If there is one Asian cookbook I’d recommend having in your kitchen, it’s Charmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook. With a plethora of truly authentic Asian recipes, from the depths of Myanmar to the far corners of Pakistan, this is a must for those who love to cook Asian food. If you don’t have a well-stocked spice box the list of ingredients might seem a little daunting. But I can assure you the resulting flavours are well worth the investment! The recipe below is an adaptation from this cookbook. I tend to prefer curry with lots of sauce, so have veered slightly away from the more traditionally dry Rogan Josh and made a moreish sauce to engulf the tender lamb.
800g lean lamb, cut into large cubes
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
2-3 fresh chilis depending on heat you like
1 thumb-sized ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 handful almonds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon each of ground fennel, ground cardamom, ground cloves and mace
Ghee or oil
1 onion diced
5 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
130ml natural yoghurt
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef or chicken stock
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander and yoghurt to garnish
1. Put garlic, ginger, chilli, coconut, almonds and chilli into a small blender with two tablespoons oil and blend.
2. Heat a frypan to medium-high heat. Add ground coriander, cumin poppy seeds and fennel and cook until they give of an aromatic smell, usually 2-3 mins. Add these into the blender, along with the ground cardamom, cloves and mace and blend again until combined well.
3. Heat a large pot to medium heat and add in 3-4 tablespoons of oil or ghee and fry the onion until golden. Add the spice mix from the blender, plus turmeric and cardamom pods and fry, stirring constantly until oil starts to separate from the oil or ghee, around 4-5 mins. Add the lamb and thoroughly coat in the paste.
4. Next, mix through the canned tomatoes, stock and salt and combine. Turn to a low heat and cook for 2 hours with lid on, stirring occasionally. Take lid off for last 30 mins.
5. Just before serving, stir through the yoghurt and bring back to warm temperature. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately with basmati rice and/or naan bread.