Welcome back to my blog, and this week to one of my favourite recipes. The word ‘curry’ was adopted and anglicized from the Tamil word kari, meaning ‘sauce’ and this is a delicious, easy-to-make version, using both minced and whole lamb!
Start by slicing a couple of onions and fry for five to ten minutes, then add chopped, crushed garlic to taste, and fry for a further five minutes. I like to use about six cloves. Someone told me I could use chopped onion from a jar and garlic paste, but watering eyes and stinky hands are part of cooking for me, and I just love the smell of them frying! I like to use virgin olive oil, but you can use any oil or ghee.
Then brown 250g of minced lamb and about the same amount of chopped lamb. Add a WHOLE jar of Patak’s Madras curry paste (283g), two tins of plum tomatoes and a squirt of tomato paste. I’ll also add a stock cube or two here, lamb if I can get it, otherwise beef. Add about a tinful of water, the onions and garlic and put the meat to simmer for 45 minutes.
I like to add additional spices, as there is a lot of meat and vegetables to flavour, so I’ll put a heaped teaspoonful or two of whatever takes my fancy onto a saucer – ground cumin, paprika, coriander etc. and about four to six heaped teaspoonfuls of hot chilli powder – to create a spicy mix.
Fry the spices in oil for a few minutes, then add to the meat and stir well. Add in a few bay leaves and some cardamom pods, bearing in mind that not everyone likes spitting out the inedible pods!
There’s nothing I like more in a curry than juicy cauliflower, so chop half to three quarters of a medium cauli into small florets and add to the mix once the 45 minutes are up. Then peel and chop three medium carrots and add. Finally, peel two to three medium spuds, chop and add. I’ve found by doing the veggies in this order they will be equally cooked. By this stage there is a lot of food so I divide it into two pans.
Let the curry simmer for a further 30-45 minutes, adding four medium chopped tomatoes after 15 minutes. Then test to see if the cauliflower is tender but still al dente, and that the other vegetables are also cooked. Towards the end of the cooking throw in a couple of handfuls of frozen peas. Finally, check the spiciness and add a teaspoonful or two of crushed chillis to [lip-numbing] taste!
That’s it. Serve with basmati rice, chopped fresh coriander, yoghurt, diced fresh tomato and cucumber, lime pickle, or whatever takes your fancy. And for those with hollow legs, or if you’ve a horde to feed, add a selection of poppadoms, naan breads, puris, and chapatis. Serves eight to ten and freezes beautifully. Enjoy!