I’ve previously confessed my intimidation about cooking Indian food, and admitted I’d likely use a product like Patak’s Curry Paste if I was making an Indian dish. The folks at Patak’s must have heard from other timid cooks like me; they’ve now published a cookbook designed to help people get more authentic results while using Patak’s jarred sauces for some of the dishes. Meena Pathak Celebrates Indian Cooking, was written by the wife of Kirit Pathak, from the family that owns Patak’s (they dropped the “h” in the product names.) If you cook authentic Indian food from scratch, you have my complete admiration, but if you like Indian food but don’t know much about cooking it like me, you’ll agree this is a great book, one I’ve now added to my ever-growing list of Cookbooks I’m Using. This recipe was adapted from the recipe for Lamb Shakuti on page 69, although you know how I am; after I’d simmered the curry I added some cauliflower, kind of on impulse, but it was a great idea. I served this with the whole wheat couscous I featured yesterday, and it was a delicious meal. If you don’t have the Patak’s Madras Curry Paste the recipe calls for, use any kind of hot curry paste or powder that appeals to you.Now I need to be telling you a bit about cilantro, since this is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Scott of Real Epicurean this week. I’m not sure what’s left to tell, since if you enter “cilantro” into my search bar in the upper left corner, you’ll get 347 search results for cilantro! (Maybe even more if this page has been indexed by the time you do it.) Let’s just summarize and say I’m mad for cilantro, enough so that I used both dried and fresh cilantro in this dish to increase the cilantro oomph. Dried cilantro is completely worthless as a substitute for fresh, but in a dish that’s simmered a while such as soup or this curry sauce, it can add a nice cilantro undertone.
1-2 T olive oil or vegetable oil
3/4 cup onion, cut into slivers
1 1/2 pounds lamb, fat trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 tsp. garlic puree
1 tsp. ginger puree
1 can diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes)
1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp. Agave nectar or 1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried cilantro (or use heaping T chopped fresh cilantro)
3-4 T Patak’s Madras Curry Paste (or less if you don’t like spicy food, use any brand of hot curry paste or powder that you have)
salt to taste
2 cups cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
1 cup light coconut milk (original recipe used dessicated coconut)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
In a large heavy pan,heat oil and saute onion about 5 minutes. Push onion to the side, then add lamb and brown about 5 minutes, turning a few times to lightly brown all sides.
Push lamb and onions to side, add garlic and ginger and cook about 1 minute. Then add tomatoes, water, agave or sugar, dried or fresh cilantro, curry paste, and salt to taste. Stir to combine, then reduce heat to very low and simmer covered for about 40 minutes.After 40 minutes, remove lid, add cauliflower and coconut milk and simmer just until cauliflower is barely tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro, retaining 1-2 tablespoons to sprinkle on when serving. Cook 3-5 minutes more, remove from heat and serve hot.
South Beach Suggestions:
You could eat this alone as a phase one dinner for the South Beach Diet, but it would be more traditional to serve it with white rice, or even Couscous, as I did. Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice would be the best choice for a low-glycemic type of white rice.