lamb and spinach curry with spicy aubergines and cucumber raita

a madhur jaffrey recipe, more or less verbatim - though i did have to chuck in a couple of whole kashmiri chillies because i didn’t think it was quite hot enough.

do make the other bits that go with it – the aubergines and the raita – i think it all works together very well.

for two

for the lamb:
4 tbsp olive oil
a couple of black peppercorns
2-3 cloves
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a little cube of ginger, as big as your thumb fingertip, peeled and finely chopped
450g lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes – i used leg, the original recipe calls for shoulder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp yoghurt or creme fraiche
500g spinach, washed and finely
a sprinkle of garam masala

for the aubergines:
2 aubergines, cut into wedges lengthwise
1tsp tumeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

for the raita:
5tbs natural yoghurt
¼ cucumber, peeled and chopped
a little bit of coriander or mint, chopped finely

heat the oil in a heavy-based pan with a lid and add in the peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and the bay leaf. fry until the spices start releasing their aroma. add the onions, garlic and ginger and fry for a few minutes, until the onions are starting to brown. add the meat, cumin, coriander, cayenne and half the salt, fry for a minute, then add 1tbs of the yoghurt. stir until incorporated and fry for a minute, then add the rest of the yoghurt and repeat.

add the spinach and the rest of the salt, and cook until the spinach has wilted completely. keep stirring. put the lid on and simmer on low heat for about an hour and a quarter. take the lid off, add the garam masala and cook until the sauce has reduced completely and is no longer watery.

in the meantime, prepare the aubergines. slice them into thin wedges, salt and leave to drain. or skip this bit altogether as i am not sure it makes a blind bit of difference. mix the tumeric, cayenne, salt and pepper together. when the curry is nearly done, sprinkle the aubergines with the spice mixture and rub it in a bit with your hands. fry in hot oil until tender. you will need A LOT of oil. drain on some kitchen paper for a few minutes.

for raita, just mix the peeled and chopped cucumber into the yoghurt, add salt and some chopped mint or coriander. leave it in the fridge until needed.


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