So who doesn’t love eating an Indian take out on the sofa watching a movie in the winter? I know I for one love it. I love Indian food and there is something about a take out that says to me 'don't eat me at the table sit on the sofa in your PJ's and eat me watching TV.' So that’s exactly what I did with a delicious Lamb Rogan Josh and Jeera Rice last Friday night. We've already established just because we're eating clean doesn’t mean we have to stop eating the things we love we just need to modify it and that is exactly what I have done with this Indian classic.
Like most dishes everyone has their own way of making it, so if you were to look up the net you'd find millions of takes on Rogan Josh and by all means do, do that. Get your recipe inspiration from as many places as possible. I learnt how to make this in India so it brings back happy memories of my Goan friend Joe and going on his moped to the market to buy food and then back to his Mum's tiny kitchen to cook up some tasty treats. I was 21 I think and he 19. I wonder what happened to him, I met him way before Facebook and not long after the net became globally accessible, I don’t think he even had access to a PC, funny how technology changes things and food brings back memories.
Anyway on with the curry and rice, but before that I just want to quickly mention; you know how sometimes I feature stuff and it’s like OMG I can't believe I made that it tastes just like a restaurant, well this rice is that dish boys and girls. Honestly it’s so good I love it, I pimp it too with peas, carrots, left over chicken, all sorts really for my packed lunch the next day.
For the curry you will need:
- 400- 500g cubed lean lamb
- 2 lg onions
- 5 tomatoes, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Mushrooms (optional not authentic)
- 1/4 chilli deseeded (optional not authentic)
- 3 tsp cumin (I know it seems loads but I like it)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
- Mug of water or lamb stock
- Some freshly milled black pepper
- 1 bunch of coriander
- Heat your pan or wok and add the spices over a high heat until they are aromatic.
- Then add the coconut oil, turn the heat right up! Your pan might smoke but it’s supposed to. Add the onions and keep stirring so they don't burn, then add the garlic, fry for 30 seconds or so then add the lamb and give it a really good coating in the spices (see photo).
- Once the lamb is sealed, add the tomatoes and lemon juice and cook for another 5 or so mins.
- Then add the stock or if you’re out of lamb stock just use water. Add a lid and bring to the boil, reduce and simmer from anywhere from 30 mins to 1hr and 10 mins. The longer you cook it the more tender the lamb becomes.
- About 10 mins before service add some fresh chopped coriander and stir through.
For the rice:
- Coconut oil
- 2-3 tsps cumin seeds
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- A cardamom pod (optional)
- Wholegrain rice for 4 (my measurement is 1 espresso cup a person - I'm sure there is a better guide than that but that’s what I do and it works perfectly with a 3 x water to rice ratio. So for every 4 cups of rice you need 12 cups of water (remember I use tiny cups.) Don't stress getting it exact, you can add and take away plus you drain the rice here so it’s not too precious.
- Wash the rice under a running tap and add it to a pot with the water and a pinch of salt and set it to boil. If you want to add a cardamom pod do it here, but remove it before eating - they give an amazing flavour but taste like perfume when eaten. If you're short on time add a lid as it cooks quicker.
- When the rice is almost done, for me that’s about 22 mins, remove from the heat and set aside - I put mine in a fine sieve to get out any water left.
- You can test the rice by eating it or pressing it between your finger and your thumb.
- Then in the clean pot, or a new one, heat a generous amount of coconut oil, about a very heaped tablespoon full and fry your onion until very light brown then add the cumin seeds. The seeds will be done when they start to pop, sizzle and splutter. It’s then that you add the rice and a bit of water (about 1/2 a tea cup of water.)Give it a really good mix, as you want the seeds and coconut flavour to get on to every grain of rice. If you've overcooked the rice - no problem just don’t add the water at the end, just mix the rice in the pot with the onion and cumin seeds. Sorry guys I really need to sort out a better way of measuring rice for you guys - I'll get on to that for next time!
Hints, tips and variations
- I was actually out of turmeric when I made this so I substituted it for curry powder which essentially is just turmeric and cumin mixed. Plus I didn't have garam masala, I think I told you I live between a flat in the city and a house in the country and I'm always carting stuff from one place to another, most people in that situation wonder, oh where are my straighteners, I think oh bugger I've left my garam masala!
- You can add a cardamom pod or two to the curry too if you like. Do it once the stock water has gone in.
- The thing with this and all curries is to get your pan hot, make the spices fragrant, then add the oil and coat the meat in the spices. This forms a solid flavour.
- As the curry cooks add more to it if it needs it. I added more lemon juice to this as it was missing something near the end. Cooking is not always an exact science and fruits and veg come in different sizes so play about and add what you think.
- I added mushrooms to my curry as I like them, green pepper works well in this dish to.
- Unlike beef which normally comes in pre-packed servings of c.400g lamb normally comes a bit smaller c340g so watch out for that if you purchase your meat from a supermarket. Or instead, you can tell your local butcher just how much you want.
So enjoy your Saturday night take out guys, only make it yourself :))
Enjoy the run up to Christmas