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


Sorry for my silence! I have been 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, our friends 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.
The recipe is based on one from Madhur Jaffery’s book, A Taste of India, complements of Mrs Kumar Raste. I have edited the recipe to make it clearer for a modern audience. The original is written for a public largely uneducated about food generally, let alone ethnic cuisine, so it is very detailed indeed. 

Mrs Kumar Raste’s Lamb cooked in the Kolhapuri Style 

Serves 4-6


1kg boned lamb from the shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes
For the marinade

4 tbs (60ml) plain yoghurt
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp ground turmeric
For the sauce

½ tsp vegetable oil
2-4 dried, hot, red chillies
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
10 whole cardamom pods
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds 
3 medium sized onions, peeled
90ml vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tin tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt, to taste


Put the meat in a bowl. Add all the marinating seasonings and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Lightly grease a small cast-iron frying pan with the ½ tsp 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 from the heat and put to one side.
Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Dry roast the cloves, cardamom pods and coriander seeds, tossing the pan constantly to keep them moving. When the coriander seeds are lightly toasted (golden) and fragrant, pour into a mortar and pestle. Grind as finely as possible.
Cut all the onions in half, lengthwise. Slice half of the onions into thin slivers/half moons. Finely dice the rest.
When the meat has finished marinating, heat the 6 tbsp oil in a wide, heavy pan over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in the sliced onions. Stir and fry them until they are reddish-brown in colour. Then add the finely chopped onions and stir for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium low.
Add the garlic, ginger and ground spices and stir for a minute. Add the cinnamon, chillies and 125ml (½ cup) of water. Continue to stir and cook on a medium-low flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. 
Add 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 tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add approx 250 ml (1 cup) water, or enough to cover the meat, and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
Just before serving, you can spoon the fat off the top, if you wish.

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