I'd heard good things about "Peter's Lamb Curry" from Jamie Oliver's "Return of the Naked Chef" book so as I love a curry, and a lamb one at that, I thought I'd give it a go. To start with I was slightly intimidated by the long list of ingredients required but after a quick scan of my cupboards, I realised I had most of them anyhow.
This curry took a rather long time and a fair bit of effort on my part. I don't normally make curry pastes from scratch, I normally find the Pataks pastes are perfectly adequate but I decided to follow this recipe and make the paste. Let's just say, it was a labour of love and I'm in the market for an electric spice grinder...
Fortunately I had all day to get this ready, so I paced myself and made the hot and spicy rub and put the paste together earlier in the day. I won't lie to you, I did enjoy bashing the hell out of the spices and seeds with my Cornishware pestle and mortar but it was arduous and by the end of it my hand was hurting a bit (me? feeble?). I also ended up using my mini chopper and my Magimix so had a fair bit of washing up to contend with before I'd even started the main dish.
The paste looked and smelt awesome and I felt a great sense of satisfaction that I'd made it all myself however taste-wise, did it add much to the overall dish? For the effort? I don't think so and I have to be honest in that next time I probably would go back to a Pataks paste as I think they are a great shortcut and Jamie Oliver himself mentions them in his books so they must be okay then. If you wanted to try adding a Pataks paste, I would suggest the Rogan Josh paste.
I did make a few tweaks for instance, I used neck instead of leg of lamb, simply because it was cheaper and I've used it in curries before and I added potatoes because I love curries with potato in them! I also halved the ingredients and tweaked them a bit as the original recipe serves 8 and I have no need to make a curry that large and using potatoes meant I used less lamb (which I find can be very expensive) and didn't quite halve the liquids.
The curry itself took a long time to cook but I think that's how you develop a good, deep flavour. It turned out really well and I was very pleased with it, even if it had taken the best part of an afternoon to put together!
This recipe serves 4 and is adapted from the recipe featured in Jamie Oliver's Return of the Naked Chef.
Lamb & Potato Curry
Hot & fragrant rub mix;
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1.5 tsp fenugreek seeds
1.5 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 a cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled
1 small red onion, peeled
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 fresh chillies, with seeds
small bunch of fresh coriander
For the curry;
1 tbsp butter
400g tin chopped tomatoes
200ml stock or water
600g diced lamb
small handful of chopped mint
small handful of chopped coriander
200ml natural yoghurt
salt & freshly ground black pepper
lime juice to taste
Start by making the rub mix. Lightly toast all the ingredients in a pan over a gentle heat before pounding into a fine powder.
Preheat your oven to 170c/gas mark 3. Chop the curry paste ingredients roughly and pop into a food processor along with the prepared rub mix and pulse until you have a puree.
In a large casserole dish, fry the curry paste mixture in the butter until it turns golden, stirring regularly. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Cover with kitchen foil and place in the oven for 1.5 hours to intensify the flavours. Remove the foil and continue to simmer on the stove until it thickens.
Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. Boil for 10 mins, drain and put to one side.
Fry the diced lamb in a little olive oil until golden, then add to the curry sauce, along with the par-boiled potatoes and simmer for around 1 hour, until tender.
Sprinkle with the chopped mint and coriander and stir in the yoghurt. Season to taste, add a squeeze of lime juice and serve with basmati rice and naan bread.
Jamie also suggests other tweaks you can make like adding in vegetables like spinach, peas, cauliflower, chickpeas and lentils - so you could really bulk it out and make it go further if you like.
One word of warning, this curry is very aromatic, and by aromatic I mean it stinks your entire house out for about three days afterwards...It's great when it's cooking but if you don't like lingering cooking smells you might want to open a few windows!
love & kisses
Mrs M x