What do you do when you have leftover lamb? You make curry.
Actually, you really should buy lamb SOLELY for the purpose of making curry. I know I should. That's how this recipe is written, actually – it's to be made with raw lamb. But. We had about 3 pounds of lamb meat left, and we wanted to make a curry with some or all of it. Bill took a look through a few cookbooks, and he liked the sound of this one, so this is what I made.
It's from Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook – and it's incredibly comprehensive. She covers India, China, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesian, Korean, and more.
This recipe for Mutton Kari, or Lamb Curry, calls for Garam Masala, a blend of toasted spices. You can find the recipe I used here.
And though we used cooked lamb, I plan to make this again with raw. The cook time in the recipe is for raw lamb – you cook the mixture for over an hour – and I think the flavors need all that time to blend together and soak into the lamb. Just my two cents.
Here we go. First – what you'll need:
2 T ghee or oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T finely chopped fresh ginger
2 T curry powder
3 tsp salt
2 T vinegar or lemon juice
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 fresh chilies
2 T chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp garam masala (see here)
3 lb boned shoulder of lamb
1 T chopped fresh coriander or mint leaves
Cut lamb into cubes.
(Okay, she's not cutting the lamb herself. But she was most definitely helping.)
Heat ghee (or oil) in a saucepan and gently fry onion, garlic and ginger until soft and golden.
Add curry powder, salt and vinegar, stir thoroughly.
Add lamb and cook, stirring constantly, until lamb is coated with the spice mixture.
Add tomato, chilies and mint.
(Okay, here's where I took a little detour. Since the lamb was already cooked, I didn't want to put it in this early in the game. So I just added the tomatoes and mint. Also, I left the chilies out for now. I made a separate curry sauce with the peppers, just for Bill and me, because they were too hot for the kids to eat.)
So this is the tomatoes and mint going into the onion and seasonings…
Cover and cook over low heat for 1 1/4 hours or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should provide enough liquid for the meat to cook in but, if necessary, add a little hot water, approximately half a cup, just enough to prevent meat from sticking to pan.
(I cooked the mixture with the tomatoes and mint added for about 20-30 minutes, simmering with the lid on. At that point, I ladled out some of it and put it in a small saucepan and added one of the chiles, seeds removed, and sliced thinly, to the mix.
I let that simmer while I finished up the rest of the meal.)
Here's how the original onion mixture looked after simmering a while…
Add garam masala (and the lamb!!) and chopped coriander leaves for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. (and I didn't get coriander – I'd planned to use the rest of the fresh mint – and then I forgot. Sometimes I do that.)
I stirred all of that together and heated it gently until the lamb was warmed through.
I also added some coconut milk to the separate onion mixture that I'd added the chile pepper to.
I served the lamb over a blend of whole grain and wild rices, with some of the hotter curry sauce for Bill and me.
We both agreed that it was very good – but would be WAY better done without using leftover, already-been-cooked lamb. So I will definitely be trying that some time. And I'll let you know.