Monday, April 11, 2011

Mangshor Curry (Bengal Lamb Curry)

New cookbooks call to me with their clean, unblemished pages... so when How to Cook Indian arrived from Abrams Books, I started browsing through the pages trying to figure out what to make first.

But seriously, there are more than 500 recipes, and I'm not that familiar with the names of Indian dishes. I know some basics, but there were a lot of unfamiliar names, so I started browsing ingredient lists instead of names of dishes.

When I found myself in the midst of lamb recipes, I figured I'd find something appealing. I buy a whole lamb every year, so I'm always looking for new lamb recipes. I started narrowing down the recipes based on what I had on hand or that I could find easily.

When I found the Mangashor Curry, it sounded like the perfect fit. It called for bone-in lamb cut into pieces, but I had lamb stew meat that was cut to about the right size. That was a little more convenient, and it left my bone-in pieces for other uses. And coincidentally, the package of stew meat I has was almost exactly the right amount for the recipe, as well.

The only thing I needed to buy for the recipe was a little bit of fresh ginger. It was a perfect fit.

The instructions were simple as well. I needed to make the garlic paste and ginger paste, but those were just fresh garlic and fresh ginger blitzed in the food processor with a little bit of water to loosen them up, Nothing complicated there.

The only issue I ran into was that the largest nonstick pan I had was nowhere near large enough to fit all the ingredients. Either my medium onions and potatoes were bigger than what the recipe anticipated (and they weren't that big, honest) or there must be some huge nonstick pans out there.

Even that wasn't a big deal. I did the initial cooking in the nonstick pan, then transferred to a dutch oven.

The resulting curry is pretty heavy on onions and potatoes, but that's fine with me. I like vegetables, and when I make stews, I tend to go vegetable heavy. If you're looking for a meatier stew, increase the meat or decrease the vegetables.

As far as flavor, we were pretty happy with this. It had a nice amount of spice, but if someone's a little squeamish about trying new cuisines, this is pretty non-intimidating. It doesn't have anything that people haven't tasted before - ginger, pepper, cumin ... nothing scary.

Now that I've made this recipe, I've got a few more picked out that I want to try, I don't think I'll get through all 500, but for sure I'm not done with this book.

Mangashor Curry 
(Bengali Lamb Curry)
Adapted from How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor

14 ounces bone-in lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste
1 1 /2 teaspoons fresh garlic paste
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 medium potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
4 medium red onions, sliced

Put lamb into a bowl and add ginger paste, garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and salt. Stir to coat, cover the bowl, and set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan on medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are lightly browned. At this point I realized that even though I was using my largest nonstick pan - and really, one of my largest frying pans - this recipe wasn't going to fit in this pan.

The instructions said to move the potatoes to a bowl, but I put them into my cast iron dutch oven, because that was going to be large enough for all the ingredients. Either my "medium" potatoes and onions were larger than this recipe anticipated, or the cookbook writer has some really huge nonstick pans.

Add the bay leaves and onion to the pan. Cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are golden brown.

Increase the heat to high and add the lamb. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring as needed.

Add 2 cups of water, and add the potatoes back to the pan. Okay, at this point, I added the lamb and potatoes to the dutch oven with the potatoes, and added the water to that. Mix well.

When the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through and tender. Serve hot.

I served it with some yogurt on the side, if anyone wanted a little dollop of it on top.