1½ tbspvegetable oil1 tbspghee1.4 kglamb ribs (see note)4Japanese eggplant, coarsely chopped2onions, finely diced30 gmtamarind pulp, soaked in 200ml warm water for 10 minutes2vine-ripened tomatoes, diced2cracked cardamom podsTo serve:natural yoghurt and steamed basmati riceSpice paste2 tspfennel seeds2 tspcoriander seeds2 tspcumin seeds15small dried red chillies, soaked for 3 hours in warm water, drained6fresh curry leaves, plus extra to serve3garlic cloves, crushed3 cm pieceginger, crushed in a mortar and pestle1 tspgaram masala½ tspturmeric
Steam lamb ribs over a saucepan of boiling water until tender (30 minutes).
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.
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.