Friday, September 29, 2017

Looking for Lamb Curry

The days are getting shorter, and the temperature is slowly falling (at least at night) and I wanted to find a recipe--any recipe!--that didn't involve apples. We had a nice piece of leftover lamb in the fridge, and then I recalled an amazing lamb Korma I used to get for take-out lunches when I worked in Philadelphia, so I thought I'd give curry a try.

As I've said before, as I child I was a very cautious eater. I didn't trust onions or garlic, and I wouldn't even tolerate a sprinkle of black pepper on my food. Forget about sauces! (But I was okay with most vegetables, and I never had a problem with desserts!)

When I got braver as an adult, I started collecting cookbooks and experimenting, but it is no doubt significant that while I have Greek and Asian and Mexican cookbooks, among many others, I never considered getting an Indian cookbook. 

After a few years I discovered a brand of pre-mixed curry powder that I liked (translation: not too spicy!), and I figured that would do, and I use it regularly.

But . . . I read the list of ingredients on the curry container, and realized I had all the individual ingredients in my pantry. (I can't resist buying weird spices, although I haven't figured out a use for galengal yet.) Why not bite the bullet and start from scratch?

Of course, this was a little naive on my part, since no two curry recipes, packaged or home-made, are alike. So I tinkered. I knew what flavors I like, and I ignored a few others, and came up with something that worked (as well as you could expect from an Irish girl!). Note: Indian curries seem to fall into two main categories: spices only, or spices plus something creamy like Greek yoghurt. I decided to start simple. I'll save the coconut milk and cream for another day, while I fine-tune my own spice recipe.

My Very Own Lamb Curry

2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
3 Tblsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp minced green chile (you choose how hot!)

1 Tblsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
dash of ground cloves (optional)
2 Tblsp water

2 pounds cubed lamb (about 4 cups)
1 tsp salt

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, fry the sliced onions in the oil until they begin to brown around the edges.  Add the garlic, ginger and green chile and stir for one minute.

Garlic and ginger
Mix the ground spices with the water to form a thin paste, then add to the onion mixture. Stir briefly until the spice mixture is evenly distributed.

Add the lamb and salt and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the lamb is cooked through (but not too long or it will get tough), about 10-15 minutes. Taste for salt and add more if you wish.

Serve over white rice.

Easy, right? And tasty. I'm thinking you could mix the dry spices together and keep them in a sealed jar until you're in the mood for Indian flavors. And feel free to experiment with whatever spices you have handy!

Coming soon! (November 7th, to be exact.) Yes, there are recipes in this book, but no curry.

You can pre-order it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


  1. Thank you for the recipe which I will pass on to family who enjoy Indian spices. I am such a fan of the Orchard Mystery series and very anxious to get and read A Late Frost. Our big family apple picking day is next weekend. We try to get to at least 3 farms in the day for all if their various activities and offerings. One has to include freshly fried hot apple cider donuts. Do Meg and Seth like apple cider donuts, Sheila
    Keep up the great your stories!??
    Cynthia B.

    1. I'm feeling swamped by my apples these days--there are still more on the trees. I don't think Meg and Seth have time to make donuts, but I'll bet they enjoy them when the find them. The best ones I've ever had were at a small local fair near where we lived in Pennsylvania. I definitely like them!

  2. I love lamb and curry, together or not.
    Nice experimenting. Glad your taste buds evolved through the years.
    We all benefit!

    1. PS Diced apples are a nice addition to curries.