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Lamb Pasanda - a great lamb curry recipe

Lamb Pasanda - creamy lamb curry recipe

(Skip the blurb)

Wikipedia claims this lamb curry recipe "derived from a meal served in the Court of the Moghul Emperors" and I probably wouldn't dispute that. It's rich and creamy and utterly delicious.

Pasanda derives from Hindi and Urdu words roughly meaning 'liking' or 'favourite' a reference to the quality cut of lamb that this dish uses - a sirloin cut or a lamb fillet - rather than the dish itself. So this is literally a top quality lamb curry.

It is also a dish which has survived westernization quite well - I have had quite good pasandas in British Indian restaurants. This is a great Punjabi dish, and the area is renowned for the quality of its dairy products, so yoghurt and cream seem quite natural in this. The meat is also tenderized before cooking, further enhancing the soft creaminess of the dish.

This version also uses almonds which are optional; with the almonds the dish is called badam lamb pasanda.

Basic Ingredients

1lb (450gm) lamb
1 large onion
3 gloves garlic
1 inch(2.5cm) root ginger
2-3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
pint (or less) fresh single cream
2 tablespoons blanched almonds
Handful of fresh coriander
Oil for frying

1 teaspoon amchoor
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
teaspoon cumin seeds
teaspoon grated nutmeg
teaspoon turmeric
Chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala

Notes on Ingredients

Lamb. For this lamb curry recipe you should use a good cut of lamb - I usually use lamb steaks. Of course if you can get mutton, this is even better.

Chillies and chilli powder. This is meant to be a reasonably mild dish - I use 1 medium strength green chilli and about ½ teaspoon chilli powder - but since mild in in the palette of the eater, you may wish to vary this.

Amchoor. This is ground up, dried, unripe mango and is a natural tenderizer

Oil. This really should be ghee or unsalted butter.

Basic Method

Give the lamb a good pounding with a steak mallet or the end of a rolling pin, then cut into strips about ½ in square and 1½ in long (like thin fingers).
Put the meat, about teaspoon of salt, the chilli powder and the amchoor into a bowl and set aside for about 4 hours
Quarter and finely the onions
Peel the fresh chilli, ginger and garlic then put in a blender with the yoghurt and blend.
Heat a dry frying pan and roast the coriander and cumin seeds, allow to cool then grind to a fine powder.
Grind the almonds to a powder

Heat the ghee or butter in a heavy bottomed pan and gently fry the onions until soft but not quite browning.
Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg turn the heat down and fry for a couple of minutes.
Turn up the heat again, put in the meat and fry until the meat changes colour.
Now add the yoghurt mixture bit at a time, stirring each bit in
When all the yoghurt has been added, cook for about 5 minutes then add about pint (125ml) water and stir.
Now turn down the heat really low and simmer for about an hour.
Add the cream, almonds and garam masala, stir in and cook for a further 5 minutes
Pour into a serving dish, sprinkle with paprika and garnish with coriander leaves.

Notes on Method

This is a lamb curry recipe which has several good variations. There are other ways to marinate the meat; some recipes suggest using the yoghurt mixture as a marinade and this is also fine - yoghurt also has a tenderizing effect. You can also marinate the meat in the fridge overnight.

You can reserve some whole almonds and use to garnish instead of the coriander leaves

This is a Northern Indian lamb curry recipe so I nearly always do naan or paratha with this but boiled rice is ok if you wish. Lentils go well as a side dish - may some gobi dal. The quantities here with just a naan or some rice will feed 3 or 4 adults.

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