Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ALOO GOSHT - DELHI-STYLE LAMB AND POTATOES

HOT AND SAUCY


A long time ago there was a little girl, plain and simple, who dreamed of flitting off to far-away places, distant fairy-tale lands filled with color and noise, the air heavy with the tantalizing odor of spices. Her Space Age World was defined by nothing more exotic than TV dinners and ice cream outings at Dairy Queen. Occasionally she would find herself in a real traditional Florida seafood joint, the atmosphere of Old Key West, wooden tables under ceiling fans lazily spinning overhead, river breeze rippling over the water and through the palm fronds as she nibbled on golden, sizzling hushpuppies and savored shrimp scampi. Her curiosity pulled her into the kitchen where Saturdays were spent pulling salt water taffy across the length of the room with her brother or watching as her sister spread rich caramel-colored sesame-studded syrup into pans, destined to make their way into her mouth as sweet, hard, Middle-Eastern candy.

The only “foreign” restaurants to be found in her small southern town were the local Chinese and Italian. Sticky and too sweet, the dishes offered at the Asian restaurant were altered for the American palate, yet titillated her taste buds none the less. Chopsticks and tiny, delicate goblets of hot tea, little brightly-colored paper umbrellas stuck jauntily in whatever dessert she ordered (and which always found their way into her Barbie wardrobe) matched the bright red lanterns strung up along the walls as if for a never-ending party. It all hinted at something magical and mysterious, different than anything she knew at home.

Entering Rocco’s Italian Restaurant and she stepped out of the world of strip malls and steamy Florida evenings and into a dark, joyous place filled with bustling waiters and a vibrant atmosphere. Wooden tables spread with the quintessential red and white checked tablecloths and candles stuck into the straw-wrapped Chianti bottles, everything that was to make us feel as if we were eating in the kitchen of an Italian nonna, and the piles of spaghetti swirled with rich, dark ruby-red sauce or a plateful of creamy cheese manicotti and she was whisked off into another world, a place in her dreams.


As she grew older and moved from small town to big city and bigger still and sampled more flavors, each accompanied by sounds and colors, foreign tongues and culinary wonders, her imagination was ignited and the yearning to travel and discover more grew inside of her, inspiring. Italian street fairs in Soho, hands wrapped around a soft shell crab sandwich and still-warm sfogliatelle as she watched the priests sway down the street, the children scampering underfoot, excited by all the drama, listening to the shouting and the babble. She discovered the magical world of Cajun cuisine with her new husband, cooking up seafood creoles, thick, creamy, spicy sauces, real bread puddings. The aroma of couscous and tagines filled her home, saffron-colored, savory and sweet. Weekend trips to the China Snack Shop in Milan, sitting elbow to elbow with the local Chinese community as they slurped up noodles or noisily sucked fresh crab meat out of the shells, watching her little boys gobble up grilled stuffed raviolis and beg for more. Bowls filled with hummus and baba ganoush laid out on the table next to hot felafel balls or strips of lamb in satay. Indian restaurants on Milan and Paris, dark and colorful, crisp white tablecloths and tiny silver bowls of golden chutney and pale green riata, steaming, soft breads, sauces tangy with yogurt or bitten by chillis, fragrant and overwhelming by their culinary beauty.

India, soft folds of fuchsia and saffron-colored silk, beautiful women draped in jewels, the Taj Mahal wrapped in romance. We westerners may have a selective, partial vision of this magnificent country, but it is truly a country that makes us dream. Spices from saffron to pepper to vanilla, chicken or lamb smothered in succulent sauces, delicate pilaf and desserts made from the most exotic of fruits and nuts, we do crave this exciting, diverse, flavorful cuisine. I bought my first Indian cookbook years and years ago, my fabulous Madhur Jaffrey’s “Indian Cooking”, one delicious perfect recipe after another. But I haven’t cooked out of the book at all for years, no matter that I regularly open it up and sit and ogle the photographs and read and reread the recipes one after another.


And then came twitter. Deeba of Passionate About Baking, Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey?, Sunita of Sunita’s World: Life and Food, Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, Ria of Ra’s Collectibles, Finla of My Kitchen Treasures, Shaheen of The Purple Foodie and Asha of Fork-Spoon-Knife, my bevy of Indian lovelies, my wonderful girlfriends, each one an amazing cook and an inspiration. Staring at the photos on their blogs of the fabulous exotic Indian dishes that find their way from these magical kitchens to their dinner tables and my imagination was on fire, I was craving rich, luxurious Indian food and the book was pulled once again off the shelf and lying open on my kitchen counter: fresh coriander, bulbs of ginger, long, slender green chillis and bottles of lovely deep-hued spices, turmeric and coriander and cumin and I was ready to cook.

And when this Aloo Gosht was simmering in the pot, I posted a photograph for my beautiful friends to see and I was taken into the fold and awarded the thrilling title of “Honorary Indian”. Thank you for inspiring me, my friends!


ALOO GOSHT – DELHI-STYLE LAMB COOKED WITH POTATOES
From Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, no changes ever needed!

