Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hon’s Mhaans Kari / Lamb curry – with a spoonful of Garam Masala

Curry dishes are absolutely delicious. Especially if you add a spoonful of roasted spices – your own personal touch – the mystery ingredient that makes your curry recipe an unforgettable culinary experience. Garam Masala takes time to prepare, but can be stored in an airtight container, if you produce a large batch. 
It is recommended that you add this special mix of roasted spices to your curry dishes towards the final stages of cooking (an additional option to the spices). It can also be sprinkled on to vegetables as a final seasoning or added towards the end of cooking. It adds to my limited knowledge a mature spice flavour to your curry dish.
According Larouse Gastronomique, Garam Masala is  a spice mixture mainly used in Indian cookery. The exact mix varies according to the cook’s taste and requirements, but warm-flavoured spices are used, typically cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and black pepper. The whole spices are roasted together before being ground. Because it is roasted, unlike raw spices, which are cooked in the first stages of preparation, garam masala is one of the spice mixtures that may be added to dishes in the final stages of cooking or sprinkled over as a final seasoning before serving. The spice mix may be prepared especially for each dish, or a slightly larger quantity can be made and stored in an airtight container. Larouse Gastronomique (Hamlyn – first published 2009)
The spice mix that I have used for many years includes a spoonful of Garam Masala. It is best suited for a Lamb Curry (Mhaans Kari). According to the Encyclopedia of Asian cooking (editor Jeni Wright), goats meat is as popular in the sub-continent of India, if not more than lamb and mutton. I have however used this recipe for lamb knuckles and for boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into cubes (both illustrated here)
450 grams boned lamb shoulder or leg cut into cubes
or lamb-knuckles - two to three per guest (depending on their size).
Slice a few onions (or one large onion)
Finely chop one red chilly (remove the seeds)  
Also chop two to three garlic gloves (or peeled and sliced).
300 ml of water (enough to cover the meat)

Spices (adjust the recipe according to the quantity of meat used)
2 teaspoons coriander powder.
1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
1 teaspoon cumin powder.
half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Half a teaspoon chilly powder.
1 teaspoon of Garam Masala (optional).
1 teaspoon of salt.

Garam Masala Recipe.

  • 1 and half spoons whole cardamoms.
  • 5 spoons coriander seeds.
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds.
  • 1 and half spoons whole cloves.
  •  6 spoons whole black peppercorns.

There are many variations on this recipe.

Too roast remove the seeds from the cardamoms, then place all the ingredients on a baking tray – bake in a preheated very hot oven (240 C for 10 minutes. When cold, grind to a fine-powder using a old coffee grinder or electric blender or pestle and mortar.

Cooking the lamb curry
Heat a small quantity of oil in a ovenproof casserole dish or heavy pan. Swiftly fry the lamb-knuckles and or cubes until brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
Gently fry the onions until almost soft and golden (sautéed). Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the garam masala, the water and the salt and fry for 3 minutesstirring constantly. Enjoy the spicy aroma.
Return the lamb to the pan or ovenproof casserole, add the salt and the water and simmer for an hour and a half. I use my oven mainly – set on a 150 degrees Celsius and cook the dish slowly for about two hours.  Cover the dish if you prefer lots of sauce, or uncovered for a dry curry. A half and hour before you serve the dish, add the garam masala and cook through. Serve and enjoy.
For this particular meal I served broccoli (vegetable) and mash – seasoned with lemon rind.