This recipe, based on Madhur Jaffrey’s from her At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, is a real hoot at our place.
When this dish is served in the Rajasthan desert region of India, its colour, coming mainly from ground hot chillies, is a fiery red. In the recipe below, I have moderated the heat by mixing cayenne pepper with more calming paprika for those who might prefer a milder curry. Fresh red paprika is good too if you are chasing a more traditional colour. My own preference, however, is to go with the Kashmiri chilli powder.
It is generally served with Indian flatbreads, but is just as good served with rice. A calming green, such as spinach or Swiss chard, could be served on the side as well, as can plain yoghurt.
¼ cup olive or coconut oil
Two 7cm cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
10 green cardamom pods
1 large red onion, chopped finely
2 teaspoons very finely grated peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, crushed to a pulp
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1kg stewing lamb, preferably from the shoulder, cut into big (6-8cm) cubes. (Alternatively, you can use stewing beef.)
1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Kashmiri chilli powder
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Pour the oil into a large, heavy pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cardamom. Let the spices sizzle until the aroma begins. Add the onions. Stir and fry until they turn a reddish brown. Add the ginger, garlic, and coriander. Stir for a minute. Add the lamb/beef, salt, cayenne, and chilli powder. Stir for 3–4 minutes. Now add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for about an hour 1, stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid, and continue simmering on very low heat for between 2 and 6 (or more) hours, or until the meat is tender and the gravy is at your desired thickness. Sprinkle the coriander over the top when serving. Enjoy with a beer and with some after-dinner yoga.