When Mind GoesBlank and I started exchanging recipes, Rajasthani Lamb was one of the earliest of his recipes that I tried. I first made this dish in 2010, and have made it about twice a year since then. I usually make it with cubed leg of lamb. I decided to try it with cubed lamb shoulder this time.
Rajasthani Lamb (serves 4)
5 Tbsp of ghee or vegetable oil, divided (I used vegetable oil)
1 Tsp of cloves
25 dried red chillies, stalks removed, broken into 2-3 pieces each and soaked in warm water for 30 mins. (I used Byadagi Chillies from South India. They are called “wrinkled chillies” in my local Indian grocery store. I’ve made the dish with birds eye chillies, too.)
2 bay leaves
6 green cardamom pods
4 black cardamom pods
6 1/2 Tbsps minced garlic and ginger. (Mind GoesBlank’s original recipe calls for 6 1/2 tbsps finely chopped garlic, but I decided to make a ginger garlic paste this time)
2 large onions, finely chopped or sliced thin.
750 g lamb diced (1 1/2 inch cubes)
600 ml of water or lamb stock (I used 300 ml of lamb stock because I prefer a thicker sauce in the end product)
30 g fresh cilantro (also known as coriander leaf), chopped
juice of 1 lemon (I used juice of 1/2 lemon because it was a very juicy lemon!)
For the yogurt mixture
250 g yogurt, whisked until smooth
2 Tsps cumin seeds roasted in deep frying pan
4 Tsps ground coriander seed
2 Tsps red chili powder
2 Tsps salt (I used 1 tsp)
Mix the yogurt with cumin seeds, ground coriander seed, chili powder and salt, then set aside.
Crack the cardamom pods a little with a rap from the flat of your knife. Heat 3 Tbsps of ghee or oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the cloves, setting 4-6 aside for later, then add 3-4 soaked chilies, saving the rest for later. Add the bay leaves and the green and black cardamom. When they begin to crackle and change color, add the minced garlic and ginger and saute until they start to turn golden. Add the onions, stirring constantly, until light brown.
Add the meat and cook, stirring over a high heat for 3-5 minutes.
Again, save 3-4 red chilies for later and add the rest to the pan. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to brown. Add the yogurt mixture and cook over a medium heat for 15-18 minutes, until the yogurt has dried up. Pour in the water or lamb stock, then cover the pan and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. 30 minutes is about right for leg of lamb. For the cubed lamb shoulder, it took closer to 60 minutes.
Check the seasoning, remove from the heat and keep warm.
To finish, heat the remaining ghee or oil in a small pan, add the remaining cloves and red chilies and, as they change colour and release their flavors into the fat, pour the mixture over the lamb. Finish with chopped coriander and lemon juice.
I served the lamb with onion kulcha flatbread, mint chutney, brown basmati rice with saffron, and mixed fruit. The sweetness of the fruit was a delightful contrast to the spiciness of the lamb dish.
The bones from the lamb shoulder will make a great broth for the next adventure with lamb!