I made this curry for my parents when I was back home a couple weeks ago and it was very well received. Called the 'best curry of your life' by Adam from Amateur Gourmet, (and originally from April Bloomfield’s cookbook, A Girl And Her Pig), this curry is exactly that. As he explains, it is not a traditional curry and I'm not even sure which country's curry it is most like, but it is the most flavourful curry I have ever tasted in my life. I recommend you invest in all of these spices because you WILL want to make this curry again. It is so worth all the ingredients that go into it. Yum, thank you Adam, I cannot wait to make this again.
I actually didn't put in fenugreek or the cardamom pods as I made this when I was in France and it's very difficult to get ingredients there. The curry was great without but Adam recommends using all the ingredients so if you can, go the full mile!
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds, toasted (to toast these three, just add them to a dry skillet, turn up the heat and toss around until fragrant)
10 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
3 green cardamom pods
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon crumbled dried pequin chilies or red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for lamb)
2 cups thinly sliced shallots (or yellow onions)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 small cinnamon stick
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
3 cups drained, trimmed, and chopped canned peeled whole tomatoes
1 tablespoons flaky sea salt (changed from 2 according to my taste)
8 coriander/cilantro with 2 inches of stem attached, washed well and finely chopped (save the leaves for garnish)
A 5-inch strip of orange peel, any white pith cut away
A 5-inch strip of lemon peel, any white pith cut away
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
Combine the toasted spices, cloves, star anise, cardamom, lime leaves, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and turmeric in a spice grinder or blitzer until you have a very fine powder.
Heat a large Dutch oven/large heavy ovenproof saucepan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the shallots (or onions) and cook, stirring often, until they’re deep brown, about 10 minutes. When browned, add the garlic.
Add the spice mixture, cinnamon stick, and ginger and, stir constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, stirring frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks quite dry - about 15 minutes.
Stir in the cilantro, citrus peel and juice, and pineapple juice, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. In a large skillet/heavy bottomed saucep, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat until smoking; meanwhile, season the lamb with lots of salt. In batches so the meat does not touch eachother, brown the meat all over, (12 to 15 minutes per batch). Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the pot with the curry mixture. Brown the following batches in the fat remaining in the pan, transferring the pieces to the Dutch oven as they are done, and then discard the fat.
Give the lamb pieces a good stir to coat them in the curry mixture, cover the pot, and put it in the oven. Cook the lamb 1 1/2 hours, stirring now and then.
Reduce the heat to 120C/250F and let it go until the lamb is fork tender but not totally falling apart, another hour or so. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro leaves, if you like.
I have no doubt this curry can be made vegetarian - I will be trying this at some point as I have recently turned veggie! I will post results.