Freshly Ground will be operating in Auto-Publish Mode for the next two weeks or so, as we will be away in the blue yonder, many miles from cellphone coverage and internet access. Please feel free to leave comments, but don't be offended if they don't turn up here until April.
Have a good couple of weeks. I hope you find the stuff I have lined up as appetising as I did cooking and eating it.
A Curry Odyssey - Episode 4
When I set out looking for recipes for the next stage in my Great Curry Odyssey, I was completely blown away by the sheer volume and variety of different korma recipes out there. It seems that 'korma' is really just a vague, generic term for a type of curry that has a nutty base with some tomato paste thrown in for good measure, and which, in more northern areas of the subcontinent, utilises saffron, while this is substituted for turmeric further south.
More than this, I cannot tell you.
So, in my quest for the ultimate mash-up, which I hoped would turn out like the kormas I have enjoyed in the past, and not like those which I have not enjoyed, I engaged in a very practical bit of culinary engineering to create the recipe below.
It went basically like this: Of all the ingredients I've read in all the dozens of recipes I've googled, how many of these do I actually have on hand?
Based on that, and the lovely lamb I had picked up at the market that very morning, I dived into my first ever attempt at an authentic, ground-up korma curry. I also made raita and roti bread, and even my own tomato paste, all of which I'll also cover in future installments of the Great Curry Odyssey. It was a busy kitchen that Saturday afternoon.
(Yes, other men watch sport. I cook. Get over it.)
The results: I wouldn't be overstating it to say that this recipe came out this side of superb, what with it being a first try and all that. I think that with a bit more practice I could probably pare back the prep times and wotnot, but the results were well worth the effort. You can't get a meal with this sort of depth and texture by dumping a few spoonfuls of curry powder in a pot and leaving it on the stove for an hour, that's for sure.
For the Cashew Sauce:
2 Cloves of Garlic
1t Fresh Crushed Ginger
1/8C unsalted Cashews
1 dried chilli, chopped (more or less according to your taste for fire)
Pulverise all of the above together to make a paste and set aside.
For the Masala:
1/2 Cinnamon Quill
1/2t Coriander Seeds
1 Whole Green Cardamon Pod
1t Olive Oil/Rice Bran Oil
Pulverise all of the above together and set aside.
For the rest:
400g Fresh Diced Lamb (Stewing)
1 Onion, chopped
1/3C Plain Yoghurt
1T Tomato Paste (I used the paste I had made that very same day! Watch this space.)
Fry the onion in the butter in a large pan. As the onion starts to soften, add the Masala of spices and mix thoroughly.Add the yoghurt and tomato paste and turn the heat down.
In a second, smaller pan, brown the meat in batches over a high heat. Remove the meat as it becomes seared all over, and when all the meat is done, return it all to the small pan and add the onion mixture.
Finally add the cashew sauce in stages, adding a bit and allowing the mixture to reduce before adding more. This should be about 1/4C at a time.
Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a lovely, sticky consistency with delicious tender chunks of meat - probably about 2 1/2 hours.
Serve with the fresh raita you just pulled out of the fridge, and the rotis that you just pulled from the frying pan. If you really feel the urge, you can do something resembling a vegetable or two to go with this, but after all that work, you probably just want to sit down and enjoy a lovely spicy curry with hot roti bread and cold, minty raita. I know that's all we did.