The key to this curry is fresh coconut. The first time I made it with frozen “fresh” shredded coconut which is available in most Indian and SE Asian grocery stores. This time I bought an actual coconut (2 in fact and it was a good thing as one of them turned out to be off) and was surprised at how easy it was to crack it open and shred it up. I started out using a grater and quickly dumped all the chunks of coconut into a food processor. The reason I was first drawn to this recipe was because it was an Indian dish from Goa – which is basically a beach resort and I was going to Fire Island for the week, so it seemed perfect. I have made a few moderations to the recipe but it is basically how I found it in: How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor.
Goan Lamb Curry
I was very fortunate to find Lamb neck at Heritage Foods – this allowed me to have stewing meat and wonderful stock bones which I included in the making of this curry – if you don’t have meat on the bone lamb or lamb bones, don’t sweat it. If you do it adds an extra depth of flavor to the dish, once cooked I removed all the meat from the bones and threw them out, but if you wanted to include them and give you dinner guest a little hands on challenge that’s always a good option.
In a large bowl add 2 pounds of Lamb stewing meat cut into bite sized pieces (I don’t trim the fat but you can if you want) and another pound or more of bones if you are using them. Add to the meat: 2 Teaspoons of Salt, 3 Tablespoons of freshly grated Turmeric (or 1 1/4 Teaspoon dried) 1 1/2 Tablespoons of grated fresh Ginger, 1 1/2 Tablespoons finely chopped garlic, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice. Using your hands mixture together until the meat is well coated, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
While it is cooking in a large frying pan add 2 Tablespoons of unflavored oil like sunflower, over medium high heat, when the oil starts to bubble add: 4 Green Cardamom Pods, 12 Whole Black Peppercorns, 2-4 dried Red Chilies (best to start out with 2 and adjust the heat later) a 1″stick of Cinnamon, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coriander Seeds and 2 Bay Leaves cook for several minutes until the spices brown slightly and become aromatic. Now add 2 Large sliced Onions, 1 Tablespoon of roughly chopped fresh Ginger, 8 cloves of rough chopped Garlic and saute until the onions are golden. When the onions have started to caramelized add 1 cup of freshly grated Coconut
When it is near room temperature spoon it into the bowl of a food processor or blender (the later will give you a much finer paste – I prefer the food processor) add a cup of water and pulse for a few minutes until you have a rustic looking paste which will have some whole spices (Coriander seeds mostly) still visible.
Add this paste to the lamb stock and simmer for another 30 minutes or so, it is done when the lamb is tender.
Stir in 1 1/2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar cover and let stand 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning – if you want to hotter add ground cayenne. Garnish with fresh chopped Cilantro.
Serve with chutney (recipe to follow tomorrow) and thick yogurt on rice.