This week I picked up some boneless leg of lamb from Costco, which I usually just roast with garlic and rosemary in the oven. Recently, however, I’ve been curious to experiment with some spices especially given their many anti-inflammatory properties (something I took for granted having been raised on typical Indian cooking!). Also, it gave me a great excuse to explore my mom’s beloved spice box!
So, if you’re feeling adventurous, try this Indian version of chunky chili! Packed with a plenty of flavor, this hearty curry has a medium level of spice to it (less than what you would find at a typical Indian restaurant). Feel free to adjust to your taste.
- 2 lbs boneless leg of lamb (or lamb shoulder), cut into 2″ cubes
- 2 medium onions minced in a food processor
- 1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 – 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tb sp almond butter
- 1/2 cup water
(Guide to shopping for spices)
- 2 cinammon sticks
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2-3 cloves
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder (Kashmiri red chili powder, if possible, for the rich red color!)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala (Indian/Asian supermarkets or the International aisles at most HEBs. If you don’t find this, substitute with allspice.)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger – minced (I use store bought Ginger paste)
- 1 tsp fresh garlic – minced
- 1 1/2 tsp salt to taste
- Fresh cilantro to garnish with
- In a dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the whole spices – cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and bay leaf.
- Once the spices sizzle and oil is fragrant, add the onion, ginger and garlic pastes and stir constantly. Reduce the heat to medium to prevent the onion from burning/sticking to bottom, until the mixture is evenly golden brown.
- Then, add all of the ground spices – chili, cumin, garam masala and mix well.
- Add the lamb pieces to the pan and let them brown (about 1 1/2 min on each side). Sprinkle the salt on the lamb on each side.
- Add the crushed tomatoes with half a cup of water and scrape the delicious brown bits off the bottom of the pan. The lamb should be 3/4ths covered in liquid.
- Let the mixture come to a boil before you reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Stir in the almond butter and partially cover the pan/dutch oven, allowing it to slow cook for 40-60 minutes until the meat is tender.
- It’s ready when the lamb is fork tender (but not easily shredding). If your sauce is too thick, add some water and bring to a boil once again.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve warm!