Our lamb traveled from Greece to India this week, appearing first in gryos and then in a spicy masala sauce. We used Jamie Oliver’s recipe for this one. It just so happens to be in his top 10 favorite meals. You can use any kind of meat you like, since it’s cooked separately from the sauce; making it ideal for using up leftovers. The only change we made was adding a lot more spices than the recipe called for. We tasted it at the end and pretty much doubled the amount of paprika, cumin, coriander, and salt. Did you know that some of the best Indian food we’ve ever had was in Japan of all places? We used to go to this one place in a small town called Minou — the people who worked there were always so friendly. Maybe they were happy to see some fellow foreigners come into their restaurant. One man in particular was very animated and used to beam at us through the kitchen window, while he was preparing chicken to throw into the tandoori oven.
Lamb Tikka Masala
(From Jamie’s Dinners)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 inches of fresh ginger, peeled
2-3 fresh red chiles, de-seeded
1 TBS. mustard seeds
1 TBS. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
3 TBS. garam masala
a generous 3/4 cup plain yogurt
leftover cubed lamb, or 4 medium skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 TBS. butter
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
2 TBS. tomato puree
1 handful of ground cashews
1/2 cup heavy cream
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1-2 limes
- Grate the garlic and ginger on the finest side of a grater into a bowl. Chop the chiles very finely and add them to the bowl. Mix together.
- Heat a good splash of oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add them to the bowl with the ginger-garlic mixture, along with the paprika, cumin, coriander, and 2 TBS. of the garam masala. Put half of this spice mixture into a slightly larger bowl and add the yogurt and the lamb (or chicken) pieces to it. Stir to coat the meat and allow to marinate for about 20-30 minutes.
- Melt the butter in the same pan the mustard seeds were in and add the sliced onions and the remaining half of the spice mixture. Cook gently for about 15 minutes without browning too much. It will become very fragrant and you’ll want to eat it right then and there!
- Add the tomato puree, ground cashews, 2 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir well and gently simmer until it reduces and thickens slightly. Turn off the heat.
- Take the meat out of the mariade and cook until done on a bbq, or in a pan (if using already cooked meat, this obviously won’t take as long. You mostly want to reheat the meat and let the marinade cook off a bit).
- Warm the sauce and add the cream and the remaining 1 TBS. of garam masala. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary (this is where we added more of every spice!) As soon as the sauce comes to a boil, take off the heat and add the grilled/cooked meat. Check the seasoning once more and then sprinkle the cilantro over the top. Finish with the lime juice. Serve with steamed basmati rice. Serves 4.