Friday, June 15, 2012

Lamb Saag

To me Lamb Saag (Lamb Spinach) is a perfect dish.  I get to have my protein and my vegetable in one dish.  Granted, this is still a two-pot dish, so it's almost the same as making 2 separate dishes, but I just like the idea of having my lamb swimming in a beautiful green spinach sauce.  I mean, just think about the iron boost you'll get from eating this!

I have just a few notes about the recipe which I adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's cookbook, How to Cook Indian.  First, I used boneless lamb in my recipe, because that's what I had in the freezer.  You can do this with bone-in lamb, but if you do, simmer all the lamb in the stock for the full hour and only simmer it for a total of 15, plus 10 minutes at the end…it should be good and tender then.  Second, I went light on the curry powder and chile powder because my boys were going to eat this.  If it were just for hubby and me, I would have added the 4 tsp. of curry powder and 1 tsp. of chile powder.  Do what suits you and your family the best. If you're not sure, add the lowest amount and adjust to your taste.  (This is pretty much standard operating procedure for me.)  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does!

2 lbs Lamb Stew Meat
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
6 Green Cardamom
2 Black Cardamom
4 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp. Ground Turmeric, divided
1 1/4 tsp. Salt, divided
10 oz Frozen Spinach
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Tb Grated Ginger
5-6 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
2 med Sweet Onions, sliced
2-4 tsp. Madras Curry Powder, to taste
1/4-1 tsp. Red Chile Powder, to taste
Pour 3 cups water into a medium stockpot.  Add the cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, 1/4 tsp. turmeric, and 1 tsp. salt and bring to boil.  Add 1/4 lb of lamb; lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.  Drain, reserving the lamb and the stock.

Meanwhile, thaw spinach in the microwave, in a microwave safe bowl or plate, for about 3 minutes on high heat.  Let cool, then transfer to a food processor without draining.  Process to a smooth puree and set aside.

Place a large wok over medium heat and add the oil.  When small bubbles appear at the bottom, lower the heat to low, add the cumin seeds, ginger paste, and garlic paste.  Sauté for a minute, then add the onions and sauté until golden browned.

Season the lamb that was not added to the stock with the remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Add this lamb to the center of the wok, pushing the onions to the side.  Brown on both sides.  Then add the lamb that was simmered in the stock and half the reserved stock.  Stir well, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. 

Add the remaining stock and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes.

Stir in the spinach puree, curry powder, red chile powder, and remaining 1/4 tsp. turmeric. Cover, and let simmer on low heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until the lamb is tender and the spinach curry is to your desired consistency.  It may be necessary to add more water if it get too thick or begins to scorch before the lamb is tender.  Adjust salt as needed.

Serve over basmati rice.

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