Recipe: Lamb & Green Chilli Curry with Pineapple Pickle Salad

In certain families and in certain households, you have certain recipes that are staples. For example, when my Mum says she’s making meatballs we know which meatballs she’s going to be making: beef in a fresh tomato sauce, served over tagliatelle, even though in reality there are hundreds of meatball recipes out there. When I tell J we’re having a lamb curry for dinner this is what we both know I mean: this fresh, bright, aromatic lamb curry heavy with green chillies (though it is not spicy at all if you remove the seeds, they’re there for flavour not heat, but you can of course leave them in if you’d prefer a bit of a kick!) served with fluffy spiced rice and a bright salad of pineapple, quick pickled onions and coriander for me, and a mountain of mango chutney for him.

I’ve been working on this one for a while, taking little bits and pieces each time I follow someone else’s curry recipe, building up the layers of flavour and playing with the aromatics, refining on each attempt how I like my rice to get the perfect level of spicing, fluffiness and buttery flavour. The fresh, bright and simple pineapple salad I usually serve with this comes from the very back of Rick Stein’s India (ad); I love all of his books (I’m currently devouring Secret France(ad)) and while the recipes are usually fantastic, my real love usually lies in the little recipes for things on the side, stocks, sauces and the like which are more accompaniments to the type of cuisine the book is about, than stand alone dishes.

Lamb & Green Chilli Curry with Pineapple Pickle Salad

I’ve had a few heated debates discussions recently about portion sizes. For some reason so many people in the food industry seem to want recipes that serve four people or more, but it is my rational that for people less used to messing around with recipes every day and who just want to follow one to make something tasty for dinner find it a lot easier to double something than to half it. In that vein, I’ve unashamedly made this a curry a serves two dinner for the simple reason that have you seen the price of lamb recently?? It has become so expensive it really has entered ‘treat for two’ territory unless you’re splashing out on a big leg to roast for a family Sunday lunch. You can of course double this up if it suits you, or even serve it with another curry or some Indian Spiced Potatoes to serve more people. I love how well suited Indian food is to feasting.

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Lamb & Green Chilli Curry with Pineapple Pickle Salad

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes, plus marination time
  • Yield: Serves 2 1x
  • Category: Curry
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description

A fresh and aromatic lamb curry served with a pineapple and quick pickled onion salad and fluffy, lightly spiced pilau-style rice.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Lamb Curry

  • 100g (3.5 oz) natural yogurt
  • 300g (10.5 oz) diced lamb shoulder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 15 green cardamom pods
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 15g (1/2 oz) fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 2 large green chillis
  • 200ml (2/3 cup) passata
  • 250ml (1 cup) water

For the Pilau-style Rice

  • 150g (5 oz) white basmati rice
  • large knob unsalted butter
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 175ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

For the Pineapple Pickle Salad

  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 200g (7 oz) fresh pineapple
  • small handful fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. Marinate the lamb at least an hour before you start cooking, but preferably overnight. In a small bowl, combine the lamb pieces, yogurt, salt, cinnamon, coriander, a pinch of ground cloves and the seeds of the cardamom pods, crushed to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. To start the curry, peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and ginger before blitzing into a smooth paste in a mini chopper / food processor.
  3. Heat the oil over a medium high heat in a large, lidded shallow casserole dish or frying pan. Add the blitzed vegetables and gently fry for 5 minutes or so until soft, aromatic and slightly golden.
  4. Finely chop the chillies (removing the seeds and the inner white membranes if you want a mild curry) ands add them to the pan, cooking for a further 5 minutes until soft.
  5. Add the lamb pieces and their yogurt marinade to the pan along with the passata and the water. Stir until everything is combined and turn up the heat to bring the sauce to the boil. Clap on the lid and reduce the heat to low, allowing the curry to simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and allow it to simmer for a further 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the pilau-style rice soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes before draining well in a sieve. Melt the butter in a small, lidded saucepan over a medium heat until just frothy before adding the spices – the cardamom pods slightly bashed to help them infuse) and frying for 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
  7. Stir in the rice so that the grains are well coated in spiced butter before adding the salt and the boiling water. Raise the heat and bring the pan to the boil before adding the lid and reducing to low to cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, keeping the lid on and set aside to steam for 10 minutes before removing the whole spices and fluffing the rice up with a fork.
  8. To make the pineapple salad, peel and finely slice the onion. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt and vinegar, and add the onions. Toss well, and set aside to become a quick pickle. When you’re ready to serve, pat them dry on a kitchen towel and toss with the pineapple, cubed, and the coriander, roughly chopped.

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