Cover with water and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 30–35 minutes. Skim the foam that rises to the surface by scooping it out with a spoon. Once cooked, drain the lamb and set aside. Discard the garlic, cardamom pods, curry leaves and cassia bark.
Meanwhile, in a separate large saucepan or casserole, heat the vegetable oil. Once hot, add the onions and gently fry for a few minutes over a medium–low heat until the onions start to brown. Add the chopped ginger and pounded garlic to the pan and continue to heat for a couple more minutes. Pour in a splash of hot water from the kettle to prevent the onions from burning. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat to its lowest setting and allow to cook for 5–10 minutes to soften.
Add the Kashmiri curry masala to the pan, cook for a minute or two before adding another splash of hot water (approximately 100-150ml) and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Stir in the salt, followed by the tomato quarters, chopped chillies and green pepper. Add another generous splash of water (100–150ml/3½–5fl oz) before mixing well. Cook for 10–15 minutes, continuing to stir until the ingredients have blended well and the oil has separated from the tomatoes. When the oil has risen to the top of the pan, it’s ready for the lamb.
Add the cooked lamb to the pot and stir together well. Stir in the jeera masala and turmeric, cook for a few minutes then add hot water to cover (approximately 750ml/1¼ pint). Cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes–1 hour on a low heat, stirring every now and then. Cook down to a fairly thick sauce, adding any extra water as needed to reach the desired consistency. Remove the lid for the last 15–20 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce down. Continue to cook until the oil has risen to the top of the pan again and the lamb is tender.
Stir in the freshly chopped coriander and tomatoes pieces and cook for a further 5–10 minutes. Serve in a dish and sprinkle with a pinch of jeera masala and chopped coriander. Serve with chapatis.
Jeera masala is a spice blend of roasted and ground coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
Kashmiri curry masala (or bassar curry powder) is a spice blend which is often homemade so the spices can vary. Typically it contains turmeric, fenugreek seeds, cumin powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder, olive oil, paprika and tandoori masala.
Both can be bought online or in Asian supermarkets.