It was a very lazy Monday off here in Astoria. I ran to the store in the morning and generally chilled out for the afternoon while occasionally checking in on what was happening in the kitchen. When it’s 80-something degrees out and my allergies are starting up, I’d rather sit in front of the AC catching up on shows, the Internet, and a good book than anything else.
I’ve been making quite a few curries these days, but I’ve been dying for a day off without plans so that I could make a nice lamb curry. Instead of using a store bought curry paste, I raided my spice cabinet to make my own and it was worth it. The ingredient list here is long, but is primarily made up of kitchen staples that are either on hand or easy to find.
Using three different citrus fruits keeps this curry light and summery and also helps to cut down on some of the spice. This recipe certainly packs a punch, which my sinuses appreciated as I’ve been feeling a little under the weather all weekend. I would reduce the curry powder and red pepper flake if you’re very sensitive to heat.
To further balance the curry, I added golden raisins to the rice for some sweetness and some texture. By cooking the raisins in the rice instead of adding them in later they become much sweeter and add some extra oomph to the otherwise plain rice.
I received two thumbs up from the rest of the table, and can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow night!
Lamb Curry over Basmati Rice
For the Curry:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 3 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp red pepper flake
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1/ tsp nutmeg
- 2″ piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 orange, juice and zest
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 2 limes, juice and zest
- 15 oz canned whole tomatoes plus liquid
- 2 cups water
For the Rice:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 3 cups water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and brown it in a large Dutch oven with the oil in batches over medium-high heat. Take your time and don’t crowd the pot so that all of the meat is evenly browned. When done, set aside and keep warm.
Add more oil to the pan if needed and brown your onion over medium heat. When they start to get really soft and brown, about 8-10 minutes, add the garlic, spices, ginger, and zest. Continue to stir for about one minute until the spices are toasty and fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and their liquid and continue to stir until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, leaving you with a nice paste. Add the juice from the citrus along with the water and return the lamb to the pot. Give everything a good stir, cover and pop it in the oven for 1 and a half hours.
Take the pot from the oven, give it another good stir and put it back in the oven for another hour, reducing the heat to 250 degrees.
When you have about a half an hour to go, heat the vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the mustard seeds, and when they begin to pop add the rice and raisins. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes before adding the water. Bring to a boil and then cover, reducing the heat. Cook the rice for another 20 or so minutes until it is done.
Remove the cinnamon stick and warn your guests to eat around the cloves. Serve the curry over rice with some greens on the side – like baby arugula.