Last week meant that we were seventy-five percent through with our first installation of The Curry Club at The Jones Wood Foundry. Faces were becoming increasingly familiar, after-all; some of these patrons had been with us for all 3 Curry Club nights. The guards were down and patrons opened. What we were offering was uncomplicated comfort food, using a handful of ingredients to transform flavors but not expectations. Oh no, expectations were being met. On a night that was crisp, all one yearned for was something to stoke the fire in that belly. Perhaps something braised, perhaps something spicy, perhaps something aromatic. We couldn’t think of anything better than our slow cooked lamb bhuna with tender pieces of butternut squash.
Lamb bhuna is a lamb curry with richesse. Different to rogan josh, lamb bhuna is braised. The sauce clings to the tender pieces of slow-cooked lamb and as the sauce reduces, the spices intensify leaving the surroundings with an incensed aroma of cardamom, bay leaves and ginger. I hope you are feeling the love.
Some ate their dish at the bar over a pint of IPA and a side of ‘me time’ whilst others ate in large communal groups, dipping in and out of each others plates. It was another magical Curry Club night.
Recipe For Lamb Bhuna and Butternut Squash
- 2 lb Lamb shoulder, cut in cubes (with some bone)
- 1 TBSP. Ginger, minced
- 1 TSP. Garlic, minced
- ¾ Tsp. Salt
- 2 TBSP. Red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup cooking oil
- 1 TSP. cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 3 Green cardamoms
- 1 ½ onion
- 3 TBSP. Ginger and garlic, paste
- 1 green chili
- ½ tsp. Haldi
- ½ tsp. chili powder/ cayenne pepper
- 1 TSP. Coriander powder, roasted and crushed
- ½ TSP. fresh cracked pepper
- 1 TBSP. Tomato puree
- 1 can peeled plum tomatoes, crushed (14 oz can)
- ½ cup plain yoghurt
- ½ can coconut milk
- ¼ cup fresh Cilantro
- 1 cup water (or beer)
- 1 cup of roasted butternut squash, large dice
- Handful of fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
1) Trim most fat off the lamb
2) Place lamb in mixing bowl with salt, ginger, garlic and red wine vinegar for 1 hour
3) Remove from refrigeration and allow to lose chill.
4) Heat a frying pan and batch fry in a film of oil to get a crust, set aside on wire racks
5) Heat oil in a pan, fry cumin seeds, as they turn dark red, add bay leaves, cloves and cardamom and sauté for another 30 seconds
6) Add finely diced onions and cook on high heat until they brown and darken at the edges. Add the chili, coriander powder, salt, black pepper and fry another minute
7) Add the ginger, green chili and garlic and allow them to golden and get color
8) Add puree, cook for a couple of minutes to remove raw taste. Add crushed tomatoes. When oil separatesadd the lamb back in to the pan. Add 1 cup of hot water (or beer), bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cook on low heat covered for about an hour in total
9) After first 30 mins, lamb should be half done. Cook uncovered to dry off excess moisture. Beat the yoghurt in a mixing bowl, then add to pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, continue cooking until moisture has turned in to thick sauce that coats the lamb.
10) Add the roasted squash and garnish with cilantro
Saira Malhotra, is of British –Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes