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Thursday 14 April 2011


Its obvious from the recipe page that my preference is for North Indian cooking, but there is no denying that there is nothing like a good Madras curry to warm the bones.

Madras, a shortened version of Madarasapatinam, is today known as Chennai,
which, you guessed it, is in turn a shortened version of Chennaipatinam.

But let’s not get too technical.
Madras curry was never known as Madarasapatinam curry. Neither is it today called Chennai curry or …..

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Let’s rather cook.

But before we do that, I must stress that this recipe is for Madras Curry. Not Chennai Curry. Maybe it's best that I illustrate the difference?

· 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
· 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
· 1 level teaspoon salt
· 5 whole dried red chilli peppers
· 6 fresh curry leaves
· 3 tablespoons garlic paste
· 2 teaspoons ginger paste
· 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
· 1kg lamb meat, cut into cubes
· 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter), melted
· 1/4 cup vegetable oil
· 4 onions, sliced
· 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
· 2 cups water, divided
· 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
· 6 cardamom pods
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· 3 tablespoons warm water
· 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1. Toast the coriander seeds over medium-low heat until they begin to turn brown and pop. Repeat the toasting process with the cumin seeds, then with the dried red peppers. Transfer each ingredient to a food processor or spice grinder as you finish. Add the salt and grind to a fine powder. Mix with the garlic and ginger to form a thick paste.
2. Sprinkle the turmeric over the lamb, stirring lightly to coat. Toast the fennel seeds as above and set aside. Heat a heavy-based pot over medium heat with the ghee and vegetable oil; cook the onions until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in your curry paste and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the meat and fry for 1 minute more. Pour in 2/3 of the can of coconut milk and 1 cup of water; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and 1 cup of water, along with the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and toasted fennel seeds. Cover with the lid ajar and return to a simmer, cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the lamb is tender. Stir occasionally and thin with water if the sauce becomes too thick while cooking.

4. When the lamb is tender, stir in garam masala, sugar, and the tamarind paste dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water; cook 5 minutes longer, or until the sauce thickens. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods before serving.
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