Time to catch your breath too. I’m sitting in the cool winter sun, enjoying the scents of hyacinths and freshly baked bread, knowing that its too late to post any more Christmas cards and that any forgotten presents are hereby relegated to obscurity. The interminable list is fully ticked up-to-date and there’s nothing to do until the turkey makes its entrance.
In case you’ve moved on from roast potatoes, mountains of sprouts and stuffing balls, here’s a little recipe that I used to entertain friends last weekend.
We were all carefully Covid-safe, even lunching outside courtesy of an outdoor heater resembling a rocket. Just handing out warm bowls of spicy but not too hot lamb curry was a good way of being hospitable without putting people at risk. It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but this is mainly just the normal spices which I have handy in tins. Easy to cook as, after the initial browning, the curry can just sit on the hob and gently glug away for a few hours without any further help. This is a perfect dish to make a day or two ahead, chill well and then reheat for the non-party. With a rice cooker filled to the brim, the whole meal fed at least 20 hungry people.
about 100g lentils.
10 pieces cinnamon
3 heaped teaspoons coriander seeds
3 heaped teaspoons cumin seeds
12 green cardamom pods
3 teaspoons mustard seeds
4-6 tablespoons oil.
7 onions, peeled and diced
8 portions GGG*
2.5kg lamb, diced.
5 heaped teaspoons garam masala
2.5 flat teaspoons chilli powder
2.5 flat teaspoons paprika
2.5 flat teaspoons ground black pepper
2.5 heaped teaspoons cumin powder
2.5 heaped teaspoons ground coriander
2.5 teaspoons turmeric
2 heaped teaspoons fenugreek leaves
6 carrots, peeled and diced
5 courgettes, diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.
4 tins coconut milk, plus 1 tin water from washing them out
tamarind paste and/or lemon juice.
Place the lentils in a bowl and fill with cold water. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Dry roast the whole spices and set aside.
Heat the oil and cook the onion until at least golden brown or even darker.
Add the GGG and lamb in handfuls, searing each until coloured on each side.
Add the ground spices and allow to cook a little. They may stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the whole spices, carrots, courgettes and sweet potatoes, coconut milk and water and scrape the bottom of the pan clean.
Bring to a very gentle bubble, add the lentils and cook for at least 2 hours.
Adjust the seasoning by adding tamarind paste and/or lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the coconut and add a little salt to taste.
*(GGG is 4 parts fresh root ginger: 2 parts garlic: 1-part green chilli blitzed together in a food processor and then divided into 1 heaped teaspoon portions before freezing. Defrost as many portions as needed.)
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