Curry: fragrant dishes from India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, 352pp.
commissioning editor, Jeni Wright
Dorling Kindersley, Melbourne, 2006
Cooking on page 32
We love curries from all over the world, so I was delighted to receive this as a gift a few years ago. I love the cover. How can you resist a book that’s hot pink and chartreuse with a couple of red-hot chillies? Recently I saw a new edition with a very subdued cover.
The title implies the book covers India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia only, but there are recipes from far beyond. The 10 contributing chefs, including the well-known Sri Owen and David Thompson, present dishes from 12 Asian countries as well as Africa, the Caribbean and Great Britain.
Today’s page-32 recipe is Rajasthani and from Vivek Singh’s chapter on North India.
Lamb and sweetcorn curry (makai ka soweta)
1kg (2 1/4lb) boned shoulder of lamb, cut into 2.5cm (1in) cubes
100g (3 1/2oz) ghee or corn oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 green cardamom pods
4 black cardamom pods
2 cinnamon leaves or bay leaves
750ml (1 1/4 pints) lamb stock or water
450g (1lb) canned sweetcorn, drained and coarsely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
30g (1oz) coriander leaves, chopped
300g (10oz) yogurt
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp salt
200g (7oz) onions, finely chopped
75g (2 1/2oz) garlic cloves, finely chopped
12 green chillies
Mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Add the cubes of lamb and turn to coat them, then cover and set aside for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the onion paste by blending together the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan over a moderate heat, then add all the spices and the cinnamon or bay leaves. As the spices crackle, add the marinated cubes of lamb, with the marinade, and turn up the heat to high. Cook for 12–15 minutes or until all the moisture has evaporated, stirring constantly.
Next add the onion paste and cook for a further 10 minutes, still stirring to ensure that the paste does not stick to the pan and burn. Pour over the lamb stock and reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the meat is about 85 per cent cooked.
Add the sweetcorn and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The dish is ready when the consistency is glossy. Remove from the heat, check the seasoning and transfer to a heated serving dish. Finish with the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Serve with steamed rice or bread.
How it played out
With all the ‘stirring constantly’ advice, you might think this is a time-consuming recipe. In reality it comes together fairly quickly. While the meat marinated, I brought all the other ingredients together and made the onion paste. I ran out of garlic after 60 grams and used just six chillies to cater for a friend who is still on his chilli training wheels.
I used ghee rather than corn oil—did you know that Rajasthanis love their ghee and often have ghee-eating competitions. I like to cook with it, but to eat it straight? Blech.
Anyway, it took almost 20 minutes for the moisture to evaporate (in fact, it never did completely), but I didn’t need to stir constantly. I used a non-stick pan, kept a close eye on proceedings and stirred every 90 seconds or so. I managed to wash the food processor between bursts of stirring.
Because not quite all the moisture evaporated, I added only 500–600 mls of vegetable stock (more flavour than water) and followed everything else.
Served with rice and a sensational mint sambol from another page 32.
We visited Rajasthan last year and enjoyed some authentic dishes while there. This dish is an excellent representative of that cuisine, and one that I’ll definitely add to the repertoire for my curry feast nights. Might try making it with goat the next time. Yum, yum!
P.S. You can check out some of our travels in India on my other blog.