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October 09 COTM: "Indian" Meat

Welcome to the October 2009 Chow Cookbook of the Month featuring:

Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni
&
Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

Please post your full-length reviews of *Meat* recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book or author and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

This thread will encompass the following chapters-

Jaffrey, "Meat"
Sahni, meat recipes from "Main Dishes" and "Side Dishes"

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Well, since nobody has posted anything here in the "Meat" department, I will take the liberty to describe a Jaffrey lamb recipe I made last night. I warn you that this is NOT either of the books from this month. I am waiting my LINK library book which should arrive soon.

    In any case, this was a really good dish and I hope you'll forgive me for putting in a recipe from a book I do have: A Taste of India. It's a Jaffrey book that has recipes from the various Indian states. Lamb With Fresh Green Coriander is from Kashmir and is on p. 107 for those who have this book.

    Since I am interloping, I'd be glad to paraphrase the recipe for anyone who wants it.

    Lamb (she calls for cubed lamb shoulder but all I had was ground lamb so I used that). You crumble the meat into a frying pan along with turmeric, salt, black cardamom pods and 3 cups of water (I didn't use all the water because my lamb was already ground and cooked faster than the cubes would). This is simmered until the lamb is tender.

    Oil is heated in a large pan (I used an old cast iron skillet). 2 sliced onions are added and this mixture is stirred over pretty high heat until the onions are browned. Then take them out and drain on paper towels.

    Into the pan used to cook the onions I put cloves, peppercorns (I used ground pepper), cadamom pods (regular green) and cinnamon and garlic. Stir these together and then put in the yoghurt (I used about 3 cups of low fat Pavels Russian - she says full fat is better but I didn't have any). Stir this over medium high heat until the mixture has reduced to a thick white sauce. I used low-fat yoghurt, I think it separated more than fatter yog would. Because it looked so much like curdled milk, I strained it out and put it into the blender. That worked fine. I put it back into the pan with the lamb and stirred it over low heat for a bit for the flavors to meld and the meat to get heated through. The onions are then put back into the pan and stirred in, along with some more freshly ground black pepper to taste. At the very end chopped cilantro is stirred into the mix. She calls for 2 cups, but I wasn't doing the full recipe and used almost one whole bunch chopped. Large spices are removed before serving....it's actually better to do so before the cilantro is stirred in.

    I served this with some locally procuded naan which I got at Berkeley Bowl. It was really very good, with a slight sour taste from the yoghurt which contrasted nicely with the richness of the lamb.

    I made a small salad of all the local end-of-season bounty such as cherry tomatoes and cukes and peppers from the CSA box along with some chopped parsley and a vinaigrette.

    A lovely dinner. My husband kept saying "This is REALLY GOOD!" I agree and it's not much trouble to make.

    Sorry for intruding on the COTM, but I'm feeling left out w/out my book. I should look at the internet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      Joan, you crack me up. I don't see how you can "intrude" on COTM when you are always part of it. I know how crummy it is to feel left out because you don't have the book yet and you're anxious to cook. My copy of Jaffrey just came in. I know it's not the same as having your own copy, but if there is anything I can do for you (or for anyone else for that matter)--look up recipes, paraphrase recipes, etc., please let me know. I'm happy to help.

      P.S. The book is much thinner than I expected. I expected this to be some kind of giant tome on Indian cooking. Anyway, I'm sure it has plenty of great recipes. I just need to flip through it and pick some.

      ~TDQ

      1. re: oakjoan

        Beating or whisking the yoghurt well prior to incorporating it into your hot sauce might help with the "curdled" effect. When the beaten yoghurt goes in, let it sit for a few seconds in the hot sauce, then fold it in as you would beaten egg whites in a cake batter.

        Fried onions are used in a number of ways to create textural effects. For certain kormas, fried onions strips are left to drain & crisp, then crushed between fingers and palms into coarse crumbs. These are incorporated into the korma to create a grainy texture, the DANEDAAR effect. In rarer instances, they may be ground up with water or cream and added back that way.

        Have fun with your adventures.

        1. re: GTM

          Beaten or not, yoghurt cooked on high heat is likely to separate.

      2. Royal Braised Lamb with Fragrent Spices
        Sahni, page 174

        I still had half of the leg of lamb used for the kofta and started the day planning to make the Meat Curry on page 170. However a call from friends, and offer of dinner, and I changed to the Korma. I had enough lamb to divide the recipe in half which worked well. (Amounts below are for the full amount.)

