Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lamb "Korma"

I am not an Indian food expert - although I do love to cook and eat it! My problem lies in terminology: Based on several Wikipedia articles, I'm pretty sure that a "saag" always contains spinach, "vindaloo" is marinated in wine or vinegar, and "tandoori" is roasted in a clay oven, "keema" is made with ground meat, and "korma" is made with stew meat - although I'd appreciate any correction by someone who has actual first-hand knowledge of Indian culture and cuisine. One thing I do know for sure: the following recipe is tasty. Even if it isn't "real" Indian food, it is at least Indian-inspired, and for that I thank my subcontinental friends.

  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2 pounds lamb stew meat (or lamb chops that have been cut off the bone and cut into 2-inch cubes, or you could use beef stew meat like chuck)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala (an Indian spice mixture containing cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, and cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (for medium heat) or cayenne pepper (hot), optional
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lightly salt the meat and toss in two tablespoons of the oil. Working in batches, quickly brown the meat in a large skillet over high heat (do not crowd the pan). Reduce the heat to medium. Add one tablespoon oil and sweat the onion with a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the garam masala, chili flakes, garlic, and ginger and cook for 1 more minute. Add the meat (and any collected juices), sweet potatoes, beans, half-and-half and yogurt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add lemon juice, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Serve over rice or pita bread.

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