It 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the lamb, stirring to break up any clumps and cook until all redness disappears.
- Add the yogurt, tomato puree, cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric and stir for one minute.
- 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 servings
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Just before eating, fold the entire contents of the frying pan into the yogurt.