        Cut the 3 lbs of lamb into 1 1/2 inch cubes. 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions, 1 T garlic, 1 1/2 T chopped ginger root, 1 1/2 t ground cumin, 1 1/2 t ground mace, 3/4 t ground cinnamon, 1 t Mughal garam masala, 1/2 t red chili powder, 1 t paprika.

        Have ready to add 1/2 c plain yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream or heavy cream.

        I used an oval Le Creuset for this dish since I thought I could control the heat well and it would simmer nicely later. Heat 1/2 cup of Ghee over medium-high heat, fry onions for about 15 minutes until caramalized [lots of stirring here.] Add garlic and ginger, stir for 2 minutes before adding the dried spices and stir for just a moment. Add the lamb which should be dry and stir rapidly. I stirred until all the meat was a lovely dark shade of brown. Add the 1/2 c of yogurt and 1/2 cup of sour cream and some salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer until the meat is tender. The recipe indicates that this will be about 2 hours of time, and that the meat should be stirred regularly.

        I took a chance and set the timer to thirty minutes, stirring when the timer went off. For the final 1/2 hour, I stayed in the kitchen to monitor the stew and indeed, I did have to add a little milk to the pan to keep the spices from burning. As suggested, I then let the stew sit for several hours before reheating for dinner to allow the flavors to blend even more. After reheating, you take the stew off of the heat and add in another 1/2 c of yogurt and 1/2 c of sour cream, mixing to completely integrate the dairy into the stew.

        The results were worth any fussiness about this recipe. The house was filled with the most wonderful aromas, and the stew itself was extremely satisfying. Served with leftovers from our previous Indian dinner and an added vegetable side dish plus store-bought Naan, each guest felt fully sated after just a few chunks of lamb. I was surprised that a recipe that indicated that it would feed 4 in these circumstances would easily feed 6.

        With all of the included dairy, this will not move into a regular rotation, but I have marked it as a wonderful dish for special occasions. It was truly special.

        1. Kashmiri Meatballs (Kashmiri Koftas), Jaffrey p. 16

          You mix grated ginger (which as I type this I realize I inadvertantly omitted), cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, S&P and yogurt into ground lamb and form into koftas, heat oil and add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cardomom pods and whole cloves, then brown the koftas and stir in water and some yogurt and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. I found this quite disappointing. The lamb was dry and tough, as koftas generally are if you take them past the pink in the middle stage, and I didn't like the spicing. But now I wonder if the ginger might have helped both those problems. Still, I am unlikely to try this again, as I have 3 lamb kofta (or similar) recipes already in the rotation, plus a wonderful beef kofta recipe from my trusty old stained and dog-eared 25 year old Indian cookbook by Ismail Merchant (the movie guy).

          3 Replies
          1. re: GretchenS

            Ah, GretchenS, how I love my Ismail Merchant cookbook...I assume you mean Passionate Meals. I've never "met" anybody else who has it. My copy is also stained and dog-eared.

            1. re: oakjoan

              No, mine is called Ismail Merchant's Indian Cuisine, published in 1986 by St Martin's Press. Amazon has some used copies cheap. I was given mine when it was newly-published. The only other cookbook I own that comes even close to being as stained, loved and heavily used is the original SIlver Palate, and many more recipes from Ismail Merchant are in my regular rotation. I own and have cooked from other Indian cookbooks and none of them measure up. So many of his recipes are the kind of thing you'd want to eat everyday (not loaded with fat, for example) and easy enough for weekday meals, and yet some of my most memorable dinner parties have involved buffets with multiples dishes from the book. Tell me about Passionate Meals, I don't think I've ever run across it. (I just checked my library sytem and although my local library doesn't have it, several others do. Only one copy of his Indian Cuisine in the system though.)

              1. re: GretchenS

                Interesting. I'll have to look for it since I adore the book I have.

                The book's subtitle is "The new Indian cuisine for fearless cooks and adventurous eaters"

                It's a compilation of recipes he's made for dinner parties over the years. The sentence "Raquel Welch enjoyed this particular dish which I prepared for her just before we began shooting The Wild Party." It's Roast Lamb with Ginger and Caraway. The forward is by Madhur Jaffrey. She got her start acting in a Merchant/Ivory film.

                I also love his recipe for Basmati Pullao which has onions and cashews and golden raisins.

