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Mikeís Hot Spicy Food Recipes

Lamb or Chicken Curry

  Simple Lamb Curry With Carrot Raita

Time: about 1 1/2 hours plus marinating time


  • 2 pounds lean lamb shoulder cut in 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced thick, 1 pound
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 inch-long piece cinnamon stick


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped mint, chives and cilantro.

1. Put the lamb in a bowl with the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix well. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes, or up to several hours refrigerated (even overnight is fine).

2. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the seasoned meat. Lightly brown the meat and onions, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so. Add the cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick, then add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and turn heat to gentle simmer. Cook for about an hour, or until the meat is fork-tender. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste. Raise the heat and let the sauce reduce a bit, if desired. (May be prepared ahead to this point and reheated before serving.)

3. To make the raita, put the yogurt in a bowl. Heat the ghee or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin, let them pop a bit ó be careful ó then stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, till barely golden. Carefully stir the hot contents of the skillet into the yogurt. Add the grated carrot, cayenne and salt, to taste. Let the raita sit at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. Just before serving, stir in the mint, chives and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings


An Indian Curry Close to Home


Published: February 17, 2012

IF youíre looking for a rich deep-flavored curry, you donít need to go out. With only a few ingredients you most likely have on hand, you can produce a good one at home. Aside from the meat for this simple lamb curry (you may use chicken thighs if you prefer), the shopping list is relatively short: onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, clove, cayenne and cinnamon.


For the non-Indian cook, traditional Indian cooking may seem too involved, complex or cumbersome, but itís not necessarily so. When you learn some basic easy techniques, the process becomes less daunting.

For instance, you can get into the pleasant habit of toasting and grinding your own spices. It is a simple matter of heating them (in this case cumin or coriander seeds) in a small dry skillet. When they become fragrant, after just a minute or so, they are ready to be pulverized using an electric spice mill or mortar. This small effort provides the aroma and fresh flavor that packaged ground spices often lack.

Another utterly simple technique is using the essential paste of fresh ginger and garlic found in so many Indian recipes. For a small amount, employ a micro-plane grater, or the fine holes of an ordinary box grater. The lamb, marinated briefly in this paste along with the spices, becomes transformed.

The next step is the careful browning of the meat with the onions. If the heat is too high, they will burn; too low and you wonít achieve the caramelized flavor youíre after. Attentive stirring for about 10 minutes is required. After that, add water, turn down the heat, put on the lid and relax. The curry will be ready in about an hour.

Sizzling spices is yet another way to impart flavor to a dish. For the carrot raita that accompanies this curry, this technique is what really adds dimension. Mustard seeds are heated in a small amount of ghee or oil just until they pop, along with a bit of garlic and cumin, then stirred into yogurt. The raita gets additional spark from fresh mint and a little cayenne heat.

Friends donít let friends buy spices at American grocery stores!

Mikeís Hot Spicy Food Recipes