When its cold, the wind whips through your drafty San Francisco windows (and let’s be honest, under the doors and through any other possible place it can through an extra-mature San Francisco Victorian) all you want, is a curry (well… and to have a few extra days off to just relax, chill, and cook like mad, but when that can’t happen, go with the curry!).
This can be just as true when you are anywhere else in the country/world(say-Boulder-where we combined the love of two curries to create this superbly delicious meal) but here in San Francisco, where there is a plethora of ethnic food (and people who are more Californian than I will ever be but know their way around their heritage’s food culture) as well as two pushy boys who LOVE beer and, you guessed it – curry – curry comes up in conversation and as the dinner choice quite often.
Now, I’m a lover of curry, but i get a hankering for different kinds at different times, and although I love me some tasty meats, I do need to have some vegetably goodness in there to really make it a satisfying knock-your-socks-off deal. Enter the roast Indian leg of lamb and South Indian Vegetable Curry duo. Add a little Naan(preferably picked up from your favorite take-away) or rice if the former isn’t the easiest option, and you are going to be one smug Indian-food eating camper.
The vegetable curry is one that has graced our kitchen many a times, and can take on new forms every time based on the bounty we previously picked up at the farmer’s market that week. The time above we included the goods of the season: cauliflower, carrots, turnips, potatoes, peas(frozen are just as tasty as anything, so don’t forget them!) broccoli, and spices mixed with tamarind and coconut milk. All meald together to create a flavorsome, healthy, and satisfying curry.
Leg of Lamb is tasty roasted always, but add to it a yogurt and Indian spiced marinade, that is slathered on throughout the roast, and your typical sunday roast will be so incredibly delectable, the smell so inducing, you won’t know what to do with yourself come next week and its seemingly simple preparation.
What am I suggesting? Go for the curry! Go for the ethnic. Smell the fragrant meat and curry, and you too, will become subject to a love of curry on those chilly, wintery days.
What’s your favorite wintery warming curry or stew?
Spicy Lamb Roast
(Adapted from Best Ever Indian Cookbook)
3 -3.5 lbs leg of lamb (without bone, with needs a longer cooking time)
1 tsp hot chili powder
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp bread crumbs
3 tbsp yogurt, plain
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp golden raisins
1 tbsp oil
Preheat the oven to 350F. Trim lamb of any extra fats on the outside. Rinse and pat meat dry, set aside. In a bowl, mix together the chili, garlic, coriander, cumin, and salt. In food processor (or if you don’t have one, like I don’t! use and immersion blender, or even a regular blender!) mix together the bread crumbs, yogurt, lemon juice, and raisins. Add the spices and oils to the blender and mix well.
Place the meat in a roasting pan, pour marinade over the meat and rub in well. Then place the roast, covered, in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the roast from the oven, and spoon/spread the sauce over the mean once more. Place the meat back in the oven for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the lamb is to your desired pinkness.
Remove lamb from oven, let rest for 10 minutes(very important step! let the juices get themselves back into the meat, if you cut it now, you loose the juice!), and slice to serve.
South Indian Lentils and Veg
(Adapted from Best Ever Indian Cookbook)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 (if want it not too hot) 4 (for spicy) dried red chilies
6 -8 curry leaves (I find these in Indian shops, or on my trips back to England, from Bart Spices where you can order them)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 to 4 tbsp shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup red lentils
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 to 2 lbs mixed veg, depending on how vegetably you like your meal, we used carrots, turnips, green beans, peas, chopped onion, red and yellow pepper, cauliflower, and spinach)
4 tbsp tamarind juice (can find in indian or asian shops)
3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk
4 tomatoes, quartered, or 1 can of stewed tomatoes
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. When hot, quickly fry the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilies (be careful, this might make you cough a bit if you place your face over the pan), curry leaves, garlic, and coconut in the pan until very fragrant (but not burnt!). Add the onions and pepper(if using) to the mixture and cook until softened. Mix in the lentils, garam masala, and tumeric. Stir in 2 cups of water or stock (chicken or vegetable work best). Simmer until the lentils have broken down.
Add the other vegetables, coconut milk, tamarind juice, and tomatoes. Cook until the vegetables are to your preferred texture. I like toothsome veg, so I let this simmer for a good 20 minutes or so. Serve with fresh cilantro on top.