                He has a story about missing salad when he went home to India as salad is not a part of the Indian meal. He claims he so wanted a salad that he left guests sitting at the table with a feast of biryani prepared by his family and rushed to Crawford market and bought 2 huge lettuces. He made a big salad with oil, lemon and mustard dressing. He claims that ever since then salad has been part of his family's meals.

                Sad that he's no longer with us. He's the first person who introduced me to that miracle of Indian cooking - cardamom rice pudding! I make it at least once a month.

                I'll have to look for your book!

          2. Shahi Korma - Royal Braised Lamb with Fragrant Spices (Sanhi p. 174):

            Lamb shoulder is on sale at the supermarket, so I snagged a 5# roast. The long cooking time called for in all the lamb dishes was a bit of a deterrent, though, so I decided to modify the recipe for the pressure cooker.

            Started caramelizing the onions in the PC while trimming and boning the lamb. Browned the lamb (meat and bones) in a separate pan while finishing the onions and adding the garlic, ginger, and spices to the PC. Tossed the lamb into the PC, deglazed the browning pan with yogurt, and mixed everything together.

            I cooked it at 15psi for 1 hour. That was probably a little too long; the lamb is so tender that it pretty much falls apart. Next time I'm going to stop at 40 minutes.

            Anyway, it's delicious. Spicy, but subtly so.

            While the meat was cooking I made Lucknow sour lentils (Sahni p. 335), cabbage with fennel and mustard seeds (Jaffrey p. 146) and spiced yellow rice a/k/a peelay chaval (Jaffrey p. 153). (Should have thought about the fact that all three of those dishes are yellow before starting to cook them. Oh, well.) Some quick-pickled onions, cilantro chutney, and plain yogurt finished out the meal.

            Next up - biryani with the leftover korma.

            14 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              I've got a lamb shoulder to use up too - I'm braising one right now, but might make this with the other. Thanks for the report. (PS How easy is it to debone?)

              1. re: greedygirl

                Frankly, it's kind of a pain. Somebody with better knowledge of ovine anatomy might have an easier time with it, but I struggled a bit. In retrospect I should have done a more perfunctory job of it and pulled the chunks of meat off the bone after cooking. 20/20 hindsight and all.

                Another lamb recipe worth considering is Jaffrey's rogan josh. it has a similar flavor profile, but you end up with more gravy. It's a perennial favorite at my house.

                Either way, figure out the yield that you're going to get from that lamb shoulder before you start cooking. I started out thinking I'd have more meat than required for a full recipe, but ended up with somewhat less - about 2.5 pounds of meat from a 5-pound shoulder roast.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  "Another lamb recipe worth considering is Jaffrey's rogan josh" Is that the same as Rogani Gosht by any chance? If so, I'm going to make Sahni's recipe on Friday night, along with Saffron Rice with Peaches.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Actually, Sahni has a recipe for rogan josh, too (p. 176). It's very different from Jaffrey's, though.

                    I've had my eye on that rice with peaches recipe - it sounds deliciously exotic. Be sure to post your impressions.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      Ah, ok, thank you. I'm finally learning what the words mean in the names of Indian dishes. Kind of. The one I'm going to make is "Lamb Braised in Aromatic Cream Sauce", p. 165.

                      I did make the Lamb Fillets Braised in Yogurt Cardamom Sauce a week or so ago - p. 168 - and liked it as well.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          The fun part is that the same dish can be called by several different names, and the same name can refer to several different dishes.

                          Guess it's not surprising in a country with 30 or so major indigenous languages, hundreds that are spoken less widely, plus languages like Persian, Arabic, and English that arrived with foreigners and became widely spoken.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I am gonna try Sahni's Roghan Josh recipe tomorrow and report back. I have marinated the meat already-the recipe says do it 30 mins-2 1/2 hours but I am gonna do it overnight.

                        Just in case anyone's curious: roghan means 'fat/oil' as in butter or ghee, roghani gosht means buttered meat. Josh is a totally different word. Josh means excitement or bubbling action, so Roghan Josh is a reference to the slow bubbling simmer of the fat filled stew.

                        Sahni's recipe for Roghan Josh is definately a resto style recipe, not a home cooked Kashmiri wazwaan type or pandit type Roghan Josh. I am kind of a stickler for authenticity although I have no reason to be so...as is said here all the time on CH, it only matters that it is good. So let's see how it goes. Anyhow, I will report back on the results after it is done.

