Monday, September 15, 2014

Lamb Curry

Lamb Curry

When I made this for the first time I hardly ate any of it. I know this may be hard to believe, but I took two bites, put the spoon down and sighed.

"It's almost too much, Like a rich dessert," I said to myself in a stupor.

I just stared at the bowl, moaned with pleasure and made plans to make it last for a few days. It was just too much, and too good, to be finished in just a single meal.

I LOVE LAMB. OK I've said it before and I will say it again. It's one of the cutest of meats, baby lambs are just so soft and fuzzy... and friendly... they will just nuzzle up in your arms and go to sleep... So... Are you going to eat that? 'cause I'll take it if you're not.

Don't be afraid of over-marinating. Marinate for 24 hours, or 48 hours, it'll be worth it I swear. I always hate it when a cookbook says you can marinate things for 4 hours. Sure you can, but there is hardly any point, especially if you are going to marinate in the refrigerator.

For the Marinade
3 medium red onions rough chopped
1 Tb cayenne pepper
1 Tb ground cumin
1/2 Tb tumeric
1/2 cup yogurt
1 Tb garam masala
3 teas salt

2 lbs leg of lamb cut into bite sized pieces

For the Gravy
3 Tb Oil
5 green cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teas cumin seeds
1 Tb ground coriander
4 green chilies
1 medium tomato chopped
2 cups water
1 cup yogurt
4 Tb chopped cilantro to garnish

Combine all the non-meat ingredients for the marinade in a blender or food processor and blend until it's a homogenous paste. Toss the meat in the marinade and mix well. cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least overnight and as much as 2-3 nights. If you only have 4-6 hours, massage the marinade into the meat every 30 minutes and keep it turning.

On the day of cooking, heat the oil in a large pan, add the whole spices (cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cumin seed) allow them to heat and crackle in the oil for a minute. Immediately add the ground coriander and the lamb with marinade and stir-fry on high heat for 5 minutes.

At this point you want to cook all of the juices out of the lamb and the marinade, this should take 20 minutes or so. Do this on medium-low heat. Only simmer, if the pan heats up to a full boil the proteins in the meat will clench up and become rubbery.

Once the meat is mostly dry increase the heat and caramelize the meat. When you see oil separating from the rest of the marinade it's done. this is called Bhunao and it essential to properly flavored Indian food.

Once the meat is browned and the sauce is done bhunao(ing), then you add the tomato, green chili and 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of water. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lamb is tender.

Put half of the lamb curry into a airtight container and send it to me. Enjoy the rest hot.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Butter Chicken

I think of butter chicken as the General Tso's chicken of Indian food. Sweet, rich, a little spicy, and nothing too far from the norm of the western palette. Of course, this dish originated in Britain. I still love it. Just because it didn't come from India originally doesn't mean it's not authentic... OK maybe it does. But it's delicious, thats all that should matter. Good day sir.

For marinade
1 lbs cubed Boneless chicken
1 T Lemon juice
1 T Cayenne
1/3 c Greek yogurt
2 T Ginger garlic paste
1/2 t Cayenne
1 t Garam masala
2 t Ghee

For gravy
2 T Butter
2 Green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
3 Black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
2 T Ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup Tomato puree
1/2 t Cayenne
2 T Sugar
Large pinch methi leaves
3 T Half and Half

First sprinkle the lemon juice and cayenne over the chicken breasts and let sit for 30 minutes. While it's resting, mix the the ginger and garlic pastes, red chill and garam masala powders, salt and ghee. Apply all of the above to the chicken and let it marinate overnight. Skewer the marinaded chicken and put into a 400 F oven for 10 minutes or grill. Remove the chicken and set aside

To make the gravy, heat the butter in pan. Add the green cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon. Sauté to let the spices toast, add the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for two minutes. Add the tomato puree, red chili powder, salt. Bhunao the mixture at this point removing all of the water and allowing it to stick lightly to the bottom of the pan but not to burn. This will bring the aromatic oils out of the spices. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and methi leaves. Add the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. finish at the last moment with Half and Half. Put half into a freezer bag, freeze and ship to me. Enjoy the other half with Naan or Rice.