I love Indian food, though I didn’t always. Back in the day, Mama Buddha had to practically force it down my throat. Today, however, it’s a totally different story. Whether it’s the Mama Buddha version or one of the ten curries I try and cram onto my plate when I hit the Indian lunch buffet, my mouth is always happy. Despite the love, I never really made much of it for myself. As my researching revels how easy all of it actually is to prepare, I have to wonder what has been holding me back all these years.
Upon reflection, my answer? Laziness. Sloth. Lack of inspiration.
The Pandora’s box of Indian cooking as burst open in my kitchen, and there’s no going back.
The first dish in what I’m sure will be a battle for the top spot after the next three weeks is over is Lamb Rogan Josh.
I was texting with Yam just as I was about to start cooking the Rogan Josh, and she asked if I was cooking Persian food this week. At the time I thought it an odd question, though it turns out that Yam was indeed right. Rogan Josh was brought to India by the Persians during the reign of the Moghul Empire and has since been adopted as one of the signature dishes of the Kashmir region of northwest India.
There were a bunch of recipes that I liked for this and, since I couldn’t decide, I sort of melded them together and, running with the Persian theme, added a few twists of my own. Naturally.
1 pound lamb stew meat
1” ginger root
2 cloves garlic
2 medium yellow onions
4 cardamom pods
5 whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
½ “ cinnamon stick
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup canned tomato puree
½ cup water
1 can garbanzo beans
2 TB coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro, to flavor
Basmati rice, to accompany
1. In the bowl of a blender or food processor, add 1 onion, the garlic, ginger. Puree.
2. In a medium bowl, place the lamb and the onion/ginger/garlic slurry. Toss well and coat evenly.
3. In a deep saucepan, add 1 TB coconut oil and sear the lamb until brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and set aside.
4. To the same saucepan, add the remaining oil. Add the bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Fry lightly for 2 minutes until fragrant.
5. Thinly slice the second onion and add to the pot. Add the paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Sauté about 3 -4 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the lamb, all the lamb marinade, water, tomato puree and garbanzos. Cover and cook about 45-60 minutes until the lamb is cooked and tender.
6. Serve with a sprinkle cilantro and atop some Basmati rice.