I take my hat off to Jamie Oliver. I’ve never tried a recipe of his where I wasn’t pleased with the outcome. His first book, The Naked Chef, has to be one of the most useful cookery books available. It’s worth the price of admission for the bread and pasta recipes alone. The curry recipes in Jamie’s latest books do tend to use ready-made curry pastes for speed and convenience. Nothing wrong with that, of course, I just prefer to make a ruby from scratch.
This recipe is extremely good, worthy of Camelia Panjabi herself. It’s adapted from his second book, “Return of the Naked Chef”. I thought it looked interesting and was tempted enough to try it last weekend. It’s quite similar to the base lamb curry I normally use, so I thought I’d adapt my own recipe to include Jamie’s “fragrant spice mix”. I’ve upped the amount of green cardamom in the recipe, as I love the flavour so much. The whole spices are toasted in a dry frying pan before being finely ground and added to the curry. I also cook the entire dish in the oven rather than cooking the lamb on the hob. It requires less babysitting, as I can just throw the casserole in the oven and forget about it.
Serve with some pilau rice and naan bread. Jamie recommends adding paneer to the curry, a type of Indian cottage cheese. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Jamie Oliver recipe without a final flourish of “fresh ‘erbs”, would it?
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- ½ tbsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 clove
- small piece of cinnamon stick
- 10 green cardamoms
Curry Paste Ingredients
- thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
- 2 large red onions, peeled
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 red chillies
The Other Ingredients
- fresh coriander & fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons butter/oil
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 300ml stock
- 1.5kg lamb, diced
- fresh mint, handful
- fresh coriander, handful
- 300ml natural yoghurt
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lime juice
- salt and black pepper
- Toast the whole spices for a minute or two in a dry frying pan until they release their aroma. Transfer to a spice grinder (or mortar) and leave to cool. Grind to a fine powder and set aside.
- Put the curry paste ingredients in a blender and process until you get a smooth paste. Add a little water if you wish.
- Heat a large casserole and add the oil/butter. Gently fry the curry paste and ground spices, stirring regularly. Add the tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Cover the casserole with a lid and place in the oven for one and a half hours to intensify the flavour.
- Fry the lamb pieces in the oil until coloured before adding to the curry sauce. Return the casserole to the oven and cook for around 2 hours or until the lamb is tender.
- Stir in the chopped fresh coriander and mint, then stir in the yoghurt. Season to taste with some freshly ground black pepper and some lime juice.