Cold darker evenings with knee-deep snow outside the window, a steaming pot of stewed lamb on the stove, whose aromatic smells wafting through the house and a hot cup of tea snugly fitted in your palm and good book on your lap are perhaps the best ways to enjoy the winter luxuries. Winter is the season that I loved most for many reasons.
I know it is equally unpardonable to talk about the warmth of winter in scorching heat of May, but Carolina where I lived now has rather very strange and funny weather. Between the hot summer days, few cold spells comes as a relief and rain striked back with thunderstorms and dropping the temperature at par with the winter, my mango kulfi goes in hiding, and those irresistible impulses where I could hear the frozen pieces of lamb calling my name !
If you are a foodie, then you will find such connotations in most unsuspecting places, and the literature is dotted with such descriptions. Like many others I too grew up by reading about the foods in books, foods that are not native to my country or not eaten in my culture, foods that symbolizes the places afar so much so that it makes me believe after reading dozens of English novels that all Londoner survives on trout only ! Every description of the food was read and re-read word by word and left me wonder about the distant culture and the people. Years later I found the answer to those strange liking when I decided to start my own food blog !
Georgette Heyer was my most favourite author in my primes, I totally loved the way she describes so vividly the culture, the people, the places of Georgian era and food was always the prime focus in her almost every book. So when I chanced upon Salman Rushdie’s Midnights Children I can not ignore the context where he mentioned about the lamb korma, he is the man who loves to stir the pots and who loves to rejuvenate his fond memories of food in a very passionate way and it is scattered throughout his books, almost everywhere. Few months later the same lamb korma and the same name re-surfaced again, this time on American Sunday Magazine called Parade, and as I was leafing through the pages in the comfy of my hotel room, the lamb korma pops out from the magazine. I could not understand why the previous guest has left this magazine ? A trash for someone and prized catch for other ! See the cosmic connections !
But this lamb korma has other inspirations too. Madhur Jafrey’s lamb korma in her book At home is equally rich and delectable and since I have always trusted her recipes, I decided to combine the two. And wait, there is one more un-named person behind the recipe too. And he deserve the mention too – A Mid eastern chef who runs his own restaurant in NYC, after watching intently his process of lamb korma, I decided to use sour cream in the recipe. Like all korma dishes that uses a braising liquid, this too begun by braising the lamb in liquid that contains yoghurt, nut puree and cream and are subtly spiced which is the characteristic of such dishes.
So in short my lamb korma is part Rushdie, part Jaffrey, part me and since I grew up on eating only kosha mangsho at home, so I can not share any magical memories from childhood. But I was destined to make this through some cosmic connection ! Nosh Farmaaye !!!
- 2 lb : Lamb (tender, lean and cut into cubes)
- ¾ cup : hung curd (thick Greek style yoghurt)
- ½ cup : Sourcream / or any thick cream
- ½ cup : Almonds (chopped / sliced)
- 1 : Red onion (large and thinly sliced , should yield 1½ cup onions)
- 2 tsp each of ginger and garlic (both minced)
- ½ tsp : Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp : Cumin powder
- 1 tsp : Red chilli powder (+ more depend upon taste)
- A large pinch of saffron
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- Few cardamoms, bay leaf and one stick of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp : Ghee (clarified butter)
- Salt to taste
- Wash and clean the cubed lamb pieces. The lamb should be lean for this recipe.
- Marinate the lamb pieces in yoghurt, salt and turmeric for one hour.
- In a pan, heat some ghee and braised the sliced onions till it nicely browned, almost caramelized. This process will take around 45 minutes.
- Once the onions are caramelized enough, cool them and puree them in a mixer along with minced ginger and garlic.
- Puree the soaked almonds with little of soaking liquid.
- Now in a deep bottom pot heat the ghee and add the cardamoms, bay leaf and cinnamon.
- Add the marinated lamb pieces, reserve the marinade for future use and braise on high heat till they become brown on all sides.
- Once the meat is browned, remove it and put it back in a bowl.
- In the same pan, add some more ghee if requires, and braise the pureed onion -ginger-garlic.
- Add the almond paste with little water and saute it for few minutes.
- Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder and kashmiri red chilli powder.
- Once the spices are sauteed, add the marinade, check for salt and saute it for couple of minute.
- Add the braised lamb pieces, mix it well, cover and simmer on low heat till done.
- Once the meat becomes tender, and spices and seasonings are just right, add the sour cream.
- Give it a gentle stir.
- In a seperate pan, toast a large pinch of saffron and crushed it, sprinkled over 2 tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl and soak it for 5 minute. Let the color to appear.
- Add this saffron water in the pot, a dash of nutmeg powder and switch off the heat.
- Cover and let it stand for few more minutes before serving it with pulao / pilaf.
Do you also love to read the fiction which has good narration focussed on food ? Any references you want to mention here ?
By the way have I mentioned before that this is my 200th recipe post !
Have a delicious start to a brand new week !
Stay healthy !