Slow cooked lamb curry with kitchuri

Nothing says welcome home to me as much as the heady perfume of a languidly cooked lamb curry, one that’s been muttering and grumbling away on the back burner for several hours. The scent immediately reminds me of eyeballing Mr Taj and his blood stained apron from behind the folds of my mother’s sari. I’d watch him, with the vaguely comforting smell of raw flesh in my nostrils as he’d casually feed a carefully selected leg through the electric saw, the searing whine of bone on metal a distant echo of the abattoir.

Several hours later my brother and I would relish the yielding velvet of garlicky flesh disintegrating beneath our tiny, greedy fingers, scooped up with hot flaky parathas. We’d fight over the precious pieces of rich bone marrow left in the pot, teasing them out with the ends of teaspoons and feasting on the spicy, buttery rewards.

I’ve made this with lamb but the spicing lends itself equally well to beef or mutton. Kitchuri (the origin of “kedgeree”) is a fantastic foil, a lightly spiced lentil and rice dish, it’s the ultimate comfort dish in Bengali cuisine, however it’s also one that I’ve never come across on any restaurant menu.

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DSC08748

Lamb curry

Ingredients

400g bone in leg of lamb, mutton or beef diced

1 tsp each of cumin and coriander seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 large tub of natural yoghurt

2 onions

1 heaped tsp blade mace

2 inches of ginger

4 cloves of garlic

4 cardamom pods

2 bay leaves

5 cloves

10 peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

1 heaped tsp salt

700ml water

method

- Grind the cumin and coriander seeds to a rough powder. Combine with the turmeric, chilli powder, yoghurt and meat. Allow the flavours to marry for at least an hour, preferably overnight

- In a blender/food processor blitz the onions, ginger and garlic down  to a paste

-Heat the oil in a large pan and add the whole cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and mace until they release their fragrance and the oil is sufficiently tempered

- Add the pureed alliums, ginger and salt and fry until just golden

-Add the yoghurt and meat mixture and continue to cook over a medium-high heat until the meat has browned somewhat,  this will take about 5-10 mins

-Introduce the water and turn the heat down low. Leave to simmer for approximately 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary to produce a lush, aromatic gravy, the meat should just be slipping off the bones.

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Kitchuri

Ingredients

50g  split mung beans

50g red lentils

50g yellow split peas

2 peeled cloves of garlic

100g basmati rice

1 cinnamon stick

1 bayleaf

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into florets

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp garam masala

1 tomato, diced

1 green chilli, finely chopped

1/2 tbsp butter/ghee

salt and sugar, to taste

1 litre vegetable stock

method

- Dry fry the mung beans, rice and lentils in a hot pan until lightly toasted. Add the  cinnamon, bay leaf and stock and bring to a boil.

- Add the whole garlic cloves, reduce the heat and simmer covered, for 30 minutes. Take off the stove and set aside to steam for a further 20 minutes

-Meanwhile, heat the butter or ghee in a separate  pan and  fry the potatoes, cauliflower florets and onions for about 6 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

-Reduce the heat and gently fry the ginger, cumin, tomato and chillies. Season with salt and sugar and continue frying until aromatic.

- Return the  rice and lentils to a medium-high heat and stir-in the vegetables and spices.

-Once the mixture boils, reduce to a simmer then cover and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

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22 comments

  1. Reji great recipe and post I’m going to try this soon will it work well with other cuts of Lamb like shoulder and best end of neck ?

  2. More recipes that I have to try! I am interested by the use of mace in that lamb curry. The lentil and rice dish is on the list too. You are increasing my ‘to cook’ list significantly.

  3. I’m on a train home from a wet weekend at the beach.

    Even though I had a fairly substatntial home-made burrito for lunch I am again hungry!

  4. This looks very delicious, and within my limited skills. Will try it this week: wish me luck!

  5. gastrogeek

    Dino-thank you; it works very well with other cuts, the final result is more aromatic than Scoville-tastic, so you might want to add more chilli powder if you prefer heat.

    Helen – That’s some serious flattery right there, especially coming from you – thanks!! The mace adds a really nice rounded nutmeggy flavour, but it’s fine to just grate in a bit of nutmeg if you can’t get hold of blade mace. Looking forward to hearing how you get on!

    Ross – Cheers! Home made burrito sounds good.

    Cennydd – thanks so much – good luck, do let me know how it turns out (and pshaw! -limited indeed)

  6. foodallovermyface

    You’re right, a bubbling curry does indeed mutter and grumble. I never thought of it that way. Nice anthropomorphism.

  7. In NY working, it’s a beautiful day here and I love it, but a teeny part of me is missing my Sunday night curry with the BSG. I have now got my fix and will be cooking this for him when I get home – thank you!

  8. mmmm Rej, youre making me very, very hungry. i can smell the aromas of this one!

  9. Dan

    Wow, this looks seriously good Rej. There’s nothing better than authentic family recipes, cooked and perfected over the years. Thanks! Think I’ll have a go at making both these dishes next week.

  10. I love meat curries on the bone – so much flavour. I’ve never had kitchuri, so I’m looking forward to trying this out.

  11. When we were kids, we’d fight over the bone-in pieces which still had marrow inside that had taken on the flavours of the curry… oh my god!

    So when can I come?! ;)

  12. I am in love with the sound of the lentil dish. And as for marrow – now there’s something worth fighting about!!

  13. Wonderful! I’ve a lamb shoulder in the fridge. Will be trying this. x

  14. Amazing way to cook with lamb! thanks for sharing :)

  15. erm…. how shall I put this…. Wow!!!!

  16. WANNABCOOK

    Could i slow cook this dish in a slow cooker while im out for good few hours, if so is there any additional tips? this curry sounds perfect for me cook for my guests this saturday evening.

    • gastrogeek

      you could indeed do precisely that, although you might need to slightly adjust the amount of liquid to suit. Hope it goes well!

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