by Madhur Jaffrey
About two 1" chunks fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups water
10 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boned lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1" cubes
10 whole cardamom pods
2 whole bay leaves
6 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
2 medium onions, peeled, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seed ground
2 teaspoons cumin seeds ground
4 teaspoons red paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
6 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala (your favourite)
1 dash fresh ground pepper to taste
Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water into the container of an electric blender. Blend into a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium-high flame. Brown meat cubes in several batches and set aside in a bowl. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on colour. This only takes a matter of seconds.
Now put in the onions. Stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown colour. Put in ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and the salt.
Stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add the browned meat cubes and the meat juices. Now put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir and fry for about 30 seconds until yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time in the same way. Stir and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
Now add 1 1/4 cups water and bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all the browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pot.
Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender. Every 10 minutes give the pot a good stir to prevent burning. When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the fire to medium high and boil off some of the liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened.
Sprinkle the garam masala and black pepper over the dish and mix them in just before you serve it.
Serve with rice and a vegetable such as okra.