Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lamb Korma

It's just like me to check out a new stack of complicated French cookbooks and immediately begin cooking the only Indian recipes in them. What can I say--even after two months of this diet I'm not any more enamored of French cooking than I was to begin with. It's more of a morbid fascination than anything. Curries, daal, and naan are still my favorite things to make. Yet the mysterious ingredients and elaborate process required to make terrine and aspic intrigue me. So until I'm done with Montignac, France and India will keep battling it out in my kitchen. It's been fun so far.

Korma is what happens when you slow braise meat marinated to tenderness in yogurt or cream, then slather it in a complex mixture of spices. It's killer. The marinade does all the hard work. All that's left to do is brown the meat and watch it cook. Couldn't be easier. Well there is is matter of tracking down 10 different spices from where ever it is you store them, but its well worth the hunt.

This was some of the most authentic Indian I've ever made. It's worlds better than the Rogan Josh I order time and again at the near by Indian place. Same basic idea but I got to control the spices and the fat content. Then I went and ruined the notion of any calories I saved by using yogurt instead of heavy cream in the lamb by making fried cauliflower as a side.

It's a ridiculous thing to make really. The fella asked “Doesn't deep frying something defeat the purpose of eating a vegetable at all?” I think I threw a towel at him. Logic has no place in the kitchen. This was all about satisfying an urge. Several times last week I read food bloggers talking about how fried cauliflower tastes exactly like popcorn. So I wanted to give it a try seeing as both the fella and I have been missing popcorn.

It tastes nothing like popcorn but it is good in small qualities and it went well with the lamb as a side to absorb all the delicious korma sauce. This particular dinner pleased me to no end. I already know this recipe will be in heavy rotation on my menu list.

What a thing to find in an ancient traditional French cookbook from the 50's full of scary pictures of what is supposed to be food but looks like alien creatures swallowing other smaller unrecognizable creatures. This is the stuff of nightmares. I will have to try to get pictures of these dishes as seen in the pages of this book, they really need to be seen to be believed. I am oh so glad I didn't notice them before cooking the korma or may have lost the curage to try making it.

Lamb Korma

2 pounds boneless leg of lamb
3/4 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced

1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (it could use more)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated coconut

Trim off and discard fat from lamb. Cut meat into bite sized pieces. Mix with the yogurt, salt, cumin, turmeric, and cardamom in a large bowl and let marinate for at least 2 hours.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil or ghee over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook onions and garlic until browned and tender. Add another tablespoon of oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan and add the remaining spices. Stir thoroughly, toasting the spice mixture for about 2 minutes. Remove onion and spice mixture from pan and reserve for later.

Place pan on medium high heat, add the remaining oil and begin to cook the lamb until browned on all sides. Pour off any excess fat.

Add the onion and spice mixture back to the pan, cover and let simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Pour in the water, cover and allow to cook another 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add more water if needed.

Just before serving add lemon juice and coconut. Stir well and serve.

Original recipe from Modern French Culinary Art by Henri-Paul Pellaprat.


F. Fiori said...

I made this on Saturday night and it was fantastic! Reno looked at me, sort of confused, and said, "You made Indian food." I was a little insulted, but very proud of myself. I'm really enjoying your blog. Thank you and keep it up! (It's Laura, ex-WASTED member, in case the internet isn't making that clear)

Emily said...

Glad you enjoyed your korma. Makes it worth writing this to know someone is using the recipes. Hope California is treating you well, we miss you in wasted.