December 31, 2010

Lamb Curry with Apricots

I've already shown what I made for lunch on Christmas day.  Christmas dinner featured two new Indian recipes, one of which is featured in this post.  The other will be covered in a separate post.

When I make Indian, I usually make a meat, poultry or seafood dish and a vegetable dish, plus basmati rice and naan.  The meat dish I made this time around was inspired by a recipe in Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India.  I've had that dish before (or something quite a bit like it), and while I enjoyed the version I'd had in a restaurant, I had some ideas how to make it into something even more to my taste.  So, I took some basics from that recipe, changed around several things, added a couple touches of my own and got to work making the dish.

I was very pleased with the result:  Tender lamb, plump, juicy apricots, a nice balance of sweet and sour and an enticing cinnamon fragrance.  This isn't a spicy curry; I'd characterize it more as warm and inviting, and very flavorful.   The blend of rich and exotic flavors and pleasant textures is likely to appeal equally to those new to curry and those with more experienced palates.  I invite you to give it a try - and then to come back and let us know what you think of the recipe.

Our Christmas dinner.

Lamb Curry with Apricots

yield = 6 servings

4        ounces dried apricots
1/4     teaspoon cider vinegar + 1 teaspoon
2        tablespoons vegetable oil
1        large onion, chopped fine
1        teaspoon grated ginger
1        teaspoon minced garlic
1        cinnamon stick
1 1/2  teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
3/4     teaspoon powdered cardamom seed
1/2     teaspoon ground cumin
2        pounds stewing lamb, cut into small pieces
3/4     teaspoon garam masala
1/2     15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4     teaspoon black pepper
1/4     teaspoon salt
1        teaspoon sugar

In a small bowl, combine the dried apricots with 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar and 1 cup of water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1 minute.  Allow the apricots to soak for 3 hours.

In a Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown.  Add the garlic, ginger and cinnamon stick and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the paprika, cardamom and cumin and cook for another minute, then stir in the lamb and garam masala and cook, stirring often, until the lamb is browned on all sides.
Right:  Lamb Curry with Apricots
Left:  Vegetable Curry with Winter Squash

Stir in the tomatoes, black pepper and salt and cook five minutes, then stir in 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low simmer and cook 1/2 hour. 

Drain the apricots and add them to the Dutch oven.  Stir in sugar and one teaspoon vinegar, cook an additional 10 minutes, then serve.

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