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Mrs Kumar Raste's Kolhapuri lamb, care of Dick and the Madhur


Sorry for my silence! I have been über, über busy in the week and a half since I have been back in the UK ...and even if I hadn’t been the fun factor in my mealtimes has diminished significantly as I attempt to do the same to my waistline; a healthy, but abysmal diet of exercise and be good to yourself pastas from Sainsbury’s, yawn!
In my post on NZ I told you about the extensive Indian feast cooked up by our hosts in Christchurch. Under the instruction of Madhur Jaffery, Dick, Jocelyn and Cilla cooked up some wondrous dishes, including this lamb curry.
Within Maharashtra, as in much of India, districts, even towns, have their own distinct cuisines. Kolhapur is associated with the foods of the Mahrattas, who were once the bravest of Indian warriors, fighting both Moghul emperors and imperial British forces with great success.
I would love to give you the recipes for some of the other dishes and condiments, but I didn’t want to be too demanding a guest. This one probably goes best with raita, which is fairly straight forward – yoghurt, mint and/or julienne cucumber, some chilli, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt – you can work out the amounts by taste as you go. A simple salad of tomatoes, red onion and coriander dressed with lemon and an oil of your choice makes a refreshing side. And you’ll want some naan, of course, to mop up that lovely juice.
No, I haven’t made it myself
Yes, I am aware that is cheating, but
I have tasted it, and
Yes, it was delicious
I provide the recipe as it appears in Madhur Jaffery’s book, A Taste of India, complements of Mrs Kumar Raste. Bear in mind that the Mad Her was writing for a public largely uneducated about food generally, let alone ethnic cuisine, so the recipe is very detailed indeed. Still, too much detail is better than too little and Dick promises me he followed the recipe to a T, so if you follow suit, you should enjoy it too. 

Mrs Kumar Raste’s Lamb cooked in the Kolhapuri Style 

Serves 4-6


2lb/900g boned lamb from the shoulder, cut into 1½ in/4cm cubes
For the marinade

4 tbs/60ml plain yoghurt
2 tsp/10ml very finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp/5ml finely crushed garlic
¼ tsp turmeric
For the sauce

½ tsp/2.5ml vegetable oil
2-4 dried, hot, red chillies
1½ in/4cm cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
10 whole cardamom pods
2 tbs/30ml whole coriander seeds 
10oz/350g, 3 medium sized onions, peeled
6 tbs/90ml vegetable oil
2 tsp/10ml finely crushed garlic
1 tsp/5ml very finely grated peeled fresh ginger
½ lb/225g, 3 small tomatoes, very finely chopped
about 1¼ tsp/6ml salt


Put the meat in a bowl. Add all the marinating seasonings and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight if you prefer.
Lightly grease a small cast-iron frying pan with the ½ tsp/2.5ml of vegetable oil and heat it over a medium-low flame. When it is hot, put in the dried hot red chillies and the cinnamon stick. Stir these around until the red chillies darken. Remove the spices and put them in a plate. Put the cloves, cardamom pods and coriander seeds into the same frying pan. Stir and roast the seeds until they darken a few shades. You will be able to smell the roasted coriander seeds. Put these spices into the same place as the chillies and cinnamon.
Put all the roasted spices from the plate into the container of a clean coffee grinder or other spice grinder. Grind as finely as possible.
Cut all the onions in half, lengthwise. Now slice half of these sections crosswise into very fine half rings. Chop up the other half as finely as you can.
When the meat has finished marinating, heat the 6 tbs/90 ml/½ cup of oil in a wide, heavy pan over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in just the sliced onions. Stir and fry them until they are reddish-brown in colour.
Now put in the very finely chopped onions and stir them for 1 minute. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Put in the 2 tsp/10 ml of garlic and 1 tsp/5 ml of ginger. Stir for a few seconds. Put in the ground spices from the coffee grinder and stir once. Now add 4 fl oz/125 ml/½ cup of water. Continue to stir and cook on a medium-low flame, stirring as you do so for 3-4 minutes. You will begin to see the oil as it separates from the spice mixture.
Now put in the marinated meat. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir and fry the meat with the spice paste for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt. Continue to stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Now add about 8 fl oz/250 ml/1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
Just before serving, you can spoon the fat off the top if you so desire.

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