Lamb Curry with Fresh Fenugreek
The classic Indian dish ‘Saag Gosht’ is essentially a Curry made with Lamb (Ghosht), and some sort of greens (Saag). In most versions, the ‘greens’ part of the dish is made up of Spinach, although many other things can be used. In the rendition you see above, fresh Fenugreek leaves are used (known as ‘Methi’ in Hindi). Accordingly, while this dish can be called a ‘Saag Ghost’, the more particular name would be ‘Methi Gosht’.
Above, you can see the main ingredients (less some of the dry spices) for this Lamb Curry with Fresh Fenugreek. The Fenugreek, seen beside the onion, is the entire ‘bunch’ purchased for this recipe. Only the leaves, with some of the smaller stems will be used. If you are not very familiar with Fenugreek in its fresh, whole form, you may wisht to take a look at my introductory post on Fenugreek a.k.a. Methi.
First, toast the Coriander and Cumin seeds separately in a dry pan and then grind them together with the Turmeric, Fennel seed and Salt.
Coarsely chop the Onion and the Ginger and add to a food processor along with the Garlic and powdered Chili. Add a few tablespoons of water and blend to a fine paste.
Coarsely chop the Fenugreek leaves and set aside in a bowl. It is okay to leave some of the smaller, more delicate stems but first strip away the thick, coarse stalks and discard them.
Heat the oil and butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the Lamb with the salt and pepper and sauté, in the hot fat, adding the cubes in small batches. As the cubes are starting to become brown, pour over the spice blend and continue stirring to flavor the fat and coat the meat.
Next, add the onion mixture and continue stirring until the onion begins to darken and the oil begins to separate out of the sauce. If things are getting a little too dry before the beef is nice and tender, add a few splashes of water to keep everything moist. In traditional Indian cookery, most cooks would actually add the beef after the onion mixture was cooked but I have reversed the order here as I prefer to get a nice caramelization on the Lamb by dry frying rather than have it steam cook in the moist sauce. If you are using a tougher cut of beef, it may help to add a little extra water, cover the pan, and let the beef simmer over a lower heat for a while. With good quality steak, this step should not be necessary.
Once the beef is tender, add the yoghurt a little at a time and stir over moderate heat until it is almost all incorporated. This is not supposed to be too a heavily sauced dish so at the end of this process you should have a good, thick coating and just a cup or so of extra ‘gravy’. At this point, you can remove the pan from the heat and set the curry aside (letting it cool, even) until you are ready for the final step. If you do elect to do this, though, it is probably best to save chopping the Fenugreek leaves until the last moment so that they maintain their freshness.
When you are ready for the final step, re-warm the Lamb (if necessary) and add the Fenugreek leaves and stir them in well. Keep stirring until the leaves are tender and wilted but still maintain as much of their bright color as possible. In Indian recipes, the leaves would likely get cooked a little longer but I like the visual appeal and texture of slightly more ‘al dente’ greens. Add a little water if necessary and then spoon your Lamb Curry with Fresh Fenugreek an appropriate dish for serving.
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Lamb Curry with Fresh Fenugreek
- 2 lbs. Lamb Shoulder cut into bite size cubes
- 1 tsp. each Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 Bunch Fenugreek Leaf
- 1 Medium Onion
- 2- inch piece of fresh Ginger
- 1 ½ tbsp. powdered Chili
- 3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 5 cloves Garlic
- ¼ cup Yoghurt
- 1 tbsp. Turmeric
- 1 tbsp. Coriander seed
- 1 tbsp. Cumin seed
- 1 tbsp. Fennel seed
- 1 additional tsp. Salt
- Toast the Coriander and Cumin seeds and then grind them together with the Turmeric, Fennel seed and the teaspoon of Salt.
- Coarsely chop the Onion and the Ginger and grind to a fine paste along with the Garlic and powdered Chili, adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary.
- Coarsely chop the Fenugreek leaves and set aside in a bowl.
- Fry in the Lamb in the oil and butter over medium heat, and sprinkle over the salt and pepper, followed by the dry Spice Blend. Stir to coat the meat.
- Add the Onion mixture and continue to cook until the beef is tender and the oil begins to separate out.
- Add the Yoghurt, and cook a little longer to incorporate the yoghurt, and reduce the sauce to desired thickness.
- Stir in the Fenugreek Leaves, cook until the are wilted but still brightly colored, and then Serve.