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Dry curry of lamb and eggplant

You'll need

1½ tbsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp ghee 1.4 kg lamb ribs (see note) 4 Japanese eggplant, coarsely chopped 2 onions, finely diced 30 gm tamarind pulp, soaked in 200ml warm water for 10 minutes 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced 2 cracked cardamom pods To serve: natural yoghurt and steamed basmati rice   Spice paste 2 tsp fennel seeds 2 tsp coriander seeds 2 tsp cumin seeds 15 small dried red chillies, soaked for 3 hours in warm water, drained 6 fresh curry leaves, plus extra to serve 3 garlic cloves, crushed 3 cm piece ginger, crushed in a mortar and pestle 1 tsp garam masala ½ tsp turmeric


  • 01
  • Steam lamb ribs over a saucepan of boiling water until tender (30 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for spice paste, dry-roast whole spices in a small frying pan over low heat until fragrant (1 minute), then grind in a spice grinder. Pound spice mixture with remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt with a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat oil and ghee in a casserole over high heat, add ribs and eggplant and turn occasionally until lamb is golden (3-5 minutes). Remove ribs and eggplant and set aside. Add onions to pan and stir occasionally until golden (5-7 minutes), then add spice paste and stir until fragrant. Strain tamarind water into a bowl and add to pan with tomato, cardamom, lamb ribs, eggplant and 125ml water, then simmer, covered, until lamb is tender (1¼ hours). Season to taste and serve hot with yoghurt and steamed basmati rice.

Note Lamb ribs need to be ordered ahead from the butcher. Ask for a whole trimmed lamb breast.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Spicy cold-climate syrah.

Featured in

Jul 2014

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