Few tablespoons of vegetable oil
6 oz (175 g) onions, peeled and finely chopped
½ - 1 fresh green chilli, trimmed, seeded and finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2.2 lbs (1 kg) boneless lamb shoulder cut into large cubes
12 oz (350 g) fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, juices reserved with the tomatoes *
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 tsps ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used ¼ tsp and it had enough bite to make it interesting but didn’t cover up the other flavors)
2 tsps salt
1 lb (500 g) firm potatoes, peeled and cut in half
30 oz (900 ml) water

* To peel tomatoes, make a slit in the bottom of each tomato with a very sharp knife and then drop them gently into a pot of boiling water to cover. Leave for just a minute or even less. You will see the skin where it was slit start to pull away. Scoop the tomatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon onto a plate and the skin will peel right away.


Put several glugs of vegetable oil (up to 7 tablespoons) in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and set over high heat. When hot, put the onions, green chilli and garlic in the pot and cook, stirring constantly, until the onion has browned slightly.


Add the chunks of lamb to the pt and stir it about vigorously for about 5 minutes.

Now put in the chopped tomatoes and their juice, the cumin,, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt and stir, cooking on high for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the oil seems to start to separate from it a bit (I didn’t see this separation, but the sauce was thick).


Add the potatoes and the water. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook on medium-low heat for about 1 hour and 10 minutes when the meat will be tender and the sauce thick.


I served this succulent Aloo Gosht over Madhur Jaffrey’s

PEELAY CHAAVAL or AROMATIC YELLOW RICE


15 fluid oz (450 ml) – measured in a measuring glass – Basmati rice
20 oz (600 ml) water + water for soaking rice
1 ¼ tsps salt
¾ tsp ground turmeric
3 – 4 whole cloves
1 inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 bay leaves (optional)
3 Tbs (45 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Put the rice in a colander or sieve and run under cold running water for several minutes. Drain and put into bowl with 2 pints (1.2 litres) fresh water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

Combine the drained rice, 20 oz (600 ml) water, salt, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves (if using) in a heavy pan and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn heat to very, very low and cook for up to 25 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Remove from heat, place the cubes of butter on the rice, cover with the lid and allow to rest undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Gently stir the butter into the rice with a fork and remove the whole spices before serving.



46 comments:

sunita said...

Jamie, that looks absolutely perfect! Honorary Indian indeed!Give yourself a pat on the back. Btw from where do you gather all those pictures from? Amazing, transported me to a different era.

And thanks for the shout out :-)

MeetaK said...

drooling here! probably because i am hungry like hell!! this looks so grand. i always love it when a non-indian makes indian food - it love hearing their experience about it. looks grand jamie!

The Cooking Ninja said...

Absolutely delicious! Drooling on my keyboard.

Ilva said...

Oh how I wish we lived closer, like on the same street so I could accidentally visit you when I feel the aroma of this in the air!

Jamie said...

@Ilva - I would love that! Especially when I make stuff no one wants! But boy would we put on weight fast.

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

Jamie, that looks perfect! WOW! Thank you so much for the mention! Glad to have you as my friend! :) Wish I could meet up with y'all in London! :(

xoxo

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Just the kind of dish I love! I am a big fan of hot and saucy food! Looks so yummy!

Cheers,

rosa

Bethany said...

Jamie- this looks so good!! I'm hungry for lunch already.

Happy cook said...

I am just waiting for my daughter to come home for having lunch and seeing this is not helping , wish i really had this for lunch, while writting i am drooling, looks so so delicous.
I can imagine ticking into them.

KennyT said...

Jamie, I love reading your blog, every time it's like reading a story, a poem, a short passage of a fiction, so beautiful so inspiring!

I love Indian food too and now you're making me crave one good Indian meal. Everything that's with the word "Aloo" in an Indian menu will capture my attention, I love the Indian way of cooking potatoes!

ABowlOfMush said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous, my tummy is rumbling like mad now!

Really enjoyed this post :)

Katy said...

Beautiful post (as always!). I get caught up in your words and your images.

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

You are as HOT & SAUCY as this delightful dish you've created with so much magic. Your post is magical, your writing style captivating...I just love it to bits!Yes, you have outdone yourself...glad to have you as an honourary Indian! Shall I get you more spices too?

Heavenly Housewife said...

Okay jamie, I'm definitely going to take you up on this one! Reading though the ingredients I'm sure its awesome, but now I am going to test this on the famous MrP. As soon as I try it, I'm going to let you know. I dont have a lamb and potato curry up my sleeve yet, so this could be great to add to my repertoire.

Jamie said...

@Heavenly Housewife - Okay, you're on! JP loved it! No wishy washy "Um, it's good." but sighs and clapping hands.

lisaiscooking said...

I think I've done the same thing with my Madhur Jaffrey books. I look at them more than I cook from them. Great job in becoming an honorary Indian!

Asha @ FSK said...

You know how much magic you create??!!! First you make that mouth watering Aloo Gosht, which, loooks OH OH so good and then you write a lovely post to accompany it!!!

Love the old Indian pics :)) esp the one of Taj Mahal...

