Coming from England, where we have a choice of some of the best curries outside India, I really miss a delicate fragrant Ruby Murray. I don’t know why I have struggled to find good curry in Melbourne – I am more than likely looking in the wrong places, but more often than not they are either greasy and taste overwhelmingly of garam masala, or are sickly sweet.
My solution has been to read about traditional curries and learn how to make them properly myself. There are so many wonderful books and blogs out there with wealths of information and instructions that there’s really no excuse not to be making Indian curries at home. They are actually pretty easy and ridiculously cheap once you have invested in the spices (I buy in bulk from my local Indian shop, NOT the supermarket where you will pay beyond premium and not always get the real thing).
This particular madras recipe is SPICY! If you have a delicate disposition then perhaps don’t add the black peppercorns to your curry powder as this is predominantly where the mouth tingling heat comes from.
See this dish as part of a MEAL PLAN
I love hearing from you so do let me know your favourite curry houses in Melbourne and share your own curry recipes. You can post in the comments section below, or email me at: email@example.com
1 cup Basmati rice
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp ground turmeric
4 whole dried chillies
2 small green chillies
4 garlic cloves
1.5cm piece ginger
400g lamb shoulder
1 tsp red chili powder
10 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds (authentically you would use black mustard seeds, but yellow are fine too)
250g chopped tomatoes (tinned not fresh)
1 tbsp tamarind paste
Take all the spices for the curry powder (except the turmeric) and dry roast them. You will know when they are ready when your kitchen starts to smell wonderfully fragrant and all the spices have started to release their aroma. Cool slightly before pounding in a mortar and pestle/food processor with the turmeric.
Next, cut the lamb into bite size chunks and place in a non-metallic bowl. Massage the spices into the meat so it is well covered before adding in the yoghurt and mixing well. Allow to marinade for at least 2 hours.
In a food processor whizz together the garlic, green chili and ginger until you have a fine paste – a touch of water added in will help create a smooth paste.
In a large pot heat about 3 tbsp of canola oil over a high heat. Allow it to reach smoking point, remove from the heat for a few minutes before re-heating and adding in the mustard seeds, then the curry leaves and finally the finely chopped onion (leave about a minute in between adding the curry leaves and the onion to give the curry leaves time to release their flavour into the oil).
Once the onions have turned golden add in the wet curry paste and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in the red chili powder, tomatoes, water and the marinaded lamb including all the spices and yoghurt. Bring to the boil before covering and cooking over a low heat for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Serve with Basmati rice, fresh cucumber and some cooling natural yoghurt.
Use chicken instead of lamb
Nip down to your local Indian restaurant for a couple of buttery garlic naans.