weather gets chilly we pull out our favorite comfort food recipes to combat the
cold. It is also a good time to experiment with making favorite dishes we have never
attempted at home.
cuisine has been our go-to comfort food for two decades now, so when cold
weather reached the desert, we thought we would cobble together a recipe for our
favorite lamb dish: lamb shahi khorma.
winters of the late nineties and early aughts, we went often to Mr. India, our
favorite Indian restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The wind howled, the
temperature was unspeakably low, the snow squeaked under our feet as we
stumbled over snow banks, some taller than we.
the restaurant, the chill faded away and we were embraced by the warmth of the
family who ran the restaurant and the scent of exotic spices. The fragrant
steaming dishes warmed our souls and bellies alike.
Khorma was one of our favorites there; we also ordered it occasionally made
with chicken. This is a great option for those who don't like lamb, or don't eat
red meat. (Does that remind you of the scene in My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding -
"What? You don't eat meat? That's okay, I make you lamb.") If you
make this recipe using chicken, I recommend using thighs and reducing the
Indian dishes, this one is not difficult but it requires time. You need a chunk
of time from start to finish, much of which is braising time in the oven. This
is a good thing, as it warms the kitchen and fills the house with enticing
perfumes. And it is the perfect time to page through the new issue of your
favorite cooking magazine.
We found these candied fennel seeds to be a refreshing finale for our Khorma.
ours with basmati rice, with raita and a tamarind chutney (recipe to come). A
little naan on the side was perfect for getting every last bit of the sauce.
1/2 cup ghee
1 1/2 cups
thinly sliced onions
tablespoons finely grated ginger root
teaspoons ground cumin seed
teaspoons ground mace
cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 pounds lean
boneless lamb, from the leg, in 1½-inch cubes
1 cup plain
whole milk yoghurt
1 cup cream
milk, if needed
raita, chutney, and naan, for serving
to 275°F. Heat the ghee in a
large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook,
stirring often, until onions turn caramel brown - about 20 minutes. Add the
ginger and cook an additional 2 minutes.Add cumin mace, cinnamon, garam masala, cayenne, and paprika; stir to
distribute the spices, and cook for 1 minute.
Dry the lamb
chunks thoroughly with paper towels. Increase heat to high and add lamb to the
pot. Brown on all sides, turning and tossing them quickly, for about 5 minutes.
Add half the yoghurt, half of the cream, and the salt; bring to a boil.
the heat, cover, and place in the pre-heated oven to braise for 2 hours. Stir
the meat occasionally while it is in the oven to keep the sauce from burning.
If the sauce completely evaporates, add a little milk. Remove the pot from the
oven, and stir in remaining yoghurt and cream.
basmati rice, raita, chutney, and naan.