21st February 2009
Scottish Series Training Dinner for Hobbes
The fabulous Indian Lamb.

Baingan Bharta
My interpretation of the Kalpna classic.

Egg Curry
Raha's fearsome egg curry staple.

Vegetable Korma
A beautifully mild, creamy and fragrant vegetable dish.

Naan Bread
Indian Bread.

Yoghurt Sauce
Classic Indian accompaniment.

Spicy-Coated Roast Leg of Lamb
main meat curry
Leg of lamb suits the tandoori process, and this recipe is one of the culinary gems from Moghul India. As with all tandoori cooking, the secret lies in marinating for at least 24 hours (48 is even better for this particular dish). The spicing is especially aromatic in this recipe, which is from India's foremost tandoori restaurant, the Bukharra, located at the Welcom-Sheraton Maurya Hotel in Delhi.

Serves: 4

3½-4 lb (1.5-1.8 kg) leg of lamb on the bone

5 oz (150 g) natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons garlic
2 teaspoons ginger purée
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 teaspoons coconut powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 fl oz (85 ml) vegetable oil

1 tablespoon tandoori paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground green cardamoms
½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons dried mint

Garnish (optional)
20-30 whole almonds, roasted or fried
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
Stab the lamb all over to the bone with a sharp knife to enable the marinade to penetrate the meat.
In a bowl large enough to hold the meat, mix all the remaining ingredients - the marinade and the Spices - into a paste.
Put the meat into the bowl of paste, and poke the paste into all the gashes, ensuring the meat is well coated.
Leave in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 6 hours, maximum of 30. The longer you leave it, the better the paste will seep in and adhere to the meat during cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°/Gas 4 maximum, and slow-roast the lamb uncovered, but feel free to cover it if it browns too quickly for about 3 hours or so.... When really tender, the flesh should literally fall off the bone (so don't undercook it - you're not aiming for 43°C rare roast lamb here). Prior to serving, let it rest for 30 minutes or so in a low oven.

An optional garnish is to press roasted or fried whole almonds into the gashes then sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Kalpna's Baingan Bharta
side main veg curry
3 aubergines
2 medium onions sliced into segments
2 medium onions, puréed
5 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered or smaller
½ head garlic, puréed
2" ginger, puréed
1 Tablespoon tandoori paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder This was a mild version
1-2 Tablespoons tomato purée
150g whole cashew nuts, roughly crushed to separate
200g yoghurt (around a half a large tub) or as much more as you fancy
Prick the aubergines, put in a roasting tin and dress with ghee. Roast at 180°C.
Slice the onions into reasonable pieces and throw into the roasting tin. Remove when the onions are nicely browned and the aubergines cooked.
Meanwhile, grind the remaining onion, garlic and ginger to a paste. Fry in more ghee until cooked, add the dry spices and cook until oil separates, add the tandoori paste and cook until oil separates.
This actually turned out rather gritty, probably because when I ground the spices for the paste (and also the other dry spices used here) I didn't make them fine enough. Perhaps tandoori paste is not the best thing to use, but hey - I had a lot left over from the Raan.
If you keep this for a couple of days (or use a smoother tandoori paste!) then the grittiness seems to disappear, but see below.
Add the tomato purée and cook until oil separates. Add the cashews.
Add the yoghurt a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring, cooking and reducing each quantity until you're happy with the flavour. Season. Peel the aubergines and dice the flesh into chunks. Add to the curry. Cook until blended in. Add the tomato quarters and cook until beginning to break apart. I'm starting to think it's better without those great hefting chunks of tomato in there - so perhaps chop them smaller than quarters?
Serve with the roasted onions on top.

Very tasty.
You can throw a tarka of deep-fried golden onion slices onto the curry to liven it up slightly before serving, if the roasted onion segments have gone soggy.
This doesn't really seem to keep well though. After a couple of days the tomatoes start to look anaemic, though the taste is still fine.
Or again, you could just chop them up smaller. It occurs to me to wonder what this might be like using sun-dried tomatoes. Never seen them used in a curry before, and they might be better in larger chunks than regular tomatoes.

Tandoori Paste
ingredient veg vegan curry
6 garlic cloves, puréed
2" ginger, puréed
bunch fresh mint
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon ground roast coriander seeds
1 Tablespoon ground roast cumin seeds
2 teaspoons dried mango powder (amchoor)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
sherry vinegar
sunflower oil
Purée the garlic, ginger and mint with the lemon juice.
Dry roast the seeds and grind them.
Add the spices to the paste.
Add oil and a little vinegar to blend.
Fry the paste until it colours and the oil begins to separate.
This did make a rather coarse, gritty paste. If you want to use this as a normal curry paste, rather than for roasting you should probably make more effort to grind it finer.
I would have added beetroot powder to colour it if I could have found any.
John recommends using Kashmiri or Degchi Mirchi chillies for added colour.

Making the tandoori paste again, I more closely followed Pat Chapman's original version to good effect. I didn't bother roasting my own spices (so the powders were very fine!) and used only the dry powder ingredients as instructed.
Oh, and I had some beetroot powder. Which makes it look prettier.

Yoghurt Sauce
sauce veg curry
Greek yoghurt
chopped fresh mint/coriander
mint sauce
mango chutney
paprika/chilli powder
garam masala
balsamic vinegar
pressed garlic
Blend the non-yoghurt ingredients to taste, add a little yoghurt or water if necessary.
Stir into the yoghurt.
This goes really well with the raan, but it takes a bit of tasting to get the balance right.
The mint sauce can be overwhelmingly sweet, so this needs to be offset with the garlic and vinegar.
In general, any combination of chopped fresh mint/coriander, ground garlic/onion/shallots, minced green chillies, mint sauce/chutney, tamarind/lemon/lime juice, powdered mango/chilli/paprika/garam masala, vinegar, with yoghurt will probably produce something credible.

Spicey Cottage Yoghurt Sauce
sauce veg curry
My approximation of the delicious yoghurt sauce served at the Spicey Cottage [sic!] Indian Restaurant, 142 High Street, Wibsey:

Live yoghurt preferably not Greek style - too smooth!
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh coriander leaves you can use the stalks too
Tamarind concentrate
Amchoor (mango) powder
Chilli powder
Green chilli?
Round 1
Whisk the ingredients together with a hand blender.
My version was a pretty close match for the Spicy Cottage version, but slightly too sweet.
Probably I used too much mint (and too little coriander), too sweet a yoghurt (greek style), perhaps a little too much tamarind (which is also quite sweet) and no green chilli.
Round 2
Whisk up fresh mint, coriander and deseeded green chillies with lemon juice, salt and a little demarara sugar using a hand blender
Stir into yoghurt with amchoor and chilli powder.
This seemed to be about the right collection of ingredients (maybe a touch of mint sauce, but not too much). Getting the balance right is the tricky bit though and the original is quite sour and watery.
Mind you, any variation is pretty nice!
Round 3
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • 1 Tablespoon whole (unchopped) coriander leaves, or slightly less
  • 1 teaspoon whole (unchopped) mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon amchoor
  • 1 chilli
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
This is very close, very close indeed. The authentic sauce manages to be both slightly sourer and slightly sweeter than my attempt.
I whisked the whole lot up together to purée it, but this leaves a very runny sauce, so I think it would be better to whizz up the ingredients first and then stir them into the yoghurt as above.
Again, maybe a touch of lemon juice and sugar?
Incidentally - this doesn't freeze well at all. It will just split and curdle.