We couldn't begin National Curry Week without sharing with you a recipe from our book My Modern Indian Kitchen. This recipe stands out in the curry crowd because it is finished off with a lovely, rich, fresh spinach puree, which complements the beautifully tender lamb meat. The spinach puree packs a healthy punch of iron, and it includes potatoes which act as a good ‘filler’, meaning that you don’t need bread or rice on the side. That's dinner sorted for at least one night this week!
1 kg/2 ¼ lbs. leg of lamb on the bone, portioned into pieces rice or naan bread, to serve
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Holy Trinity Paste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red chilli/ chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons natural/ plain yogurt
1 teaspoon gram/ chickpea flour
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
a 1.5-cm/ ½ -inch piece of cassia bark
2 star anise
6 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fine julienne of fresh root ginger
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tomato purée/paste
1 large tomato, chopped (core and seeds removed)
5 potatoes (Maris Piper or Yukon Gold, about 430 g/15 oz. in total), peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander/ cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
400 g/14 oz. fresh baby
1 tablespoon ghee, melted
Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a large mixing bowl, add the lamb and stir to coat. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours.
To make the curry sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, add the cassia bark, star anise, cloves and cardamom pods. Fry for 1 minute to release the natural oils, then add the cumin seeds and fry for a further 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic and fry until lightbrown.
Add the onions and salt and fry gently until completely softened and golden-brown. (This may take 25–30 minutes, but be patient and allow the onions to fry slowly.)
Add the marinated lamb, mix well and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to seal the meat.
Add the tomato purée/paste, stir in and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 15 minutes or until the tomato completely melts into the sauce. Once the sauce has become nice and rich, add 1 litre/quart of water and the potatoes. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
To make the spinach purée, put the baby spinach into a food processor and pour in the melted ghee. Blitz the spinach and ghee together until the mixture forms a purée. Set aside.
Add the garam masala, fresh coriander/cilantro, mint, spinach purée and lemon juice to the sauce and mix well. Remove from the heat and serve with rice or naan bread.
For more ideas to cook this National Curry Week, check out My Modern Indian Kitchen by Nitisha Patel.