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Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb Vindaloo
Lamb Vindaloo with Potatoes and leeks and rice

Whilst the traditional meat for a vindaloo is pork, lamb vindaloo is probably most often what is served in the west if you order a meat vindaloo. So I thought I ought to give this a go.
There is a bit more of the background and history of the vindaloo dish in the Pork Vindaloo page - and this won't really turn out like the stuff you get in British Indian restaurants.
I have stuck with tradition in that the meat is marinated in wine and garlic but I have tried to bring out the sweetness of the lamb with a few specific ingredients.

Basic Ingredients

About 1lb (450gms) Lamb.
1 medium onion.
3-4 cloves garlic.
1 inch (2½cm) root ginger.
Green chillis.
Chilli powder.
2 Plum tomatoes
Oil for cooking.

1 teaspoon coriander seeds.
½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds.
Seeds from 3 cardamom pods.
8-10 black peppercorns.
3 cloves.
Cinnamon sticks (about 2 to 3 inches in total).
2 bay leaves.
Maybe a little salt.

Notes on Ingredients

Lamb. As a lamb dish this will end up very tender, I have used lamb steaks but you can use any cut you fancy. I like to buy a shoulder joint and cut it up, this is very tasty.

Onion. This is one of the things I use in lamb vindaloo to add sweetness and body.

Oil. The best vindaloos are cooked in mustard oil. Ghee is good. Good quality rapeseed (canola) or sunflower oil is OK.

Chilli. The original Portuguese dish would not have been really hot - this comes from its evolution in Goa. I use two medium strength green chillis and a teaspoon of chilli powder. Use more or stronger chillies if you wish but less is also OK too.

Salt. As I say in most recipes, some people fear salt. You only need about 1/4 teaspoon in this quantity anyway and it is an important taste in a classic meat vindaloo. It also contributes to the preservative qualities of the marinate.

Vinegar. Red wine vinegar or even red wine gives a rich sweet and sour taste which is appropriate to lamb vindaloo. White wine or cider vinegar are ok and you could even use malt vinegar.

Basic Method

Lamb Vindaloo
Lamb Vindaloo ready to serve

Heat up a dry frying pan.
Throw in the coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seeds and peppercorns.
Heat for a few seconds until the coriander seeds just start to change colour.
Grind these spices together with the, bay leaves, chilli powder, the seeds from 3 cardamom pods and salt.
Mash the garlic.
Grate the ginger
Chop the lamb into cubes.
Add the spices and the garlic and ginger to the meat and stir well to evenly distribute.
Put in a non-metallic bowl and pour in enough vinegar to just cover (it should be between 2-4oz).
Leave to marinate.

(Some time later)

Finely chop the onion.
Finely chop green chillies.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan - if using mustard oil then it should just start to smoke before cooking.
Toss in the onions and chillies, after a few seconds turn down the heat and gently fry until the onions are soft and just starting to brown.
Using a slotted spoon, put the meat from the marinade into the pan and seal stirring constantly.
Add the rest of the marinade.
Stir and reduce the heat.
Mash up the tomatoes and add these
Cover and simmer over a very low heat for at least two hours.

Notes on Method

You can use ground spices instead of grinding your own but make sure they are fresh; ground spices over six months old have no oils left in them and are pretty tasteless.

Don't use a metallic bowl for the marinade - it will badly affect the taste (and probably the bowl).

You can marinate the meat at room temperature for about 8 hours or in the fridge for about 24 hours. I even did thisi for 48 hours once (only because I had no time to cook on one day). This will thoroughly impregnate the meat, it will be in no danger of going off (ever probably) and will also tenderise it.

Like a lot of dishes I sometimes transfer to slow cooker for simmering. If you use a pan then you might need to add a little water occasionally to stop it drying out and burning.

Lamb vindaloo is best served with plain boiled rice or aromatic rice and a vegetable dish. I like a potato dish, maybe aloo bhaji. Sweet chutney like mango is also a good accompaniment. Depending on what other dishes you eat with this, these quantities will serve between 2 and 4 people.

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See also Chicken Vindaloo, Pork Vindaloo, Prawn Vindaloo

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