May 25, 2010
We took our first well-deserved break this year. A road trip to a family wedding. Not far from Glasgow – the curry capital of Scotland.
Mini Basu was strapped squawking into the back of a Mercedes. I shoved the contents of our entire apartment into the rest of the car. Got some white Versace sunglasses and shiny wedge-heeled wellies on. And off we went. Driving towards three days of fresh air.
It was going so well there. Until I asked an old friend, if the lady of a certain age accompanying him was his mother. No, he replied, she’s my girlfriend.
I am happy to report that Shimla is officially the most popular curry house and takeaway name in the small towns in Ayrshire. In fact, so popular is this stuff, that the chef’s Sunday night special at Irvine’s oldest pub (and nicest) was a Lamb Rogan Josh with Spiced Rice.
Made me crave the subtly-spiced Adraki Gosht, or ginger lamb curry, I’d once cooked for our financial adviser. I sang its praises before lunch until he declared he hates ginger. With Spring well in the air, and quality lamb about, I’ll happily eat this along with my words any day.
Dice the lamb shoulder into large chunks. I use boneless rolled shoulder, which is readily available without a special trip to the butcher.
Chop the onion roughly and mince the ginger in a food processor or just chop finely. Marinate the meat in the yogurt, ginger, turmeric and chilli powders and leave to sit while you fire up the oil in a large pot.
When the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon and chopped onion. Saute for five minutes until the onion is pale golden. Then mix in the coriander powder, lamb and its marinade.
Brown the lamb on high, then add half a cup of hot water, lower the heat to a medium high and cook covered for half an hour. You need to keep stirring the lamb to make sure it doesn’t burn. If the masalas start getting stuck to the bottom of the pot, add another half a cup of water and scrape them off.
After half an hour, take the cover off and cook for another half an hour uncovered stirring regularly. Add another half a cup of hot water if the lamb starts sticking to the bottom of the pot. The reason I’m being vague about the cups of water is because it slightly depends upon the quality of the lamb you’re working with.
Finish by adding salt to taste and a sprinkle of fresh, julienned ginger to the serving dish before you plonk it on the dining table. This is great with warm rotis and a raita.