                        I LOVE the Kashmir section recipes in the Jaffrey Taste of India book, BTW. I didn't know we could review those sort of ad hoc for the Jaffrey COTM but now that I do I might do a recipe from there, too.

                        1. re: luckyfatima

                          It's one of my favorite Jaffrey books too. Will have to have a special look at the Kashmiri section!

                          I love your descriptions and background fill-ins luckyf! Keep up the good work.

                      2. re: alanbarnes

                        I was lucky enough to buy a lamb shoulder from a butcher in Apt France who was so pleased that I was cooking lamb, he taught me how to debone it. Each time I do it, I get just a little better [i.e. faster.]

                        Sahni states that meat must be trimmed of all fat before cooking, so when I made this [see above], I spent the time to break down the meat completely.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          That's funny! I get the impression that lamb isn't that widely eaten in the States which is weird, as it's so delicious. For me, it's also a good choice, ethically, as you can't intensively farm lambs.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            Statistically, you are correct. Americans simply don't eat lamb. But, those of us who grew up in New England and upstate New York eat far more lamb, on average, than the rest of the country. As home to the early American textile industry, sheep farms used to be everywhere. Sheep did well on this rolling and hilly land, and the wool could be sold for cash.

                        2. re: alanbarnes

                          Normally I'd just ask the butcher to do it, but we have a new farmer's market in my neighbourhood and I got it there. (Two 3 lb shoulders, some rump steak and two rib-eyes for £20 - bargainous!)

                      3. re: alanbarnes

                        Sounds like a fabulous meal! That's more cooking than I do in a week. :-)

                      4. Kashmiri Lamb Stew, Pg. 63
                        Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey

                        As is stated in the header notes, this is a stew plain and simple. No heat from chilis but lots of flavor from ground fennel seeds (spice grinder), a piece of cinnamon stick, 10 cardamon pods, 15 cloves, salt and dried ground ginger. Typical of any meat stew, the cubes of lamb shoulder were browned along with the spices added in stages the fennel and ginger added last with a 3 2/3 c water. Cantilever the cover on the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Then completely cover the pan and cook for 40 minutes. Take the cover off, whisk 1 3/4 yogurt till it's creamy then, after pushing the meat to the sides of the pan, slowly pour the yogurt into the pan, moving a wooden spoon back & forth all the while so the yogurt won't curdle. The pan is partially covered again the the stew cooks for an addition 10 minutes after which garam masala is sprinkled in.

                        I Love lamb... it's my favorite meat but I didn't love this stew. Don't know why. It may have been the garam masala at the end or the whole cardamom pods I kept biting into ( no, you're not supposed to eat them) but the stew is not my favorite. It was fine but not terrific. DH liked it well enough, said it was delicious. But me, not so much.

                        I served it with Sahni's Butter Smothered Cabbage, pg. 298 and the leftover Spicy Basmati Rice, pg. 194. Now That was delicious!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gio

                          Lamb With Spinach, p. 67
                          Indian Cooking - Jaffrey

                          We both realllllly liked this. I cut up 3 lamb shoulder chops into squarish lumps.

                          You start out with heating oil in a large pot. Peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom pods are stirred into the oil for a few moments to flavor the oil. Onion, garlic and ginger are added and stirred until the onions develop "brown specks".

                          The lamb is then added and stir-fried for a minute along with some cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1 tsp of salt. 5 Tbsps. of yoghurt are added a Tbsp. at a time and then stirred into the meat mixture until all the yoghurt has been used. The spinach is added (I just roughly chopped some fresh spinach) along with some salt. It's stirred until the spinach wilts and then covered and cooked over low heat for about an hour and 10 minutes until the meat is tender. I left mine to cook for only about 20 minutes, sampled and found the meat pretty tender. The lid is removed and 1/4 tsp. of garam masala is added. The stew is stirred for about 5 minutes until the sauce gets thick. I didn't bother to chop my spinach fine and therefore did not have a green sauce as described in the recipe. Mine was more like a creamy brownish sauce with lots of green pieces of spinach.

                          I served it with the carrot and onion salad (reported on in the appropriate thread), along with some nice storebought onion naan.

                          This was really delicious and not that complicated. I am pretty lax about prepping lamb and just left some of the sinew and fat on the chunks I cut from the shoulder chops. A lttile extra chewing required, but not bad.

                          1. re: Gio

                            I agree that this is not the best lamb stew; it may be my least favorite (of those I've tried) in Jaffrey's book. I much prefer her Rogan Josh.