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  • Lamb Vindaloo

    YIELD: 4 CUPS / 950 ML
    TOOLS: You’ll need an 8-inch / 20-cm frying pan; 2 plates; a spice grinder or mortar and pestle; a small mixing bowl; a food processor; a large glass or otherwise nonreactive mixing bowl; a medium mixing bowl; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan; and tongs.
    VEGANIZE IT! It’s so simple to substitute veggies for lamb. I love making this dish with anything and everything from cauliflower and Baked Tofu to tempeh and/or eggplant. If using chopped vegetables, you’ll need about 4 cups / 600 g, and you should follow the recipe directions but reduce the cooking time in Step 8 to 15 to 20 minutes, depending on which main ingredient you choose.

    Vin means wine, while alho is the word for garlic in Portuguese, the key language influence in Goa, India’s smallest state. Located on the west coast, Goa is a former Portuguese colony—a fact most obvious in its cuisine. Classic vindaloo curry is bold and fiery, known as one of the spiciest dishes in India. Eventually the wine became vinegar, but the chiles remained, thankfully.

    • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
    • 1 (3-inch / 8-cm) stick cinnamon
    • 5 whole cloves
    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
    • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
    • 1 tablespoon unsmoked paprika
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 5 tablespoons /75 mL vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, minced
    • 20 whole dried red chiles, soaked in hot water until soft, or 1 heaping tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and roughly chopped
    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 teaspoon gur (jaggery) or light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons vinegar (cider or distilled white)
    • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
    • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon /240 mL water, plus more as needed (divided)
    • 2 pounds /910 g lamb (shoulder or leg), boned or boneless cubes
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan, for serving
    1. Combine the peppercorns, cumin and mustard seeds, cinnamon, and cloves in an 8-inch / 20-cm frying pan over medium–high heat and dry roast for 5 minutes, until the spices take on a reddish-brown color (the mustard seeds will be gray) and become aromatic. During the entire cooking time, shake the pan every 15 to 20 seconds to prevent the spices from burning. When roasting spices, never leave the pan unattended—they burn easily. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. If you grind them while still hot, they emit steam and clump up in the grinder.
    2. Transfer the cooled, roasted spices to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add the fenugreek and poppy seeds (I avoid roasting these 2 seeds in this recipe because fenugreek can turn bitter and poppy seeds burn easily) and grind the mixture into a powder. Remove and discard any small pieces of cinnamon that aren’t ground into powder form. Transfer the ground spices to a small mixing bowl, add the paprika and turmeric, and set aside.
    3. In the same 8-inch frying pan over medium–high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the minced onion and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until completely browned and caramelized. Remove from the heat.
    4. Drain the dried chiles that have been soaking. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the onion from Step 3, the dried chiles, the ginger, the garlic, the fresh chiles, the chopped onion, the gur, the vinegar, the tamarind paste, and the 1 tablespoon of water into a red, watery paste. Transfer to a large glass or otherwise nonreactive mixing bowl and add the ground spices. Stir until well combined.
    5. Transfer ½ cup / 120 mL of the vindaloo sauce to a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the lamb. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
    6. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. With tongs, add the lamb (leaving the marinade behind) and sear, turning once to ensure even browning, for a total of 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
    7. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the remainder of the vindaloo sauce and the salt and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 4 minutes, until warmed through. As you cook, add the remaining 1 cup of water (plus more as needed) at a rate of 2 tablespoons at a time. You never want to add too much at one time because it’s difficult to get rid of moisture after adding too much. You can always add more if needed.
    8. Reduce the heat to medium and add the lamb to the sauté pan. Cook for 1½ hours, until the lamb is tender. Remove from the heat.
    9. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.