I love lamb. Although we don’t eat it often, it probably is my favorite meat–if it’s cooked right.
Lamb is one of those meats that can be a little tricky to cook. Sure, you can toss it in a pressure cooker and cook it that way…but I just don’t think the taste is the same. If you really want to cook lamb…and have it taste amazing…you have to cook it slow.
When I make a lamb curry I always cook it for at least 2 hours–stirring ever half hour. It’s time consuming…yes; but because I only make lamb for special occasions, I want it to have the best flavor possible.
This was the first time I experimented adding vinegar, nuts and dried fruits to my lamb curry. I usually make a Rogan Josh (which I have to say is the absolute best curry I make. I’ve kept the recipe secret…so far. But, I’m sure it’ll show up on here someday!), so this curry was a little out of my comfort zone.
I got the inspiration for this curry from the book I’m reading: “The Feast of Roses” by Indu Sundaresan. It’s the love story of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Nur Jahan (Mehrunnisa). I find the story fascinating…and reading about all the rich, Mughal dishes makes my mouth water!
I wanted to use some of the ingredients I was reading about; and turn them into a fabulous curry.
Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds
(serves 6- generously)
This curry involves a lot of spices. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list. I assure you, it’s really quite easy to make!
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 c. vinegar (I used apple cider because that was all I had)
1 tsp. ghee
1 lb. lamb, diced into 1″ pieces
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, smashed and minced
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp. ground Almond (almond flour)
2 tbsp. whole Almonds, roughly chopped
4 dried Turkish apricots (regular dried apricots are just fine), sliced
1 tbsp. jaggery (substitute brown sugar)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. curry base (recipe HERE)
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 c. water, plus more for thinning the curry
1 black cardamom (you can omit this–it’s rather strong)
2 cinnamon sticks- 1″ each, left whole
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a dutch oven–or heavy bottomed pan–heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the lamb chunks and brown them on each side. Don’t cook them all the way, just get some nice color on the pieces.
Add vinegar and whole spices. Stir everything around to coat. Put the lid on the dutch oven or pan and put into the preheated oven. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
In a separate skillet, add 1 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. ghee. Add all ground spices and fry for a minute–until everything becomes fragrant. Toss in onions, tomato paste, garlic and ginger. Cook until onions are tender and translucent.
Add jaggery, almond flour, chopped almonds and apricots to the onion mixture. Stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes. Remove mixture from heat.
Add onion mixture to the dutch oven–along with the lamb. Add 1 cup. curry base and 2 cups of water to the mixture and stir to combine everything. Add chopped cilantro and salt, to taste.
Put lamb curry back into the oven and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours–checking every 30 minutes. You may have to add water if the curry is thickening and reducing too much. I think I used about 4 cups water for the entire recipe.
Remove curry from oven. The lamb should be very tender and falling off the bone (if you didn’t use boneless lamb). The apricots will have melted into the curry, giving the gravy a subtle sweet taste.
Garnish with additional chopped cilantro and chopped almonds. Serve with rice or rotis!
I usually leave the whole spices in the curry–if you would prefer, you can remove them.
Because black cardamom has such a strong taste/flavor—I remove it after the first 15 minutes (when you cook the lamb with the whole spices). I feel it imparts its flavor during that time…and if it stays in the mixture any longer, it becomes too strong for my tastes.
P.S. I’ll get the printable recipe up soon! I have to go to work now. ((sad-face))