Rick Stein’s Lamb & Spinach Karahi

Indian Spices

This recipe is adapted from Rick Stein’s “Food Heroes” book and was given to him by Mumrez Khan when he visited Bradford’s Karachi Restaurant, when filming his TV series of the same name. I love the way the green chillies are added – they’re blitzed at the end with a little water and added to the curry, giving a delicious, fresh flavour.

Mumrez’s recipe specifies a heart-stopping 250g of ghee (!), which is an Indian clarified butter. I’ve used a more reasonable 150g here, with no resulting loss of flavour. I’ve also modified this recipe to use only 2-3 tbsp oil, which is a lot better for you. Check out my Lamb Saag recipe for details.

Note: You do have the option of skimming off some of the ghee at the end of cooking. The best way to achieve this is to leave the pot to stand at a slight angle for 15 minutes. That way, the ghee will collect at one side of the pot where it will be easy to skim off.

Ingredients

  • 150g ghee
  • 550g onions, chopped (about 3 large onions)
  • 65g garlic, peeled (about 1 bulb/12-15 cloves)
  • 50g root ginger, peeled and chopped roughly (about the size of a golf ball)
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 200ml water
  • 900g boneless lamb (leg or shoulder), cut into large cubes
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp each of the following: turmeric, red chilli powder, sweet paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 2-4 medium-sized green chillies, stalks removed
  • 2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Heat the ghee in a large cast-iron casserole. Cook the onions gently for about 20 minutes until soft and light brown in colour. Take the casserole off the heat.
  2. Blitz the garlic, root ginger, tomatoes and water in a blender until smooth. Remove the browned onions using a slotted spoon and add to the blender. Blend again until very smooth.
  3. Return the mixture to the oil in the casserole and add the lamb and salt. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. The sauce will now be well-reduced.
  4. Stir through the ground spices and cook for a further 1½-2 hours. Add a little water every now and then if the sauce starts to stick.
  5. Just before the lamb is finished cooking, make the spinach puree. Put 150g of the spinach leaves in a large saucepan along with a splash of water. Place a lid on the saucepan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted down. Transfer the spinach to a liquidizer along with another splash of water and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Make the chilli pureé. Blend the green chillies with some water until smooth and add to the curry. Set aside.
  7. Check the lamb is cooked to your satisfaction. At this point, you can spoon off the fat which has risen to the top of the sauce (see below). Stir through the spinach puree and the rest of the spinach leaves. Add the green chilli puree and simmer and heat through for another 10 minutes.
  8. Stir through the garam masala and fresh coriander. Taste for seasoning, adding plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with rice and naan bread with some cooling yoghurt on the side, if you wish.

Notes

  • The addition of pureéd spinach may seem bonkers, but it tastes really good and also lightens the dish somewhat. You could add the spinach directly to the curry without pureéing but you lose out on the excellent colour it gives the dish.
  • A note on cooking times: Rick’s recipe specifies 1½ hours total cooking time. I’ve found this does not give enough time to make the meat very tender, which is the way I like it. I cook this gently for 2-2½ hours which gives me the result I want. Next time I make this curry, I’m going to cook it in the oven – 160°C for 2½ hours should do it.
  • Finally, important for all curries (indeed, all stews and braises), this will taste immeasurably better on the second day after being left to stand overnight. This softens the flavour of the garlic, onion and spices and allows the curry to mellow. Do give this a try if you can – leave to stand overnight then prepare the spinach puree when you’re reheating the curry.

Variations

  • Add a 400g tin of cooked chickpeas to bulk this recipe out and give it some extra nutrition.
  • Adding a tablespoon of dried fenugreek leaves gives this curry an extra dimension.
  • Omit the spinach leaves and use this as a “base” sauce, adding extra ingredients to make your favourite restaurant-style curry: lemon juice will give you a “Madras”. Adding lots of dried chillies, a little red wine vinegar and some cubes of cooked potato will produce a “Vindaloo”. Add a portion of tarka dal, sugar, lemon juice and some cubed pineapple to give you a “Dhansak”. And so on…

Serves 6.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Rick Stein’s Lamb & Spinach Karahi”


  1. 1 stew-c April 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Have been to the Karachi restaurant in Bradford many times and have ordered what is now known on the menu as the Rick Stein lamb and spinach karahi along with a chicken version. This recipe is quite close to the restaurant version and it is delicious,and as for skimming off the ghee you don’t get that option in the restaurant.

  2. 2 Carlota May 26, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Have been to the Karachi restaurant in Bradford many times and have ordered what is now known on the menu as the Rick Stein lamb and spinach karahi along with a chicken version. This recipe is quite close to the restaurant version and it is delicious,and as for skimming off the ghee you don’t get that option in the restaurant.
    +1


  1. 1 The Big 8 - The only curry recipes you’ll ever need! | Toasted Special Trackback on August 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm
  2. 2 Lamb Saag | Toasted Special Trackback on November 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm
Comments are currently closed.




%d bloggers like this: