Friday, 10 September 2010
Eid Mubarak - Proper Yorkshire Dahl Gosht
Curry is one those holy grail foods (apologies for mixing my religious metaphors) especially now at the end of Ramadan. I think it holds a very special place in the heart of this whole nation and not only for British Muslims up and down the country enjoying Eid-Al-Fitr.
I’ve eaten a lot over the years, tried hundreds of take-a ways, sat in strange dimly canteens at four in the morning finishing off the remains of a pickle tray and chatting shit with mates as they close up around us. I’ve eaten at the other end of the scale as well but in my heart you can’t beat a little family owned place where you bring your own beer...
I find it odd that more people don’t cook their own curry considering how popular it is. I think it’s the combination of spices that puts people off making them at home as initially it can be quite daunting.
It took me a while to get confident with curry but I managed to learn the basics from some very good chefs and some even better home cooks over the years. The professionals are great for teaching you the science but for feeding a family you can’t beat Mrs Hussain.
I’ve still got a lot of love for the North and for consistently good bhindi you can’t beat the West Riding of Yorkshire especially Bradford and Leeds.
This is my Curry honed and perfected after 10 years of living in Yorkshire. This recipe works really well with Chicken Thighs, Beef Shins, Goat, Aubergine or any combination of above you name it just throw it in.
2tbsp Coriander Powder
2tbsp Cumin Powder
1tbsp Ginger Powder
1tbsp Garam Masala
10 Whole Black Peppercorn - Ground
4 Cloves - Ground
10 Dried Chillies – Ground, this is to taste though so use more or less as you see fit.
800 Grams Lamb Chunks – Shoulder works well but is pricey so use what you prefer or can afford.
200 Grams Blanched Red Split Lentils – They lend an amazing earthy depth to the end dish.
2 Medium sized Onions – Sliced finely...
5 Cloves of Garlic – I prefer pureed but sliced or crushed is fine.
Small Bunch of Fresh Coriander - Chopped
Chopped Tomatoes – 1 tin
2tbsp Tomato Puree
300ml Beef/Lamb Stock or water if you want.
This is an astonishingly simple meal to cook once you get your head round the basics and gets easier with time. Just do a bit of mis-en-place before hand and have everything ready before you start cooking. Blanch your lentils before hand, cooked till just soft drained and put to one side.
Then get your spices together, grind anything that needs to be ground and heat a thick bottomed pan. Chop your onions and put them aside.
When you are ready to cook oil your meat not the pan and brown it, when browned remove from the pan and put in a container to keep any juices that escape. Now you can add two to three tbsp of oil to the pan and your onions.
Soften these and use them to mop up all the sticky meat juices then add all your spices and chillies. These need to be cooked off for 5 minutes or so on a gentle heat to release all the natural oils and flavour.
Throw in your garlic and stir in to allow your base to mix and come together nicely. Don’t add your garlic at the start as this cooks a lot quicker than the onions and can go bitter.
Return the meat to the pan and any juices as well. Add your chopped tomato and puree and stir, you should have something that looks like the beginning of time bubbling away and just take a moment to enjoy this gloopy volcanic quagmire.
I always let this cook away for a while as it is before adding the stock and lentils. Take the whole thing down to a gentle simmer and stir occasionally.
After an hour or so you should a gently reduced but deeply flavoured Curry waiting for you. The lamb will be tender and the Lentils will have disappeared and thickened the sauce deliciously, stir through your fresh Coriander.
Serve with boiled Rice, Naan or Chapattis this is a filling and really good way to break your fast or just have with a beer at the end of a long hard day! It's not the prettiest food I've ever cooked but it is bloody tasty and well worth the effort. Eid Mubarak everyone!