This is forever after going to be known to me as Easter curry. I do like having specific dishes for events so this is another to add to my list ... for instance, at Chinese New Year I make this barbecue pork, and for Pancake Day it's now a tradition to have crispy duck pancakes. We usually have lamb for Easter lunch in my family anyway so it's just a tiny move on to making that a lamb curry.
My brother-in-law makes exceptionally good curries - he's been making them for years from scratch so has many, many hours of spice toasting and grinding practice under his belt, as well as an inspiring curry cookbook library. Cookbooks are probably my favourite reading material and every time I visit it seems there are yet more gorgeous curry books to gorge on. And curry too of course.
Our Easter curry was cooked outside using a Kadai fire bowl, which I LOVE. Love cooking outdoors anyway but curry outdoors, over the firebowl? THE BEST.
We started with these delicious onion bhajis - I'll post the recipe when I make them ...
and then on to the main event, Easter Curry.
Or as it was previously known, Mr Singh's slow-cooked lamb curry with cloves and cardamom from Rick Stein's India book.
It was SO GOOD.
Oh, and then we had pavlova, made by my step-mum (also an excellent cook!). YUM.
So ... on Easter Monday I decided to make Easter curry for myself, but didn't have lamb. I made it with chicken and it was still good, but I have to admit not quite as good as with lamb, and the Kardai cooking method adds something special too I'm sure.
Here's the recipe from Rick Stein, with pictures and variations by me.
Serves 4-6 (mine served 2)
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds (from about 8 green pods - I used five)
4-6 cloves (I used three)
3 medium onions (I used one and a half)
200g tomatoes (I used two tomatoes)
10 cloves garlic (yes, I used five!)
4 cm ginger (I just cut a small piece)
75ml vegetable oil (I just poured some in)
100ml thick Greek-style yogurt (again, I just poured in what looked right)
700g boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 4cm pieces (or if you want to make my version a couple of chicken breasts)
1 tsp salt (yup, half a teaspoon)
1 tsp garam masala (half)
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (half a teaspoon of ordinary chilli powder for me)
1 tablespoon single cream (I just poured in a bit)
Grind the cardamom and cloves into a powder (I used a pestle and mortar); set aside.
In stages, using a mini food processor (or a full sized one, or a blender would do I'm sure) and rinsing out in between, roughly chop the onions then blend to a puree with a little water; roughly chop then puree the tomatoes; roughly chop then blend the garlic and ginger with a tablespoon of water to a slack paste (I used the pestle and mortar again here).
Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion paste for 10-15 minutes until golden (10 mins was enough for my smaller amounts), then add the ginger and garlic and fry for three minutes.
Stir in the yogurt, then add the meat and salt and cook over a low-medium heat for 20-30 mins until browned.
Stir in the garam masala and chilli powder, and after about 30 seconds pour over enough water to just cover the meat. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes (30 minutes was enough for me).
Stir the cream and pureed tomatoes into the lamb (chicken), followed by the cardamom and clove mix.
To seal the pan, first cover with foil, then a lid (I just used a lid). Cook over the lowest heat for 30-40 mins (again I think my smaller chicken version only needed 20 mins) until the lamb is tender.
Serve with chapatis (or rice).
And DON'T wait until next Easter to make Easter curry - it's just too good!
UPDATE - EASTER 2017!
This year I followed the recipe as above for the smaller portion - for two people - but used a couple of lamb leg steaks, trimming the fat and cutting into chunks.
I didn't have any single cream so just added another spoon of yogurt at that stage.
Loved it (will def be making again before NEXT Easter this time!).