It seems like its been years since I cooked a lamb curry, so long in fact that I’m afraid I’ve long lost my go-to recipe, and had to do a quick on-line search for this one when my wife and I both had a craving for the dish over the weekend. Many that I came across were fairly elaborate dishes requiring building curry flavors through a combination of up to a dozen spices, not exactly what I had in mind as I raced around on Saturday afternoon pulling together ingredients. The base of this recipe is by Mark Bittman and is a simple curry made with not much more than a handful of ingredients, and store bought curry powder.
It’s quick to get started in the pot, and can then be left largely undisturbed for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to braise on the stovetop. To Bittman’s base recipe I added back elements of my old, long lost fave curry by adding green peas to the stew, and setting out a more complex array of condiments than he suggests to serve alongside. I served it up on a brown basmati rice, topped with minced bacon, peanuts, scallions, cilantro, lemon seasoned yogurt, flaked coconut, and some Major Grey’s chutney. It was delicious! Ideally, use lamb stew meat already cut-up from a lamb leg or shoulder by your butcher. All I could find were lamb shanks which are a bit of a pain in the ass to butcher with all their connective tissue and silver skin (plus, who wants to pay for all that bone you end up throwing away!). In the end the meat worked just fine in satisfying our curry craving and the meal was met with smiles all-around. If you’re looking for an easy, straight forward curry to add to your repertoire, I dare say that THIS may become your new go-to as it has mine!
Cheers – Steve
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 2 Lbs boneless or 3 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
- 2 Tbs curry powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water, or more as needed
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts for garnish
- 1/2 cup Major Grey's chutney for garnish
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions for garnish
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut for garnish
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
- 3 slices bacon cooked, drained and chopped for garnish
- Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add about half of the meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, adjusting the heat and turning the pieces as needed so the meat doesn’t burn, until it’s nicely browned on all sides, 10 to 20 minutes. As the meat browns, transfer it to a platter and continue adding, seasoning, and cooking pieces until all the meat is browned.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, and cayenne if you’re using it and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the stock, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot; add the browned meat. The braising liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the meat; if it doesn’t, add more liquid. Raise the heat and bring to a boil; then lower it so that the mixture barely bubbles. Cover and cook, stirring every 30 minutes and adding small amounts of liquid if necessary, until the meat slides off a fork, at least 45 minutes and more likely up to 90.
- If the curry looks too watery, remove the lid, raise the heat a bit, and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens. If it looks too dry, add a little more stock or water and raise the heat until bubbly. Remove from the heat and stir in the thawed peas and yogurt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the cilantro, chutney, peanuts, yogurt, coconut, scallions, bacon bits, and serve.