Sophie said...

MMMMMMMMMM,...your lamb dish looks excellent for thse colder days,... I so love Indian food!!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Congratulations on becoming an honorary Indian. Based on your food, the title is well-deserved.

I relate to your childhood. I grew up in the land of Wonder bread and jello. Exotic was clam chowder.

Jamie said...

@Cookie Baker Lynn - Too funny! Yep, exact same childhood! Clam chowder was a real treat at Peg Leg's restaurant!

Jenn said...

Awesome. I have yet to try and cook Indian food. I must give this a try.

Barbara Bakes said...

Sounds like a delicious spiced up version of stew! Definitely comfort food! Congrats on your new title!

Maria said...

What a great dish!

AmyRuth said...

Somehow, I don't think you were ever plain and simple. The little part I believe, but in your imaginary mind, I'm pretty sure the many adventures you had then are now being lived as a grown up girl! Plus you make really great food as a bonus ! YIPPEE
AmyRuth

Mowie @ Mowielicious said...

Darling Jamie - another grand post! I loved it. Your writing enthrals me, captivates my imagination and transports me to wherever it is you're piloting us to, because that's what it feels like when I read your material - flying. Have you ever thought of writing a book? You'd be a total hit!

glamah16 said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Where have I been?! Great posts and dishes always.

Mary said...

This looks wonderful, Jamie. Honorary Indian has an air about it. I can picture you in a sari.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and entertaining post...nice work, kiddo! James Catalano

The Bewildered Brit said...

Aaaah, Indian food. Growing up in the UK, it was everywhere. So much good food, right there on tap.

I remember when I lived in Birmingham that I once counted 41 Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi restaurants within a few minutes drive of me!

Two of my housemates at the time and me would take it in turns to cook Indian food. Simply nothing beats a biryani or a dopiaza.

Your posts always make me hungry!

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

How sweet! You did an excellent job - this looks so delicious! I could almost smell the spices as you were writing. Just lovely!

Chef E said...

Oh Jamie I adore Indian food and as a personal chef to an Indian family I want to try it all! Your dish sounds right up my alley and looks damn good too!

George@CulinaryTravels said...

What a fabulous Indian meal Jamie. That is one of my favourite dishes and it looks like you made it so well. Beautiful food and a beautifully written post :)

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Very nice. :)

Indian food to me is like the 'food nextdoor' (lol) because some of our neighbors were Indian when I was growing-up and I'm an honorary 4th daughter of one of the families because I was such a glutton and invited myself to tea everyday. =P

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Ooh la la. In our kitchen we loved (and I mean love) anything with lamb.
Sam

Chow and Chatter said...

Jamie great job it looks so good you must go to India and the Taj Mahal! maybe next time we go can meet ya when you meet all the Indian bloggers lol

Rebecca

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Mmm, Indian and Italian are my two most comforting foods. This looks delicious! I have Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, I should pick up some more of her books.
I want to be an honourary Indian too!
:)

5 Star Foodie said...

This post is inspiring me to try to cook more with Indian flavors at home! The lamb looks absolutely delicious!

doggybloggy said...

excellent job - I love and make indian food all the time this recipe is logged in my memory banks now - thanks!

Junglefrog said...

Honourary Indian no less! Well done Jamie!! I absolutely love, love, love Indian food. I have been to India very shortly for work years ok and ofcourse the real Indian cuisine I have not been able to make. Not even close, but this is making me want to go and have another attempt at it! Lovely!

Colloquial Cook said...

Yey, you use glug as a measuring unit too! Superb!

Jamie said...

@Colloquial Cook: Yes, and I laughed when I saw that on your blog, too! Glug glug!

asiangrrl said...

Jamie, that looks marvelous! It's so true that the cuisine of a country is key to understanding the culture. I have a hunch you could be an Honorary Chinese/Taiwanese as well!

lobstersandwich said...

Jamie. I love your writing. I love your story telling. And then your ideas,your recipes....like my 'Bacon Boy" says,"What's not to love?" I also own as one of my early purchases, Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking". Except it is currently located at one of my other residences. Do you know if that is the book that features a decadent recipe for a Lamb dish that calls for ground almonds and whole cardamon pods? I cannot recall the name of the recipe. But it is scrumptious. Also I am a big fan of Deeba. Just recently discovered her on Twitter. Thank you for recommending the others, I will check out their blogs.
Yours in fun and cooking
SAUCY

Farmgirl Susan said...

YUM. I'm always looking for interesting new ways to cook our homegrown lamb, and this sounds wonderful. Bookmarking now! :)

LoveFeast Table said...

Jamie! Love how you weave a story and a recipe!! How do you find these unique pictures?! Does it take you hours?! I feel you are kindred spirits with us LoveFeast Gals, roaming, imagining, & dreaming!! Wonderful! ~Chris Ann

MaryMoh said...

Jamie, that looks very delicious. I love lamb and esp with all those beautiful spices, I know this dish is just perfect for me.....so beautiful with rice. I love tumeric rice which I love to add coconut cream to it for extra flavour.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...