Lamb and spinach curry

Also known as Saag Gosht and a staple on menus in most Indian restaurants.

This is one of my favourite curries of all and it is worth making the effort and cooking it with some decent lamb from a butcher rather than a box or pre-diced lamb from the supermarket.

I used a fillet end of a leg of lamb, boned and trimmed and the cut into good-sized pieces. If they are too small, they will fall apart before the cooking time is over.

Apart from the lamb, you will need;

1 diced onion
4 tablespoons of garlic and ginger paste
250g washed spinach leaves
1 small carton of tomato passata
dried spices (2 black cardamoms, 4 or 5 green cardamoms, 3 pieces of cassia bark, 3 or 4 dried red chillies, 2 bay leaves, 5 or 6 cloves, a teaspoon each of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black cumin seeds and black mustard seeds)
ground spices (1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, Kashmiri chilli powder, paprika and turmeric)
salt and pepper
oil
a bunch of green coriander, leaves and stalks separated.

Heat the oil and fry all the dried whole spices for a couple of minutes, then add in the onion and fry this until it begins to colour and add in the ground spices and the garlic and ginger paste and fry for 5 minutes.

Add in some hot water and keep on cooking, amalgamating in the tomato passata, for another 5 minutes.

Add the diced lamb and cook for 10 minutes, stirring so nothing sticks and burns.

Chop the coriander stalks finely and add to the meat, stirring them in well.

Then add in the spinach, stir well and add enough hot water to cover the lamb, stir, season with salt and pepper and cover the pan.

Leave this to cook for an hour or so, making sure it doesn’t dry out. Check that the lamb is cooked and then put on your rice. You really need to make sure the lamb is cooked before starting the rice or you will risk ending up with chewy meat.

If the dish is too wet, stir in a tablespoon of ground cornmeal (a.k.a. polenta) which will thicken the gravy pretty quickly.

Serve the curry with the cooked plain rice and garnish with the chopped green coriander.

You can serve rotis or naan, Indian pickles, raita or a dhal-based side dish.

We had rotis plus some vegetable and dhal mixture that I’d cooked a while ago and frozen and some mixed pickle.

Beer is the classic drink pairing, lager usually, but I would recommend trying a hoppy golden ale of an IPA, the lack of gassiness is a real improvement and the dry hoppy bitterness works well with the spices.

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