It's been a while since I have been here. When things get busy with illnesses or some difficulty, I tend to draw in and focus my energy on getting through it. You know how it goes, right. With two little kids, it is kind of inevitable.
Everything is fine now and I am coming back gingerly, having been away for so long.
Hope you had a good holiday season. I had a couple of cookie exchange and here is what I made for one of them - wreath cookies. Regular sugar cookies. Tiny M and I had a lot of fun making it.
He was very interested in helping me, carrying them to the tray, and occasionally tasting little cookies that came from the donut holes of the cookies. I set aside some cookies for them and they colored their own.
When I was at the Farmer's Market last month, I picked some lamb shoulders with nice marbling. The next day a couple of foodie friends were coming for dinner and I knew I had to make something special with it. I settled on lamb rogan josh without knowing it was one of their favorite dishes.
I got the recipe off the web from one of the blogs. The recipe called for 3 tbspoon of kashimiri chilli powder. I am usually cautious and will taste, but for some reason I forgot to this time. So when it was time to taste, I almost choked. The heat was too much, overshadowing the taste of other spices.
I decided to throw out the entire curry and start all over again. This time settling on a much lesser amount of the chili powder. Maybe our tastes are milder, maybe the kashmiri chili powder I had was too spicy, or maybe both. I will never know. But now I have a recipe that works well.
This recipe has no onion, or garlic. The flavors come from the black cardamom, dry ginger, fennel and asafetida (hing). Use ghee for best flavors. If it feels too much, temper in ghee and use oil for the rest.
The second version came out great and it turned out to be a great evening.
Here is how I did it.
5-6 pieces of lamb pieces
(for coating the lamb)
1.5 tspoon lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tspoon garam masala powder
3-4 tbspoons ghee
2-3 pods black cardamom
3-4 pods green cardamom
2 bay leaves
1/2 tspoon asafoetida
10-12 black peppercorns
To be mixed together
1/2 tspoon black cardamom powder (another 2 pods)
1/2 tspoon green cardamom powder (2 pods)
1 tablespoon fennel (saunf) powder
1 tablespoon dry ginger powder
2.5 tspoon kashmiri chill powder
1 cup yogurt
Marinate the lamb pieces in salt, garam masala and lemon juice. You can leave it overnight or atlas a couple of hours like I did.
Heat 3 tbspoons ghee in a thick bottomed pan and and shallow fry the lamb pieces about 3-4 minutes on each side till it has a nice reddish brown color.
Now take the yogurt and whisk it smooth, then add the spiced together to a smooth paste. Set it aside.
Take the rest of the ghee and temper it with the cardamoms, bay leaves, asafetida and peppercorns.
Then add the lamb pieces and the spice and yogurt mix. Let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Taste it, add salt and water and let it cook on low heat for about 45-50 minutes till the lamb is tender.
The Kashmiri chili provides it the signature color and there should be fat on top of the curry.
I served it with saffron rice, a side of butternut squash stirfry.
Dessert was cake served with lemon curd and fresh strawberries.