I love a curry, but so often the reality doesn’t match up to the dream.
From the takeaway, the sauces all merge into one and at home when I try to use a no-fuss sauce in a jar it seems mostly to be either bland or overly salty. When I pull out Indian recipes to make a curry from scratch – yes, they look lovely, but I’m not often looking for a list of ingredients the length of my arm and I don’t want to be toiling over it for hours either.
I want everything – tender meat; fragrant spices; a light, tasty sauce and ingredients that I can get hold of easily … I want gorgeous food – no fuss.
And in the world of curry, I think I have found it. This recipe is from Anjum Anand’s book ‘I Love Curry’. She is well known for her light, modern, healthy take on Indian food and this dish really is a winner.
But what makes it so good? Here are 6 reasons why I think you should try it –
- The spices come from grinding whole spices and you know what that means? … fresh, fresh flavour. Don’t be overwhelmed by this. It helps to have a grinder – I use the one that fits on the bottom of my stick blender. It is fantastic for all sorts of things, so if you don’t have one, do consider treating yourself. Otherwise it’s a pestle and mortar … the upside being muscle definition – but probably only on one arm.
- It’s a ‘throw everything in the pan’ recipe – here’s the evidence …
- There’s a bit of chopping – onions and tomatoes … and a bit of grating – garlic and ginger – but the chillies go in whole so there are no ‘chilli finger’ disasters!
- There’s not even any browning of the meat – and yet it’s still gorgeously tender.
- I make the first stage of this dish the day before and do the final tweaks (like browning some onions to go on the top) just before eating …Perfect for when your evening is busy, or when you know you won’t be in the mood.
- And it’s ideal to serve if you have friends round for dinner too.
Living the dream … in curry terms anyway.
PS To make it even easier, I served it with three sachets of Tilda Lime & Coriander Steamed Basmati Rice and some M&S Naan bread (from the frozen section). Result.
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 15 black peppercorns
- 5cm cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 500g cubed lamb
- 3 onions - 2 of them finely chopped and 1 of them finely sliced
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 15g ginger, peeled weight, grated
- 6 garlic cloves, grated
- 3-6 medium-sized green chillies, whole but pierced
- salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200-300ml coconut milk
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
- A little chopped coriander to serve
- Using a spice grinder or a good pestle and mortar, grind the whole spices to a fine powder.
- Place the lamb, the 2 chopped onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chillies, spices and salt in a large saucepan. Add 500 ml water, bring to a boil, then cover and cook gently for 45 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked and tender. Stir the pan every 15 minutes or so. I tend to prepare up to this point the day before - allow it to cool and then cover and chill until the next day if you decide to do the same. I would leave it in the pan here - saves on washing up.
- Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the remaining onion until well browned. Reserve.
- Now bring the curry mixture back up to the boil and boil rapidly to reduce the sauce - this will take around 30 minutes and you will end up with only a little liquid left in the pan.
- Pour in the coconut milk and lemon juice, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes ; the sauce should be thick and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding lemon juice or coconut milk until the dish is perfect for you. Garnish with the browned onions and a little chopped coriander before serving.