Lamb & Almond Curry
Mughal Lamb Curry
Raiding my dusty photo collection for inclusion in my cookbook, Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs for the publisher’s design team I stumbled across a shakily out of focus picture taken by waiter with a severe case of the shakes. The magical web of overhead lamps softly illuminating the ancient courtyard of the Fateh Prakash Palace, guarding the shore of Lake Pichola was transformed from a fairytale setting to a drunken rash of neon flares see through a passenger seat of an unlicensed minicab haring down Brixton Hill capturing the glare of Kebabland.
Whilst the celluloid moment was a smudged blur, the food on this occasion was definitely in sharp focus. An elegant bowl brimming with Mughal opulence, regal, refined yet a touch naughty. Tender mutton with a following toasted almonds clinging to the meat like jealous concubines, deep notes of (ingredients list) not to be compromised with the addition of rice but admired and enjoyed for its royal splendour with a helping of tandoori rotis. That evening nothing could top this encounter. As i squinted into the blurry mess of the photograph, I spied the satisfied smile of the Maharani sitting next to me, replete with a mug of Ovaltine. So there it is, hundreds of years of eloquent Mughal cuisine trumped by a mug of malted milk. Try this lamb and almond curry with a palmful of flatbread and skip the Ovaltine.
How To Make Lamb & Almond Curry
- 60ml sunflower oil
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 4 green chillies, finely chopped
- 500g lamb, cut into chunks
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6cm fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
- 150ml water
- 150g flaked almonds
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium temperature and add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon quill, fennel and coriander seeds and fry for just under a minute until they’ve darkened in colour and they acquiesce their aroma. Add the onion, chillies lamb, garlic and ginger and brown for 5–6 minutes. Pour in the water, stir vigorously and turn up the heat until the pan is bubbling, season with salt. Turn down to a low heat and leave to simmer for up to 2 hours or until the lamb has become tender and easy to tear apart with a fork.
In a separate frying pan toast the almonds flakes over a medium heat until golden brown and sprinkle over the lamb to create ghosht badaam just before serving.