Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lamb vindaloo

I got another leg of lamb from the co-op for around $30 and decided to make a butt-load of lamb vindaloo with it, using Julie Sahni's recipe. I'll post the recipe here; I had to more than triple it for the 5+lb lamb leg I used, so that's why the pictures look like there's so much more than the recipe states.

Get about 1.5lb of meat--pork (Goan style), chicken, or lamb.

This will need to marinate for at least 8 hours.

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard
1 medium onion, quartered
4 medium cloves garlic
1 tbsp ginger root, fresh
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp light vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove (note: I go pretty light on the clove, usually adding less than 1/4 tsp, because it can get really overwhelming)

Put everything in the food processor and make it into a paste.

Cut the meat into 3/4 inch chunks (no fat, no skin) and put it into a big bowl or Ziploc bag with the marinade. Let it sit for 8-48 hours (I let this sit in the fridge for more like 60 hours, no problem).

for cooking:
1-inch ball tamarind pulp
1/2 cup mustard oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp red pepper (note: because I use spicy Hungarian paprika, I go a bit light on the red chilly powder and it still comes out blazingly hot. if you are cooking for wimps, reduce the chilly powder or they will pretend it's good but not eat much!)
1 1/2 tsp paprika

When it's time to cook the food, boil 1 1/4 cups of water. add a 1-inch ball of tamarind pulp, smush it around a little, and let it sit for 15 min or more. Make sure the water's brown and cloudy--smush it around more if you have to--and then strain it into a bowl, using a fork to push and scrape all the tamarind water/pulp through the strainer. Throw away the fiber/mass left in the strainer.

Put 1/2 cup of mustard oil in a pan (I like using a Dutch oven; for this huge batch, I used a big Dutch oven AND a big pan). Heat the oil over high heat until it smokes and you can smell pungent mustard, then let it cool back down. (This is to remove the astringent, unpleasant quality of the oil; if you don't have mustard oil, you can use veg oil, and you don't have to heat and cool it first. Note: Mustard oil for sale in America says FOR MASSAGE USE ONLY on it. Ignore it. A billion and a half people in South Asia eat it all the time, and very few of them suffer ill effects, so you are unlikely to.)

When you're all ready to start cooking, lay out the spices next to the stove. Get the marinating meat out. Heat the mustard oil over medium-high heat until it's hot again. Add the onions and fry until they are caramel brown, stirring constantly.

When they look right, dump in the spices and stir for about 15 seconds. Then, add the meat pieces with tongs. DO NOT crowd the pan--if you have a lot of meat, you should've used two pans.

After about 10 minutes of stirring, the meat pieces will be slightly seared and the oil will be separating from the gravy.

Add the tamarind juice, 2 tsp Kosher salt, and the rest of the marinade. Bring it to a boil, partially cover, and lower heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until meat pieces are very tender.

I like to add small chunks of potato in the last 15 minutes or so of cooking. You may need to add more salt, so be aware of that before you serve it.

To accompany the vindaloo, I made masoor daal (simple recipe, subbing in preserved lemon for lemon juice in the tadka/chaunk) and Priya made delicious mango lassis, using precious Alphonso mango pulp. We also had a simple cucumber salad and some (poorly cooked) basmati rice.

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