Ground Lamb with Potatoes and Yogurt Relish

img_2326It doesn’t take much to put me in the mood for Indian food. These recipes come from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, which Frances and Matthew sent me as a gift this past year. I like that the recipes are accessible to the home cook and yet filled with wonderful flavor. Madhur Jaffrey serves this dish with a moong dal, which I have blogged about in an earlier post. She calls this her family’s soul food. It isn’t the most visually spectacular dish, but the fragrance and flavors make it well-worth the effort. Somewhat amazingly – even to me – I only needed to buy yogurt and fresh spinach to make these three dishes.

Ground Lamb with Potatoes by Madhur Jaffrey and tweaked by me

Yield: 4 to 6 servings



3 Tablespoons canola oil or EVOO

Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1 medium onion finely chopped and 1 shallot

1 teaspoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 pounds ground lamb

3 Tablespoons plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)

3 Tablespoons tomato puree plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.75 teaspoons Kosher salt

3-4 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (I used Yukon Gold)


  1. Pour the oil into a large, heavy frying pan (I like cast iron) and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon sticks and allow them to sizzle for 10 seconds.
  2. Add the onions and stir fry until they begin to brown at the edges. Then add the ginger and garlic and stir for one more minute.
  3. Add the lamb, stirring to break up any clumps and cook until all redness disappears.
  4. Add the yogurt, tomato puree, cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric and stir for one minute.
  5. Add the salt, potatoes and 1.25 cups of water. (This amount of water was cut from the original 2 cups and still yielded more liquid than I felt was necessary.) Stir and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook gently for 30 minutes.

Yogurt Relish with Spinach

Yield: 4 servingsyogurt-relish


2 Tablespoons canola oil or EVOO

1/4 teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds

1/2 clove garlic, sliced thinly

5 ounces baby spinach leaves (If you are not using baby spinach, you will  need to remove the stems.)

Kosher salt to taste

1 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste


  1. Pour the oil into a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and as soon as they start to pop (a matter of seconds), add the garlic. Cook, stirring for a few seconds.
  2. Add the spinach and stir for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is cooked through. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix it through. After the spinach has cooled, I coarsely chopped it.
  3. Put the yogurt into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork until creamy. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the cayenne, stirring to mix.
  4. Just before eating, fold the entire contents of the frying pan into the yogurt.


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