Last week we made some Lamb Kofta (spiced lamb meatballs) which are great as a starter, but are also great as a protein for this creamy tomato based curry. You can make this as spicy or mild as you like, so feel free to play with it a bit. I’ve chosen very earthy spices in this recipe, but if you want a lighter, more aromatic sauce then think about using the recipe for my malai kofta, which has more green cardamom and cinnamon tones to it.
12 Lamb Kofta – see the link for the recipe of how to make these
1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes (plus a tablespoon of tomato paste if your tomatoes were as tasteless of mine were)
A splash of heavy cream
Fresh chilies (to taste)
1 tsp of Garam Masala
2 tsps of ground coriander
2 tsps of ground cumin seeds
2 tsps of whole cumin seeds
2 black cardamoms
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cms ginger, peeled and grated
Vegetable oil for frying
Start by toasting your whole spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and black cardamom) in a dry pan. Keep the heat to a medium/low setting to avoid the spices burning – you just want it to develop the flavour a little. Keep the spices moving in the pan to make sure they don’t burn on one side.
When the cumin starts to smoke, add in 4 tablespoons of oil
Throw in your chopped onion, garlic and ginger and mix with the spices and oil. Remember, we still need it at a medium/low heat. Let the onions fry slowly until they’re translucent.
When the onions are soft and translucent chuck in your ground spices (cumin, coriander, and garam masala) as well as any chili you want to add (I’ve removed the pith and sliced mine finely, because I’m making this for the kids – feel free to keep all the pith and seeds in for a hotter dish). Mix in with the onions.
You might find that the dish dries out quickly with the spices added. You don’t want to burn the ground spices, so adding in a couple more tablespoons of oil will mean you still keep the flavours without the bitterness of burnt spices.
Season well with good quality salt and stir the spiced onion mix until the onions are soft. DON’T rush this process – this is the flavour base of your curry and if you speed through it you’ll have a dish that lacks depth and any real punch.
When the onions are soft, add in your chopped tomatoes
…one cup of water
And any tomato paste you need to strengthen the flavours – we’re heading into winter so the insipid hot house tomatoes were just not flavourful enough for my liking – a good tablespoon of tomato paste helped!
Bring the curry to the boil and then turn down the heat to allow it to slowly simmer and reduce the liquid sauce to a smooth gravy
You’ll notice I haven’t chopped anything too finely – it’s because I’m going to blend the mixture – BUT, cardamoms don’t blend well, so fish them out at this point – keep them aside – we’ll replace them later
Blend your sauce until you have a smooth gravy – I’m using a smoothie blender but a stick blender works as well (just don’t wreck your pans!)
Pour the blended mixture back into your pan and bring the temperature back up a little (still moderately low, though – this is a low and slow dish, for sure)
I love the flavour that black cardamom brings to a dish, so I’ve put mine back in – you don’t need to if you don’t like it
Add in your cream – the more cream, the smoother and milder the dish. Less cream, the richer and stronger the flavour – I’ve put in about 5 tablespoons worth.
Finally, add in your Lamb Kofta. Keep the dish simmering gently – if it’s too hot your kofta will fall apart. They’re already cooked, so we just want to warm them through at this point.
Serve your dish with some more sliced chili and a good handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) to garnish. Serve and consume immediately before anyone else gets it. Goes great with some fresh naan. Enjoy!