I really don’t understand curries very well, which is why I’ve just bought myself a book all about curries from around the world. You would think, then, that I’d follow the recipes in them, and indeed that was my intention, but basically I screwed up. The curry I was going to make was a simple lamb curry with almonds and saffron, because I had diced lamb to use up, but it used twice the amount of lamb I had. No worries – I would just halve the recipe. Except that I forgot to do so, and once I had measured out the saffron water and started cooking all the onions and garlic and ginger – which I had accidentally doubled instead of halved anyway, hello, virus-brain! – and spices it was too late to go back without waste.
So I decided to bulk out the curry with chickpeas and sweet potato. After all, I don’t like stews of any kind that are just meat, meat and meat, sweet potato seemed like it would get along with all the sweet aromatic spices in this dish, and chickpeas are always a good random filler protein in my book. Also, this lowers the glycemic index of the dish *and* makes it suddenly a lot closer to a one-pot meal (by which I mean that the ongoing Sickly Catherine feels empowered not to make a vegetable side dish now, which is a very good thing). And then I looked at the cream added at the end of the recipe, and thought about the fact that I don’t like creamy sauces much and that I had this tin of coconut cream from goodness-knows-when sitting in my pantry waiting to be used, and…
I’m fairly sure we have lost any authenticity along the way (which is why I am not claiming that this is a Kashmiri curry, despite what the book says), but I have to say, it’s the best curry that I’ve ever made. I strongly suspect that the slow cooker was an important part of this – the spices seemed to blend and work together rather than sitting awkwardly in different corners of the room, squinting sideways at each other. That’s not what usually happens when I make a curry. So, while a slow cooker is not a requirement for this recipe, I do recommend cooking it over the lowest heat possible for as long as possible if you don’t have one.
Still, next time, I *promise* I will follow the recipe properly.
I can do that, you know.
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2 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cup hot water
8 green cardamom pods
2 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
3 cloves of garlic
about 2 cubic inches of ginger root
2 dried chillis
500 g cubed lamb shoulder or other stewing lamb
salt and pepper which I entirely forgot to put in, but you might want to
500 g sweet potato
Either 1 cup of dried chickpeas, partly cooked (of which more later) or 1 tin of chickpeas, which you will add at the end of the recipe
120 g blanched almonds
270 ml (a medium-sized tin – don’t get too hung up on measuring this) coconut cream